Den started out with a few silver flute lessons in 1969 and then began experimenting with a 4-string lap-style dulcimer which over the years morphed into a 20-string electric instrument that he calls the 'fire-harp'. He plucks, strums and bends the notes in his own blues style. A slide is sometimes used and he also bows it like a cello or Asian violin. He also transformed the ol' wash-tub bass,which he started playing on at age 16,(he's now 55!)and uses a large bass-drum,instead of a wash-tub; a Celtic harp string, (instead of a clothesline) and two pool ques screwed together instead of a broom-stick. The resulting tone, volume, sustain and playability of what he calls the 'street-bass' is truly amazing! He also has assembled a unique mini-drum set that is both extremely versatile and surprisingly portable. All of these instruments, and more, he has used in producing original instrumental cds throughout the 90's. All at once his compositions can take you from Scotland to India to the blues delta. He can sound like John Fahey one minute and then John McGlauflin and/or Santana or Sagovia the next. Are you familiar a story by Ray Bradbury titled 'The Illustrated Man'? He's a guy covered in strange tatoos. One pays a fee and is led to a dark room where the 'illustrated man' is barely visible. The customer then starts to hallucinate; ones subconscous is revealed----this can be a nice experience too. Well, Dens' music is kind of like this. If you're into blues from California, if you're into folk-rock from Boston then that is what it's going to sound like to you. After a vacation from the music business Den began writing lyrics and then constructing music around words. Nine songs,on his new 'Shoppin' Mall' CD, have emerged in a dizzying array of styles hard to define. There's a anti-war song (remember those?)a moaning, darkly frustrated but somehow uplifiting swamp-pop blues song or two; a crooning reggae-style love song and a tune that's like something Leonard Cohen, Sting and Santana could only put together. (I'll let you figure out which tunes I'm referring to in these above descriptions.) Dennis is self-taught. He doesn't read music but has managed to re-create or transform several traditional instruments and learn to play them extremely well; and his sense of composition,arranging and recording, his singing and soloing, and his overall creativity and expressiveness is mind-boggling! He scores the highest in my personel estimation. ---Mark Tyler, 2005.
You May Also Like
Page 1 of