It's always about the music.
A Short Sketch
John Dennie, Pops, is a gifted storyteller who has a knack for developing plot lines in the space of four minutes. One part grit and one part silk, his songs always seem to push the right buttons, eliciting memory and emotion as only the very best music can. He has spent a lifetime stewarding America's musical roots including blues, jazz, gospel, folk, country and rock and roll. His latest studio effort represents the convergence of a wide variety of old and new influences including Neil Young, John Fulbright, Towns Van Zandt, John Hiatt and Delbert McClinton.
In His Own Words
When I was a boy, my father was a television repairman. One day he brought home a broken RCA Victor phonograph and a stack of records. My dad fixed the record player and my mom showed me how to load the spindle up with 45s and set the automatic play in motion. I was young - very young. But in my mind I can still smell that old tube powered RCA player and I can hear the warm sounds coming out of it. Memphis Tennessee by Johnny Rivers, Little Red Riding Hood and Wooly Bully by Sam the Sham, Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry and Elvis' Jailhouse Rock. It wasn't long before Beatles music found its way into our home. Then came The Beatles debut on the Ed Sullivan show. I was instantly captivated by their music. (Note the Beatles' haircuts my brother and I are sporting in that photo.) In the days that followed I would pick up anything that remotely resembled a guitar and pretend to play it - tennis rackets, baseball bats, couch pillows and even my mother's viola. I wrote my first song on piano when I was eight. I inherited my older brother's acoustic guitar toward the end of his music career allowing me to pester my sister's friends to teach me chords (Greg Boland and Clark Hudgens, I'm talking about you.) Simply put, I was crazy for music and especially playing the guitar. Funny thing, I've often heard other guys say they started playing guitar because they thought it would be a good way to meet girls. It's true that growing up as a guitar player had certain perks. But for me, it was never about that. For me, it has always been about the music. In fact, until I met my wife, my deepest love affair has always been with music and songwriting. It wasn't long before I began getting paid a little bit of money here and there to sing and play. As I entered my middle teens and got my driver's license, I started sneaking out of my parents' house and sneaking into the local music scene. I began playing local dives on Hemphill Street, Jacksboro Highway and the honky tonk strip in Grand Prairie. I would occasionally sit in at The Blue Bird and The Hop with the old guard of Fort Worth blues and jazz music. It was at The Hop that I was befriended by one of the greatest guitarists to ever come out of Texas, Bill Ham (Sonny & Cher, Joan Armatrading, David Gates and Bread). Bill took a shine to me and I began studying guitar with him. I soon became close friends with his brother Warren (saxophone, singer, percussionist, flutist, harmonica and keyboard player, Ringo Starr, Toto, Kansas, Donna Summers, Olivia Newton-John, Frankie Valli, Bloodrock) I learned a thing or two about singing from Warren. And while I was always a big fan of Edgar Winter, Warren turned me on to using Edgar's vocal runs as vocal training exercises. (Listen closely to Warren and you can hear Edgar's influence.) Of course, few people in the world can sing as well as Edgar or Warren, but I credit Warren's direction with helping me learn how to sing with power and control. Around 1980, drummer Ed Stradley and I took out a loan and bought our first multi-track tape machine. For the next ten years I racked up hundreds upon hundreds of hours of studio time - writing, recording and learning the craft of songwriting and production with Ed. We partnered on a number of great songs. I wouldn't trade those hours with Ed for anything in the world. I love him dearly and we made some killer records. You know, it strikes me that while the music business has changed quite a bit, writing good songs will always be the same. I hope you like what you see and hear on this website. Feel free to drop me line and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.