Denise Dill
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Denise Dill

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"Sunny Times for Denise Dill"

The Beat: Alternative Arts & Culure

Sunny Times for Denise Dill : Singer-songwriter's upcoming album Bloomington-inspired

By Jimmy Rae, The Bloomington Alternative, Bloomington , IN. July 19, 2006.

Being a nature lover, singer-songwriter Denise Dill was in her element at Bryan Park when she sat down with The Bloomington Alternative to discuss her music, her life, her interests and her views on politics. It was a perfect, sunny day with a slight wind blowing through the trees. With plenty of green space around, Dill and her dog, Shade, felt at home.

Dill says she satarted writing songs at 15 to impress a crush and went on to study piano and songwriting at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Her home page - - describes her as an "earthy-folksinger with a queer twist" who is always reinventing her music. Her songs are personal, political and poetic, and they all have a nature metaphor, she says.

Dill has recorded four albums, one a compliation CD for Ladyfest Ottawa in 2005. She is working on a new album, Heartbeat Balloon, that should be out in September.

The new album has an overall theme, she says, because she was getting heavily involved with the origins of words, the science of biomimicry and chemistry. She also took a permaculture class, from which listeners will find many themes in her lyrics.

"Permaculture was a huge influence on me that still continues, and it has redirected my life and my choices in ways I'm still learning to understand," she says. "I'd say it has become my root, the place I start from."

The place Dill actually started from was her hometown of Evansville.

After dropping out of Berklee, she became disillusioned about music and the whole idea of the music industry, she says. She then moved back home to Evansville and started a homegrown kind of music in a band called Orenda.

"There was a lack of acceptance for queerness, for original music," she says of Evansville. "And the people I was surrounded with seemed more interested in doing drugs and talking the talk rather than doing the action. At the time, I did not have much of a political consciousness, but my instincts just felt like I needed to find a community where all that oculd be nurtured."

The band started to fall apart and her girlfriend moved to Bloomington, sealing the deal for Dill's next move. Frustrated with music and feeling like she needed to find a new path in life, DIll felt IU was a great reason to come to Bloomington.

"Little did I know tha tit would just lead me back to music," she says.

Dill played many spots in Bloomington, such as Second Story, Collins Coffeehouse, Encore Cafe, Willy Jo's, Boxcar Books and Upland Brewery.

Her favorite Bloomington venue was Boxcar Books because it's such a rare and amazing place, Dill says. She's also had two live radio performances and interviews on WFHB's program BloomingOUT.

"This is a great town with great people," she says.

Bloomington was also a great place for Dill because of her love of nature. She enjoys the Cedar Bluffs Nature Preserve because she says nobidy is usually there, and the bluffs are a great place to write. The preserve may be her and Shade's favorite spot in the Bloomington area. She even wrote a lot of the songs for the new alubm there.

"I was totally shocked to find a place that looks like it could be in California," she says. "it almost doesn't fit."

Dill and Shade also love Paynetown, the Hoosier National FOrest fire tower, Lakes Lemon and Griffy, Crooked Creek and the Dog Park

Nature holds a strong place in Dill's heart, and somtimes that is how other topics come about in her lyrics, such as the political aspects of I-60, which connect Bloomington and Evansville, where she returned to live earlier this year. She wrote a song called "Chameleon" about the highway.

"I suppose I-69 was very close to me because I could perceive how drastically it oculd alter the landscape aorund me, " she says. "I fell in love with that landscape. Now, I live in the town which is most supportive to the highway because it will shave mere minutes off the drive to Indy," she says.

She hopes to find people in Evansville who are aware of the degradation it will cause.

While living in Bloomington, other politcal aspects that drew Dill's attention were transgender rights, queer rights, the living wage, affordable housing, classism and racism. She said she doesn't really set out to convey political messages in songs. But while man of them have political undertones, someone may have to listen a few times to get the message, she says.

"I think I write in a very photographic way, so the imagery invoked in many of the lyrics will draw to mind a picture that will probabaly portray a political id - Bloomington Alternative

"Denise IN SEASON"

"A Singer-songwriter who composes with photographic methodology."

For entire article visit - Elizabeth R. Ross from Herald Times

"30th National Women's Music Festival 2004"

"Every now and then a musician manages to climb over my high wall of standards long enough to make me want to hear more only after twisting my head sideways like a hound dog a couple of times before I realize what's hit me. Denise Dill got me up off my feet at the 30th National Women's Music Festival and my feet were tired!"
- Kara Barnard ~singer-songwriter, producer, and instrumentalist

"Live Praise 2004"

"Denise Dill is the most original, brilliant, singer / song writer I've come across in a long time. You have to check this woman out!"

- Lisa Sanders~ singer / songwriter and two-time San Diego Music Awards

"Church of Girl"

"We think your voice is beautiful" ~Church of Girl


"Chicago Free Press/"

"Followers of queer female acoustic guitar-toting singer/songwriter will want to take a listen to Denise Dill" - Gregg Shapiro

"CDbaby customer"

"I've had the pleasure of watching some of this cd come together, as well as, touring with Denise. The response she receives from the audience and other musicians on the bill is something to see. Simply put, the light pours out of her. She is truly blessed with the ability to translate herself into something wonderful, mysterious and intangible. This CD is not exception... get it now!"
- Brick Briscoe

"CDbaby customer"

"I would highly suggest this cd to anyone. I heard Denise for the first time about a year ago, and honestly I had just about given up on local musicians before I met her. Simply put, as a musician she is exceptional, and like her live performances, this cd is amazing."
- Alix Clarke

"CDbaby customer"

"This CD is amazing. Her style and lyrics are thought provoking and honest. She fills my heart up until i think it will explode. There should be more music out there like hers!!! She is amazing!"

- Brittney Scott

"Michiana's Rainbow Gazzette Music Review"

"Sometimes, its wonderful to hear the simplicity of one guitar and one vocalist. There's nothing simple about the stle Denise Dill plays or writes in, take it from another musician, but it is a breath of fresh air. Denise writes from the heart and tells all. Fans love 'Chameleon'; I think Bob Dylan would too. In 'Cicada', Denise gives the southern Indiana onslaught of insects from Mars a whole new dimension, comparing her life with the evolution of the cicada cycle. Personally, I like 'Pattern'. The repetition, the speaking part, the breaks--it all works well together. I highly recommend this CD for you female-loving, folk music hounds." - Robin Beck




Feeling a bit camera shy


"Every now and then a musician manages to climb over my high wall of standards long enough to make me want to hear more only after twisting my head sideways like a hound dog a couple of times before I realize what's hit me. Denise Dill got me up off my feet at the 30th National Women's Music Festival and my feet were tired!" - Kara Barnard, accomplished multi-instrumentalist

Fifteen-year-old Denise Dill began songwriting to impress a crush, but it soon became much more than a gimmick. Fresh out of high school, Denise attended Berklee College of Music, but her heart forever marked by this experience, drew her back to the organic landscape of rural southern Indiana.

Her homecoming resulted in the foundation of Orenda, a band formed with life-long friends Victor Birkle, Summer Roedel, and Nick Turpen. Orenda created a buzz in the Evansville community that is still being talked about and put out the album “Mediocrity” as a documentation of these efforts. A much needed void was filled by their original music and they stayed strong for a year, but parted ways soon after to pursue new directions.

In August 2004 Denise released a solo album which generated her first large scale tour called "The Rose Street on the Road Tour," with songwriters Lisa Sanders and Irina Rivkin. This self-titled CD encompasses the deep connections shared with her community, relationships, and the ecosystem. The album resonates with natural and mathematical patterns in nature, love, and loss.

Presently, the trans-identified folksinger is relocating to Lewiston, ME to continue sharing her new release, “Heartbeat Balloon” and pursue her other passion, garden education, with a non-profit called Lots to Gardens. The instrumentation of "Heartbeat Balloon" is Denise’s debut on banjo and a revisitation to piano and guitar. The album is a unique lens capturing the importance of localism while applying it to the unsustainable model of our global world. The album features Jason Ellis playing bass and doing production on "Techtonic Plates" and "Labyrinth" while the rest of the CD was homemade by Denise in her bedroom. As with all of Denise’s songs, they are created from the inside out and reveal a level of personal vulnerability that you might only expect to share with a loved one. Heartbeat Balloon, with its lush imagery feels more like visual art than audible.

to buy the new CD check out