Dennis Feeney
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Dennis Feeney

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Lyrics are where this album starts, but the groove carries it home. Songwriter Feeney opens his heart and soul on every cut, deftly wedding the personal and the political. Two instrumental tracks - "Heather's Song" and "Bear Lodge Funk" - contrast with each other while entwining the rest of the lot. Eric "Roscoe" Ambel's production lassoes everything as neatly as you'd want on a roots-rock disc. Like the wide-open roads and mountain spires of Feeney's Wyoming homeplace, BBI is a bracing tonic for a world of bad news, cubicized homeoffice spaces and ironic posing. - etherHWF (CD Baby reviewer)

"Den Dogs Chase Dream"

by Amy E. Geringer
Boomerang Staff Writer

Three Laramie men have been connected with music most of their lives, they have only been pickin’, playin’ and croonin’ together in an Americana, roots-of-rock style for a couple of years; and now perpare for the launch of their first album and to fulfill their longtime dream. What gives freshness to their story is that this group is uniquely propelled by University of Wyoming bonds.

Meet the “Den Dogs:” Bassist Dennis Feeney is a research scientist for the College of Agriculture’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics. Guitarist David Eisenhauer is the editor of UWyo magazine and a colleague of Feeney’s wife. Drummer Aric Hageman is a UW music education student.

The result is “Boots, Belts, Irons,” an album, which Feeney decribes as “back to the basics” Americana rock and roll like that of Tom Petty, Sun Volt and the Jay Hawks which will debut Sept. 20. The album will feature such titles as Feeney’s “Reliance,” “When We Get Bored (We Get Dangerous),” “No News” and “Song of Hope” and Eisenhauer’s “Feelin’ Good Blues.”

Feeney is closely attuned to selecting words carefully since he is the group’s chief songwriter. His ideas, he explains, come from “all over the place.” This spirit has translated into songs about relationships and also about his work in the field of environmental concerns.

“I deal with issues involving open spaces and conservation. A lot of my research does spill off into my songwriting,” Feeney says. He describes “No News” as the “bleakest” song in the collection. “It’s a commentary on everything that has been going on in the world,” he said. In contrast, “Song of Hope” swells with Feeney’s strong faith and clings to the idea that positive solutions are within the world’s grasp.

Feeney has been writing songs since he was in the sixth grade and he and his brother used to ride their bikes to hear a Laramie band called “The Dirty Dogs” rehearse. “They were kind enough to let us little punks hang around and listen to them,” he jokes. Eric Ambel, a member of that band, inspired Feeney to buy his first bass guitar.

The band recorded at Colorado Sound Studios in the Denver area and fine-tuned their music with mixing and mastering at the Cowboy Technical Services Studio in New York City with Ambel, a UW student in the 1970s. He now plays the guitar professionally with artists such as Steve Earle and has created a successful career supporting new and established artists.

“I am trying not to have too many delusions of grandeur,” Feeney says, about following in Ambel’s footsteps. “I’ll just put it in God’s hands and see what happens. I am going to look back on this with very fond memories,” he adds.

Helping to launch the Den Dogs into main stream society has been associate professors Rod Garnett and Katrina Zook of the UW Department of Music, who have guided and advised the trio. Shane Wallace of the College of Engineering, a UW art graduate, is designing the graphics for the album. Ambel featured the Den Dogs and helped launch their CD with a gig at his own Lakeside Lounge club.

“Going out to New York was a real exciting trip for us,” Feeney said, especially since most of their performances so far have been in small venues in Wyoming.

Vaulting the group from Laramie fame to American household-name status is a job Feeney finds overwhelming. He hopes that the moniker “Den Dogs,” which comes from an old nickname that a friend used to call him, will be catchy enough.

“Coming up with a band name is a very difficult thing to do,” Feeney notes. “We didn’t want a name that sounded pretentious or goofy. We were looking for something between clever and stupid,” he quips.

“Dave was a pretty good judge. I would suggest a band name by e-mailing him, and he just wouldn’t respond or sometimes he would send back a blank e-mail as a reply when he didn’t like the name. So we finally settled on Den Dogs,” Feeney said.

The band is currently working with Ray Martin, UW project coordinator for physics and astronomy, to plan a CD-listening party, light show and reception at the UW Planetarium to mark the album’s official September release.

Fans can order the CD and follow the band’s progress and performance dates on their Web site at

Feeney’s lyrics in “When We Get Bored (We Get Dangerous)” do not seem to apply to the Den Dogs as they take their first step toward musical celebrity. As he puts it in spoken words, “Why not chase a dream?” - Laramie Daily Boomerang

"If you're into cave tools..."

This here album is excellent! If you are into cave tools--the basic elements of rock & roll; bass, drums and guitar, you'll love this album. Not over-produced, with plenty of space for the instruments and vocals to operate in. The songwriting is to-the-point and fitting for these times. Dennis has surrounded himself with great people for this album--outstanding musicianship and Roscoe has successfully magnetized these sounds as only he can do. - Scott Platts (Stonetree Custom Guitars)

"Rock your socks and grin your chops!"

16 bars of thick drums and bass, with an overlay of feedback guitar (reminiscent of Neil Young’s Ragged Glory) introduce this CD and clearly indicate it’s going to be far too heavy to sit back and listen to at low volume, and way too much fun to take seriously. The first track, titled No News, is just good rockin. The vocals are straight forward, unpretentious and full of contemporary comments about the world we live in. The two, slightly more mellow tracks that follow, nicely pave the way for a real kicker titled When We Get Bored. This is outside, hard-edged rock and roll that rocks your socks and grins your chops. The humor in the lyrics, the steady punch of Feeney’s bass and the solid drive of the lead guitar player make this song, and the entire album, a bag of enjoyment from start to finish. Unlike 90% of the CDs of the past ten plus years, the mix on this album is distinctive and perfectly balanced. You can hear what everyone is playing while you are enjoying the lyrics of the songs. It’s the kind of sound that forces you to air-band the guitar licks and bounce your head to the beat, song after song. A cautionary note, however: if you use it while you’re driving, watch your foot. Speeding tickets are very costly these days. - Ron McClure (jazz guitarist)

"Classic Rock Revived"

This is Lynrd Skynrd revived. This is southern rock with a hint of indie, definitely a new age kind of music. Songs such as 'No News' and 'Feelin Good Blues' take us back to when cowpunks roamed the nation. For people who can't stand country but love classic rock, here's a happy medium. - Nicole Volpicelli, The Circle Magazine


"Boots, Belts, Irons" - self release


Feeling a bit camera shy


Dennis Feeney is a bassist, singer and songwriter who crafts rock, country and jazz. Dennis has performed with many great artists, including jazz guitarist Ron McClure, Eric "Roscoe" Ambel, Rod Garnett of Colcannon, Mark McKay, June Star, and various artists from the Rocky Mountain region, including luthier and guitarist Scott Platts. Dennis' most current effort is performing and collaborating with the Washington, DC based rock band, The Slow Burn.

Feeney recently completed his first album, “Boots Belts Irons,” produced by his mentor and friend, the legendary Roscoe Ambel (Steve Earle, the Yayhoos). Feeney’s family, friends and his strong faith are also given important production credits.

Composing all but one of the songs on the album, Feeney also arranged its financing; coordinated studio-time, travel and accommodations; supervised mastering; directed graphic design, photography, replication; and distribution. “I consider the early punk rock scene – unleashed in Laramie by Roscoe – a big influence on my music,” Feeney says, “but also on how I approach the business of being a musician. I love those driving sixteenth notes and the DIY work ethic.”

He cites jazz guitarist Ron McClure as another huge influence. Feeney recalls how McClure turned him onto the jazz cats, Neil Young and The Who during countless bass lessons.

Feeney has continued exploring the principles of composition and theory McClure taught him through classes at the University of Wyoming, Berklee College of Music (Boston) and Swallow Hill Music Association (Denver), and through collaborations with flutist Rod Garnett of the Denver-based Celtic band Colcannon.

In addition to writing and performing, Feeney enjoys studio session work and being a sideman. He also composes music for media applications. Dennis has performed live all over the Rocky Mountain region and the East Coast Corridor.

His gear consists of a Rickenbacker 4003 bass, purchased for him by his parents in the early ’80s, a custom Precision-style bass crafted by Scott Platts of Stonetree Custom Guitars (Saratoga, Wyo.), and a custom Carvin LB70, all magnified by Ampeg and Ashdown rigs.

Dennis is a member of the Songwriter's Association of Washington and the Washington Area Music Association.