His peers regard him as one of the greatest acoustic guitar players of our generation. The Inspirational Country Music Association has awarded him Musician of the Year seven times, Entertainer of the Year three times, and the Living Legend award. Dennis has been a musical staple at the biggest evangelical crusades in the world since 1974. Good and fast would describe both his God-given talent and his career.
Dennis began his musical journey playing trumpet, then picked up the guitar at age 15. He was inspired by Joe Maphis, Clarence White, the bluegrass band The Dillards, and others. He would often sneak backstage and learn tricks of the trade from some of the best musicians of the day. Only two years later he won the Hollywood Bowl Battle of the Bands with his brother Danny and friend Don Beck. Very quickly his incredible talent and dynamic personality began to open doors.
One day in 1967 he played a Christian coffeehouse in Hollywood called the Salt Company. At that moment he felt a profound calling and his ministry began. Dennis realized he had the gift of connecting with people through his music and the communication skills to connect them with God and His plan for their lives. To this day that calling is the center of his life.
Dennis’s musical style is eclectic, performing a mix of bluegrass, gospel, country, and classical. Without a distinct genre, he hasn’t enjoyed radio airplay to the extent that others with his talent would have. Despite that lack of exposure, he still enjoys a large audience. He has been seen on numerous television specials, USO shows, and at bluegrass festivals. He has also shared the stage with such well-known artists as Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels, Ricky Skaggs, Michael W. Smith, and Darius Rucker. In addition he has scored three motion pictures and three ABC television specials.
There’s an unconventional side to Dennis as well. He has been the unofficial chaplain of the Indy 500, and performed songs commemorating the drivers for an album produced by Valvoline. He has raced motorcycles, and even drove one down an airport runway while playing the William Tell Overture on his guitar. That difficult feat was broadcast on the television show That’s Incredible in the early 80’s.
Dennis fully realizes the responsibility that comes with the talent he has been given. God has been faithful to him his entire life, and he aches for others to know God’s peace in their lives. To that end he travels to wherever in the world people are hurting. He is blessed to have numerous opportunities through his relationship with Billy Graham and his son Franklin, both of whom are his close friends. He has now traveled to 96 countries to share God’s love, quite often with Samaritan’s Purse. He is also prominent at many Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie.
Many of the places he visits are dangerous even on a good day. But Dennis travels to Siberia and Alaska in the winter because that is when the troubled youth need the most guidance. He has traveled to Beirut, Cambodia, and the Sudan during wars because that is when aid was most desperately needed. He visits hospitals, prisons, nursing homes, and orphanages because those people can’t make it to his concerts, yet need to hear of God’s saving grace as well. For this very reason Dennis rides into Sturgis for their motorcycle rally.
Jesus shed His blood and died for every person Dennis meets, and he will tell him or her that in as gentle or aggressive way as he needs to. He sincerely means it when he tells them he doesn’t want them to go to hell. Dennis and his wife Victoria feel deeply blessed by the sale of his CD’s and free-will offerings. This is what enables them to travel wherever the Lord leads to bring the music and message of salvation and hope. God continues to move on the hearts of people to provide for their travel.