The latest single from Den Hollinden is "Blacksburg," a tribute to the students and faculty killed or injured in the Virginia Tech tragedy. The song is available today on iTunes and wherever fine digital downloads are sold.
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Den Hollinden writes, sings and produces honest, acoustic and vintage electrified music for real people. It is classified as traditional country, but it is not your grandparents' country music. Well, okay, maybe it is, but maybe your grandparents were cooler than you thought!
Why this name?
It's just my real name; so, I guess I have to give Mom and Dad credit for this one. Dennis did get shortened to Den somewhere around junior high school, but I always figured that would help me avoid that whole John Mellancamp thing. I mean, I didn't want somebody telling me I'd have to change my name to something like "Cougar." Den Hollinden has a nice ring to it--just try saying it a few times!
Do you play live?
Actually, yeah, I'd like to do a lot more of that. There's really nothing like playing for a live audience. The most special moment (that I can admit to in writing : ) is that gig in Illinois where an old man told me I was "better than Elvis" that you might have read about in my bio on my official music site.
How, do you think, does the internet (or mp3) change the music industry?
MP3s have definitely changed the music world for the better--and just in time too! We were living in a world where big record companies and big radio stations were being bought up by even bigger ones. These corporate machines were churning out the most antiseptic, PC, "popular" music the world has ever known. MP3s came along and said, "World, you don't have to listen to that crap--here is some music that still has some sharp edges." Anybody who thinks there's anything wrong with that definitely loves big money more than good music.
Would you sign a record contract with a major label?
Man, if you're thinkin' about doin' that, you better get an entertainment lawyer to read the contract first! Would I? Well, maybe a P&D deal. It's always nice to reach new audiences. It would also be fun to work with some of the other acts--Leann Rimes, are you listenin'? On the other hand, a lot of the classic greats in this business are independents anyway. I'm talking about people like Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton.
Wow! It's okay to cut and paste here? Good, 'cause I'm getting tired of writing. Let me pick something out from one of my other sites...be right back:
Okay, found something! This is from the V2 site; so, if you've already read this, feel free to skip down to some more of the original stuff:
Den Hollinden is a Southern Indiana native who writes, records and produces music for Denuine Records. In what is perhaps the defining characteristic of that music, Hollinden holds on tight to his small-town Indiana roots. Although he now lives and works in the Washington, DC area, the vivid pictures he paints through his music of folks back home and simpler times are the next best thing to running barefoot through endless green Hoosier farmland.
Hollinden's songs are accomplished using the acoustic and vintage electrified instruments--such as mandolin and steel guitar--of traditional country music. This musical fabric serves as the canvas upon which he sketches his portraits. He is, above all else, a storyteller.
This time around, "the story" doesn't unfold on a rural farm or little house out in the country. The events that separated families, stopped hearts and filled local newspapers have been happening thousands of miles away--both from Southern Indiana towns and any other small American town or big city. This time the story is the deployment of our military to the Middle East--to Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas such as Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This story also deserves to be told.
Hollinden's current album project, "Somebody Over There," is the story of the war against terrorism seen through country eyes. His own deployment to the Gulf thirteen years ago for Desert Storm put him in a unique position to tell it.
The title single from the album is the followup release to Hollinden's Southern Indiana holiday hit, "Saint Henry Christmas." The "Somebody Over There" title CD single is a tribute to America's heroes as they return home from overseas duty to rejoin their families. The record is currently on rotation at Indiana country radio stations and on sale at select Southern Indiana locations and at DenuineRecords.com.
I try not to get too big for my britches--in other words, so full of myself I can't learn from other people in the business. I learn a lot in the various Internet forums from people I don't even have real names for. I'm not sure if it's just music or just the Internet, but people are never too busy to share. I do have my personal favorites that you will recognize; so, here are a few of them in no particular order:
Tom T. Hall: I write all of my own material, and as a songwriter, I'm influenced a lot by Tom. He has a very no-nonesense approach to songwriter where you just do the best job you can of telling the truth, just putting the facts down the way you personally saw them happen. I try to make sure that my songs always tell a story.
Loretta Lynn: Loretty has always been a big influence--both as a writer and a singer. She's viewed as one of the all-time greats in traditional country music but also as someone who's never been afraid to shake things up a little bit--or a whole lot! By the way, do you have YOUR copy of "Van Lear Rose" yet??
Paul Dresser: Paul is the Hoosier singer/songwriter/publisher who wrote the Indiana state song. He's always been a big hero of mine, and I feel like I need to come to his rescue as much as I can now that people don't pay him the attention his music deserves. If you haven't taken the time to listen to "On the Banks of the Wabash Far Away" lately or if you've never heard it, give it a spin soon. You're in for a real treat.
Probably the worst thing I hate about corporate pop music--no matter what the sub-genre--is that everybody tends to sound the same. There is a cruel one-two punch in the music business where 1) Everybody tells you to just be yourself, but then 2) the first thing you're always asked to do is to say who you sound like. Probably the biggest compliment I've ever been paid is one day I was asking somebody to help me categorize my music. He said, "You just sound like you." Still, the question is asked; so, this is my best effort at answering it:
My arrangements and softer vocals are probably most like Alan Jackson's. I like his understated style that really lets the vocal come through and tell its story.
A lot of my attitude and song subjects sound like they could have come right from a Toby Keith album. As a matter of fact, two of my songs even mention him. We also both tend to identify with the military and throw our support behind our troops.
If you hear me play live, you'll hear a lot of acoustic guitar. I think a lot of my style--or at least the feeling behind it--might be traced to Donovan. I realize a lot of you might not even know who that is, but if you get a chance, do check out his music. If nothing else, it's definitely different. I wouldn't even know how to classify it, 'cause it doesn't fit neatly into a genre.
I also hear a lot of Johnny Cash in my music. I feel that in some of the really honest passages--where a lyric sticks out with nothing to hide behind--Johnny is there. Even in high school, I sang bass, and Jonny--along with Ernest Tubb taught me that it's okay to sing low.
Last but not least (for now) I do have to mention Elvis. I hear a lot of his music in mine--especially on the ones that rock pretty good. My song "Saint Henry Christmas" has a lot of that sound. I can usually tell the Elvis stuff in the studio, because I always want to give it a little bit more reverb than my other stuff.
If you've gotten this far, and you're still not tired of reading about what has influenced my music over the years, feel free to read the additional information on MySpace.
That's easy! St. Henry, Indiana. There is just no place like it on God's green earth. Warning: If you decide to check this out, don't go while they're making St. Henry style barbecue, 'cause I guarantee you'll never want to leave again!
Most of my vocals are recorded through an AKG C414B-TL2 microphone using a Joe Meek tube channel pre-amp. That's about as much tech talk as the average fan can stand before her eyes start rolling back into her head; so, I think I'll leave it at that. I post on some of the pro-audio boards, but if you're curious about something, just ask.
If I can put anything I want here, I'd like to do the right thing and thank a few people. Don't expect this list to be complete, because I firmly believe that each new person we meet affects us in some new and important way.
I'd like to thank Robyn, my best friend and greatest fan. She's been there since the very beginning and has been a true inspiration--not to mention a heck of a subject to write songs about!
Kaelyn--who touched my heart by doing a school report on me as her favorite singer. As if that wasn't enough, she created the very first Den Hollinden tee shirt and took a picture in it to show the world you don't have to be 21 to understand and enjoy Den Hollinden music.
WBDC--for believing in me and putting me on the radio when nobody else would.
Coach Tom Beach--for inspiring the Forest Park Ranger basketball team who in turned inspired "The Basketball Song."
Sports reporter Tom Wyrwich and his Evansville Courier & Press--for telling the world about the state champion Forest Park Rangers and "The Basketball Song."
Dan--for doing such a good job of handling the Indiana side of things.
Matt--for testing out each new Web thing and listening to each new piece of music. I wouldn't know how to do all this without you.
Lisa--for doing such a great job on backing vocals. Too bad you're even more of a perfectionist than I am. Wonder where you get that.
All the rest of my family for always being there for me. If I didn't feel that special feeling I've always felt around you guys, I never could have written a song--no, not even one.