As I was creating the Pilot Me cd, I focused on songs of importance, reflecting on our current situation in the world. I guess I'm noted for being an entertainer, but things are serious now so the album song choices reflected that mood.
I'm grateful that Pilot Me was one of the top albums in folk music for August and September, and continues to get a good amount of airplay around the world. Thank you to all who have supported the project, especially Kari Estrin, a person who worked tirelessly while in charge of the radio promotion on a global scale.
Be safe this Thanksgiving holiday, my friends. Tammy and I will be sitting out the annual family get togethers this time around. It just makes sense given the pandemic forecasts and we feel the best way to honor the medical workers and first responders is do what we can to slow the spread. It must be horrible working in the hospitals right now and we don't want to be contributing to their nightmare.
Call it "patriotism", "love" or "common sense". It's the right choice.
October 15, 2020
My friend Spook Handy wrote a great song called "Vote" which seems very timely at the moment. He wrote it years ago and actually performed it when he toured with Pete Seeger. When I first heard it, I strongly encouraged him to make a video and to get it out there to the masses.
Other folk singing friends making cameo's in the video include Tom Paxton, John McCutcheon, Noel Paul Stookey, Christine Lavin and more!
And please...please vote!
September 9, 2020
New video! "Potter's Wheel" is a song also from the new Pilot Me CD. I am concerned about what kind of world we're leaving for our kids. The chaos that surrounds us doesn't have to exist. We control what kind of world we want to live in. If we want peace, it's up to us to do what's necessary for that to happen. If we decry racism, it's up to us to denounce it with our voice, our words and our votes.
A number of photos in the video were taken by me at various times in my life, trying to stand up for human rights issues. I hope you take the opportunity to experience the immense, positive emotion that comes from supporting a person or a group that needs help. I say "take the opportunity" instead of "get the opportunity", because we all have the opportunity. It's always there. If you need a nudge to "take it", I'm here to do that.
Today we had the official video release for "Michael" from my new cd. It's a powerful song and even more so as a video. The subject is a tough one, teen suicide. But if we continue to bury it or pretend it doesn't exist, it won't get any better. I'm all about the kids, right? Are you? Watch the video. Leave a comment on YouTube. Share it with your friends and even your kids, if necessary. It can open the door to the most meaningful conversation you've ever had. Let them know you are always there to listen in a non-judgmental way. And follow through on that.
I've taken delivery on the new CD and love it! It's sure been a long road to get to this point, but it now seems all worth it. It sounds great! A big thank you to all my friends who contributed to this, especially Doug Van Sloun, my mentor through this engineering learning process.
The album is called "Pilot Me" and besides the music, it features some beautiful photography by my friend Jesse Stuart, a professional photographer from Rockland, Maine.
I think you will really like this CD. The songs have depth and variety. Hopefully, you'll let me know your favorite cut.
CD's are available now at http://WarnerSongs.com/pilot-me. For a limited time, we're running a multiple copy discount. If you buy more than one copy, they're only $10 each. And shipping is free. It would be an honor to autograph it for you.
Thank you so much for the love and support!
View from the cockpit of the Hummingbird
June 17, 2020
Oh man, the shows continue to cancel with the pandemic growing. Venue hosts are pulling the plug into February 2021 now, and I don't blame them. I've had several friends infected with COVID and it does make me nervous. The audience sings along, breathing (hopefully), laughing and maybe coughing directly towards the singer. We are kind of a target! If you know I'm supposed to be appearing in concert in your town in the next weeks/months, keep an eye on my tour schedule for the latest updates.
If you're coming along on the sailing trip to Maine this August, we're in limbo at the moment. If we decide to postpone the trip, please plan to be with us in August 2021. We've got dates picked out just in case. More on that in early July.
I've been sailing a bit this summer. Tammy and I moved the Hummingbird from Lake Mille Lacs to Leech Lake, a very large body of water in northern Minnesota. We love it there a lot and look forward to steady winds and new friendships. With the pandemic, we should have lots of time to sail.
Mom and I shared a love of ice cream!
Shamrock Shakes in 2012.
May 10, 2020
When the country shut down in March, I immediately gave up shaving. Not being able to see many others, I didn't know most other guys did the same thing or I wouldn't have done it. I've never been one to follow a trend.
It's Mother's Day weekend. Of course I think about my mom. She was incredibly sweet and generous. I was lucky.
So the new album is really taking shape. All the recording is complete and with my new found free time, I've been able to bear down on the editing and mixing. This is the first project I've had complete control over being the recording engineer, mix engineer and producer. It's been very fun and also very challenging as I had to study and learn the software part of being an engineer.
Dennis replacing pintles and gudgeons
on his sailboat. The pintles (the pin) attach to the rudder
while the gudgeon (harware with a hole for the pin to slide into),
attaches to the transom (rear) of the boat. Holes from the previous
setup had to be filled, sanded, painted and redrilled.
April 22, 2020
I finished my winter tour in March just as everything shut down because of the pandemic. I think I may have had the last concert in South Dakota as immediatley afterward, the Governor announced public concerts were to be canceled for the forseeable future. It was a good call as our attendence in Rapid City was pretty sparse. Who wants to take a chance on attending a show?
I've heard from several music friends who came down with COVID after completing their tours along the east coast. I am grateful to be healthy. Currently, Tammy and I are in lockdown mode in Minnesota.
It's been tough, cancelling all these shows and not seeing an end in site. The industry talk is that we might not be able to really tour again until summer 2021. With a new CD getting ready to be released, touring is how I pay for it. Hmmm....
I had a few Beads on One String school shows that were scheduled but nixed for this week. Truly, I love those concerts. The kids, the teachers and parents are so supportive and into the music, bringing me so much joy. I miss the kids. The laughter. Even the corny jokes the kids would tell me!!
The saving grace for me is having Thousand Pines to keep me occupied. My recording studio in the woods. I love it. And sailing season is coming soon. I've been putting in a lot of time getting the Hummingbird ready for the summer. Last year Minnesota had a number of powerful storms and the boat took a beating in the marina, so there are a few repairs to take care of.
Setting up in Washougal, Washington
March 5, 2020
Folks are on edge with a couple of deaths from the COVID-19 arrival. I was in Seattle and Everett last week, apparently ground zero here in the U.S. Ugh! I'm not sure how this will play out in the next few days with my concerts, but we're all washing our hands. The hardest part is not hugging or shaking hands.
The concerts continue to go really well and it's been great to catch with friends I've made on previous trips. Of course, the scenery is off the charts. With a warmer winter, some of the spring flowers are already showing up.
Having a day off between shows last week, I grabbed a ferry ride around the San Juan Islands. With the COVID scare, though, a lot of businesses chose to not open up so it wasn't the same fulfilling experience walking around the island towns. I think they really don't want tourists at this time and I understand that. They are trying to protect their island communities.
So, I have six performances this week before turning the van east and heading home, with several concerts in South Dakota along the way. Keeping my fingers crossed for good health and good weather crossing the rockies.
All ready for the show!
Dennis and his messages of hope for humanity
February 12, 2020
I'm still flying high. This has been an amazing few days in Georgia where I was invited to be a part of the Global Mandala Project created by Venezuelan/American artist Sonia Osia.
Somewhere around 15,000 messages of hope for humanity poured in from over 60 countries and all 50 U.S. states. It was truly an honor to be a part of this as a singer, an artist and crew to help set it up!
Whew. The energy was amazing. She's already been invited to bring the project to different countries. A big thank you to Richard Burdick from Unity North for the invitation.
Global Mandala creator Sonia Osio with Denns Warner
With some of the crew in Pensacola, FL. Great folks!
February 7, 2020
I love Pensacola! Last night we had a sell out crowd of 300+ for our concert sponsored by WUWF public radio. It was a fabulous welcome back to Florida!
On my way to Auburn, Alabama today, I stopped in Montgomery at the Peace and Justice Center. Everyone should visit this place to better understand what Black Lives Matter is really all about. It's gut-wrenching in it's truth. But it's necessary, too. So powerful.
Here's a new video from a concert in Minneapolis
January 15, 2020
And into the new year we go!
My touring doesn't start until the end of the month, so I'm taking time in the studio to finish up some recording. I can't decide how many songs to put on this new project, so I just keep recording.
And learning. This is my first time as a mix engineer (being responsible for turning the knobs) and there's a lot to consider in the job. We all listen to music in cars, on computers, fancy stereos and little tiny ear buds about the size of a fingernail or smaller! How to make music sound great on all these platforms is how the good mix engineers earn their money. It's truly a lot more involved than even I realized, but I'm enjoying the process for the most part. This new project is my 11th album so it is fun to go more behind the scenes with it's creation.
I'm also getting my performance chops back into shape as I'll be heading out in a couple of weeks for Louisiana and the Southeast. It's been brutally cold up here on the tundra this month so a little warmth will feel good.