Dennis grew up in Meadowbrook, Illinois, surrounded by cornfields and horseradish farms. He was introduced to music at an early age, playing drums and brass instruments in school. He had already proven himself a gifted piano player by age ten. This led him to other avenues of music, which primed his love for Bluegrass and the five-string banjo. At the age of fourteen, Dennis saw the movie Bonnie and Clyde. This was his first introduction to the banjo sound that motivated him to learn the instrument. Dennis was convinced that he could play the five-string banjo if only he had one. So his father and mother searched the town and surrounding area for a banjo within their price range. Finally, his father came across a listing in the newspaper for a five-string banjo. He bought it for $40 and Dennis had a friend instruct him how to tune the instrument. But the instruction ended there as there were no lessons available in his hometown. Dennis practiced for hours on end---many times practicing late into the night. He often stuffed a towel under the door in hopes of blocking out the light and sound. Within six months of first picking up the banjo, Dennis traveled to Southern Missouri where he won the first of many banjo contests.
By the age of seventeen, Dennis began performing at the Opryland Theme Park in Nashville, Tennessee. Working with his band, The Silver Strings, Dennis toured the country. He would later go on to join up with and become a feature part of many country artists’ shows, including artists such as Dolly Parton, Jerry Reed, Porter Wagoner, Bob Luman, and Jeannie Seely. He elevated his career when he became a member and music director for the Louisiana Hayride, which helped him land a major writing and recording position at Warner Bros. Records. Since his time at Warner, Dennis has continued to stay active in music and is currently working on new projects that keep him motivated to continually take his skills to new levels.