Dennis Lee


Dennis Lee is a New Jersey child of the 60’s, exposed to all the music of that era including folk. He was captivated after seeing Peter Paul and Mary in concert with an acoustic bass player. His initial experimentation with the bass lasted a short while as a teen and in high school he moved to Arizona, there hearing country music for the first time. While at college in Flagstaff, he shared a dorm with future flatpicking champion Peter McLaughlin and acclaimed banjoist Frank Dedera A local high school loaned one of their basses for two years and he became initiated to bluegrass and fiddle tunes.

The trio traveled to bluegrass festivals and Dennis took residence one summer in Washington, DC at McLaughlin’s home where many great players including Hazel Dickens and David Parmley would visit. Peter's brother David became a member of the iconic Johnson Mtn. Boys and Tom Rozum joined Laurie Lewis’s band. He remembers the summer as "Bluegrass Day Camp." Dennis recalls: "I’d see the Seldom Scene with Tom Gray playing bass every Thursday at the Birchmere and just play music the rest of the time. It was awesome.”

Dennis moved back to Tucson, Arizona and played with Summerdog Bluegrass Experience, Mariachi and Swing Ensemble. He toured with Capital recording artists The Dusty Chaps, a country swing band playing all original music and formed a duo, Chet & Dennis.

Moving to Virginia in 1988, he completed a graduate degree at Regent University in 1992 and has worked with non-profit Operation Blessing International, a domestic food relief organization. He currently lives with his wife in Virginia Beach, VA. With his 3 sons mostly grown the opportunity has presented itself for more music.

He has been somewhat of an unknown bassist, playing mostly in church, but his visibility has been rising in the past few years. He toured Canada with bluegrass band Remington Ryde, and more locally with band East Virginia. Many influences are detected as his playing ability goes beyond the bluegrass genre. He describes his interests as “quite a hodgepodge.” Dennis says: "I'm always listening to music; all kinds of music."

His playing captured the attention of banjoist Rex McGee at the Galax Old Fiddler's Convention in 2010. Of late he has found a satisfying fit in the music of Kripplekrunk, saying: "It’s just totally new stuff. For a bass player it’s ideal. The music allows me to ‘get off the beaten path’ a bit to utilize other styles and be somewhat creative, yet, at the same time, I'm challenged to remain true to the style and heritage it represents. The music I play with them I've never played anywhere. With this group you just never know what you’re gonna hear or where it’s gonna go. It’s just a lot of fun."