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Swimming in the Heart of the Sun – final touches

When I was finally able to get back to this project the first task was to edit the tracks. This meant fitting all the parts together, eliminating certain sections, moving things around so that the overall effect was what I was looking for.

I decided I wanted to add a few more musical elements to it, but keeping in line with my ‘acoustic only’ concept I planned on some acoustic guitar and alto saxophone. The saxophone parts were recorded on a Grafton acrylic Alto Saxophone, a rare instrument that I am fortunate to have passed on to me by a former parishioner, Al Dawe. I recorded these tracks, with the assistance of my daughter who also does her own recording and producing, in my basement studio using an RCA BK5 microphone, which I obtained from my Uncle Lyndy Olson’s collection...

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Swimming in the Heart of the Sun – vocals

With the piano and organ tracks recorded, next came adding the vocals. Having enjoyed soprano Janet Marie Chvatal’s work with Jeff Johnson I sought to do something in a similar vein. I floated the idea to my sister Kari Heise who is an excellent musician with a lovely soprano voice. She thought it would be fun, so we arranged to have a recording session the next time she same for a visit (she lives in Edmonton, Alberta whereas I live in Regina, Saskatchewan). When the opportunity came we set up in the basement of Christ Lutheran Church and proceeded to spend one afternoon recording her vocals.

I decided that the vocals would be in Latin...

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Swimming in the Heart of the Sun – keyboard tracks

The first stage of this project involved recording my improvisations on the grand piano at Christ Lutheran Church. In preparation for this I had divided up the Lord’s Prayer into various petitions and assigned different keys to the different parts. Late at night (to reduce the problem of traffic noise) I set up my DAT machine (Digital Audio Tape) and some mics. For each song I began by prayerfully reflecting on the words for that specific petition in the Lord’s Prayer – then when I felt inspired I played. The piano parts just flowed out of me and within a couple of hours I had completed all the basic tracks for this project.

The next part of the project was to record the pipe organ in the chapel of Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon...

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Swimming in the Heart of the Sun – origins

In a few weeks my newest album will be released. It is called “Swimming in the Heart of the Sun”. The title is unusual, so I thought I should explain. Many years ago I used to visit a nearby Franciscan retreat centre (St. Michael’s Retreat Centre, sadly no longer run by the Franciscans). They had a little book store with a variety of publications that I liked to browse through when I was there. One time I came across a book called “Swimming in the Sun: Discovering the Lord’s Prayer With Francis of Assisi and Thomas Merton” by Albert Haase. The title intrigued me enough to purchase it and take it home to read. Albert Hasse’s treatment of the Lord’s Prayer was refreshing and unique. The title of the book comes from a Thomas Merton quote from his work “The Sign of Jonas”. The complete quote i...

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Yes, there is a Fridge Magnet

Fridge Magnet

Since the case for Dreams & Visions is a metal one, I thought a cool idea would be to include a fridge magnet in the package. However when I mention the magnet to folks they most often haven’t noticed this bonus item. Most thought that it was either a sticker or simply a graphic printed on the case. It is not a thick magnet, but it is indeed removable from the CD tin and can be placed on any appropriate metal surface (like a fridge door!)  The yellow arrow in the picture above points to the magnet, so have a look in your Dreams & Visions CD case, it should be there. If you don’t have a copy of Dreams & Visions yet, may this be an added incentive.

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More Radio Airplay

This past weekend songs from Dreams & Visions were played on two different radio stations a continent apart. On Saturday Chris MacIntosh played “The Wilderness Path Leads to a Mountain” on radio station WCWP in New York. I checked out the webcast and not only enjoyed hearing my piece, but wonderful music from other artists. Chris’ show is well worth tuning into – it’s call “Rock & Soul Gospel” and airs on Fridays at 9:00 PM and Sundays at 6:00 PM. One can stream his show by going to the station website:

On Sunday Briana Hedlin played “Scattered Stones” on the show she co-hosts called “Rainbow Radio YXE” found on the Saskatoon station CFCR. This program runs on Sundays at 9:30pm.  It can be streamed on the internet at CFCR.CA/ONAIR.

I am grateful any time my m...

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Special Instruments from Special People

On Dreams & Visions I was fortunate to have been able to play a couple of very special instruments, not only because of what the instruments were, but also because of whose they were. Both of the special people have gone to join the saints in heaven, and so it seems particularly appropriate that these two instruments show up on Dream #4, my musical depiction of what we have to look forward to after this life ends. The first instrument is a 1958 Chet Atkins Gretsch 6120 model guitar. This orange beauty belonged to my Uncle Lyndy Olson. He was a huge Chet Atkins fan, and he mastered the Atkins style of playing. I used to love going to visit my Uncle Lyndy and Aunt Elaine just to watch and listen to Lyndy play this guitar...

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2015 Covenant Award Nominations


I am excited to announce that Dreams & Visions has been nominated for three Covenant Awards. Dreams & Visions is nominated in both INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR and JAZZ/BLUES ALBUM OF THE YEAR categories. In addition to those two musical award categories Dreams & Visions is also nominated in the ALBUM ARTWORK OF THE YEAR category – which is surely the result of such wonderful artwork and photography contributions from others. The Covenant Awards are the leading national awards for Canadian Christian Music. The winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony to be held on November 5th in Edmonton, Alberta.

I have checked out the other nominees and there is a lot of very fine music being considered, however I will say that Dreams & Visions is quite different from the other nominees (solo...

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Dreams & Visions played on New York radio station

Chris MacIntosh, aka “Grandfather Rock, has a radio show called Rock N Soul Gospel on WCWP (88.1 FM) in New York. I met Chris at KindlingsFest this summer. He was interested in Dreams & Visions, and took a copy back with him to New York. It was very cool hearing Chris play some tracks from my CD, and read some of the poetry from the CD booklet!  Here is what Chris had to say about Dreams & Visions:

I have been listening to the album “Dreams & Visions” by Canadian artist Dennis Hendricksen quite a lot lately. It reminds me of the first time I heard albums like “Things We Like” by Jack Bruce or “Bitches Brew” by Miles Davis. It is a brilliant collection of instrumental pieces woven together by a common thread...

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New Review from Phantom Tollbooth

Today I discovered that The Phantom Tollbooth reviewed Dreams & Visions. I have been reading The Phantom Tollbooth reviews for years now, I have always appreciated the scope of their reviews, and the integrity of their approach. This review was written by Scott S. Mertens, a long-time contributor to the Tollbooth.

His review begins with a one sentence summary:

Dreams & Visions is a beautiful musical journey successfully melding music and picture to story and quote.

Click here for the full review.


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