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  • Writer's pictureThe Smithereens


Dennis Diken has released a new track to benefit the people of Ukraine. Here's the story in Denny's own words: “Bear (In My Garden)” was written and recorded in early 2010. That year, I was gobsmacked to receive a request from the good folks at the grandest of reissue labels to contribute a bear-centric song to 35 !!! Years – Bear Family Records, a 3 CD box set commemorating their three-plus decades in the biz. I’d be in toppermost company: Deke Dickerson, Spampinato Brothers, Amy Alison, Bill Lloyd, Ray Campi and dozens more were participating. And in true Bear Family fashion, the package promised to be deluxe, replete with a lavish 12”x12” 210 page color hardcover book. I had deep respect for the company’s work and had purchased a slew of their exhaustively researched, highest of fi and elegantly produced packages through the years. Yet, I never dreamed I’d appear on the label (not in my lifetime, anyway). Wow! I grabbed inspiration from the numerous recent reports of bears invading suburban yards and garbage cans around northern NJ (my neck of the woods) and in short order a tune took form. I called on my friend Chris Bolger, a talented musician and songwriter with whom I’d been collaborating for some time. We polished off the number together and cut it at Nun Bett-R Studio (in my basement). Chris played all guitars and bass, Dave Amels added Baldwin organ and helped produce. I played drums, percussion, autoharp and sang (special kudos to Peter Becan and Dan Evans Farkas who saved the day by tackling some persnickety technical challenges). When I revisited this track again in early ’22 a decidedly different interpretation of the seemingly innocuous lyrics eerily emerged. The “bear” became Russia. The “garden” was now Ukraine. I made a few edits on the original version and Dave Amels remastered the recording. Dave Mortlock, a gifted artist, created the poignant video and fetching graphic for the single. We humbly offer “Bear (In My Garden)” with a profound sense of hope, love and peace." Proceeds will directly benefit the people of Ukraine. Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey.

Bear (In My Garden) can be down loaded HERE



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