Dennis D. Westphal
April 14, 1948 - June 4, 2012

Dennis Westphal was an accomplished artist in many genres including acting, painting, drawing, writing and design. But music is the form that he was most passionate about; singing, song-writing, guitar, and most of all…performing. He was a highly original singer, song-writer and instrumentalist.

His early bands include "The Other Guys" and "The 1040 Grease Band" and from the start his focus was on original, self-made music, a mix of rock and roll, country, rockabilly, folk, jug band, R&B…anything that he liked and could bend into his own.

In 1972 Dennis and friends started the "Blueberry Buckle Band" and the focus was on original music written by Dennis and the other band members. Dennis insisted that everything he wrote about had to be "true", based on real life experiences and would incorporate everything he heard into his own unique mix. He played several instruments including flute, harmonica and mandolin but mainly played his Gibson Firebird, and that guitar perfectly suited his bold approach to life.

Blueberry Buckle disbanded in 1978 and in 1980 Dennis formed his own South Dakota band, "Dennis Westphal and the Secret Band". With the Secret Band Dennis achieved the fullest expression of his music. The band was captured in concert by South Dakota Public Broadcasting in a 1981 concert. It features all original music and is available on You Tube. Dennis was still creating music to the end of his life and there is the hope that some of these songs and recordings may one day be released. His energy and charisma as a front man and friend inspired and encouraged many others to pick up a guitar and write their own


2014Spirit of the Music Award