Much to the dismay of fans everywhere, not all artists write their own music. Behind some of the greatest songs, and even careers, are immensely talented individuals who have no real dream of standing center stage under the bright lights, but have the god given talent of writing some of the most amazing lyrics that will ever grace your ears.

Spokane,Washingtonis home to one such great individual. Though you won’t see his name in bold letters on the marquee at the Knitting Factory or on a poster at the Coeur D’Alene Casino, his contribution to the Inland Northwest should not go unrecognized.

Dennis Washburn is a singer, writer, and multi-talented musician whose passion bleeds into every word he writes giving it life. Growing up in theLos Angeles area, he pulled the bench to the piano when he was nine years old. From that day forward, with the exception of him playing the Tenor Sax, C-Flute, Bassoon and Mahler Horn, the two have been nearly inseparable. With over 35 years experience, recording in the studio and playing to an audience, Dennis is the definition of a hard working musician. Most weekends you can see Dennis performing with the bandCountyLine. Travelling fromSpokanetoMontanaand everywhere in between, their love of music pours onto the crowd to be met with a reciprocating appreciation for their talents. As part of one of the hardest working bands inSpokanehe’s kept very busy, but when he’s not playing, he’s writing.

And he can write.

Influenced by an array of sound, giving praise to Mozart, Jeff Lynne, Elton John, Billy Joel, Daryl Hall andGarthBrooks, his everlasting love is his writing. Proof of his abilities can be found in “Always a Cowboy.” Written in 2005, the thought provoking ballad speaks to the undying determination we have in each of us to fulfill our dreams and live to be true to ourselves. Although I’ve reached quite possibly the 100th listen, I still find myself clinging to each word and feeling the message. His collection of original songs grows continuously, not by desperation, but by inspiration.

Where today’s Country Western is becoming redundant with a few standouts, writing like this breaks through the darkness of repetition with a beaming light of hope. Songs with meaning and songs that tell a story are a dying art, which is a shame, but with people like Dennis there can be hope.

It isn’t everyday we find such a rare painter of emotion. These songs would leave any artist, whether playing locally or nationally, admiring his talents. Should one such artist have the privilege of laying down one of his songs, they should consider themselves truly lucky.