Dennis J. Leise Tells It Like It Is When He Says ‘I Only Do It ‘Cause I Have To’

One thing that can be said about Dennis J. Leise is that he doesn’t mince words. With the straightforward language in his tightly-written country-folk songs, you’ll know exactly where he stands. His latest single, ‘I Only Do It ‘Cause I Have To’, is an honest confession of exhaustion, while protesting against the dullness of routine. It’s the sort of writing that’s made this farmer turned musician a firm favourite of the Chicago Reader, and other arbiters of artistic and literary excellence in Mid-western USA.

What is it that the weary Leise is doing because he has to, not because he wants to? There’s a clue in the title of his latest album, ‘The World That You Grew Up In Is No More’. The long player is a collection of hard-time ballads and country stompers, evoking both Johnny Cash, and Woody Guthrie. They have a classic sound, but at the same time the sentiment is urgent and forward-looking. While it might first appear the case, Dennis J. Leise is not nostalgic. His voice might sound like it’s crackling off a dusty old 78, but he’s as modern as they come, delivering broadsides against smug moralists, in-the-way politicians, unapologetic consumerists, and even a drunken Santa Claus. He’s no fan of mindless conservatism or tradition for its own sake.

In the video for the song, we’re shown Leise on his farm, pitching hay to the animals and attending to his daily chores. It’s not his rural life he’s disenchanted with; on the contrary, he’s just as committed to sustainable agriculture as he always has been. Instead, it serves as a metaphor for the sort of automatic labour that keeps a thinker stuck in his ways and that Leise, a broadminded person, is determined to overcome.

You can find out more about Dennis J. Leise and his music online on Facebook, and Twitter. Watch the music video below for ‘I Only Do It ‘Cause I Have To’.

Dennis J  Leise - I Only Do It Cause I Have To [Official Music Video]

About the author

Lisa has been writing for over 20 years, starting as the entertainment editor on her university newspaper. Since then she's written for Popwrapped, Maximum Pop, Celebmix, and ListenOnRepeat.

Lisa loves all good music, with particular fondness for Jedward and David Bowie. She's interviewed Edward Grimes (Jedward), Kevin Godley, Trevor Horn, Paul Young, Peter Cox (Go West), Brendan B Brown (Wheatus), Bruce Foxton (The Jam), among many many more. Lisa is also available for freelance writing - please email