Kevin Dempsey and Joe Broughton are back for a series of intimate gigs during February 2018

Dempsey Broughton

2017 saw Dempsey Broughton return to the fray with a series of exciting live appearances to accompany the release of their acclaimed album, Off By Heart. The collection’s nine tracks ranged from outlandish and inventive instrumentals, to traditional and original songs. With “a slightly political twist” running throughout, the collection earned a raft of four and five-star reviews.

Since forming in 1999, the duo have toured extensively, performing across over 20 countries and releasing three albums – Every Other Word (1999), Freehand (2004), and last year’s Off By Heart. Combining emotive songs, unrivalled musicianship, and a spectacular high energy show, Dempsey (guitar, vocals) and Broughton (fiddle, mandolin) never fail to create a spellbinding atmosphere.

At the top of their game, the list of acts they’ve played with includes such names as Whippersnapper, Pentangle, Mary Black, Joss Stone, Dando Shaft, The Urban Folk Quartet, Fairport Convention, The Albion Band, Dave Swarbrick, and even soul singer Percy Sledge! Yet Kevin and Joe continue to value their unique musical partnership, rooted in ‘folk music’ yet drawing on influences from the four corners of the world.

“With the album and the sell-out gigs, last year was our most successful to date so we can’t wait to get back out again,” enthuses Joe. “We’re really looking forward to playing songs from our previous releases as well as a few new tunes which we’ve been working on.”

Referring to the lengthy gap between Freehand and Off By Heart, Joe jokes:

“The new songs are sounding great, they really continue the themes and ideas from Off By Heart, and after the 13 year gap between albums, we hope it won’t be that long ‘til the next one!”

“We’ve spent the last few months exchanging ideas, so new songs are coming together – instrumentals, traditional songs and original songs,” interjects Kevin. “We spend a lot of time working on arrangements and always enjoy our time together, both of us – from the gigs to our annual guitar/ fiddle Summer School – so who knows? Maybe we’ll find the time to do some more recording this coming year … or the year after. We’ll see …”

Artists’ website: 

Demspey Broughton live:

Tour Dates

Friday 16 February 2018
The Hinckley ACT, 7 Watling Close, Hinckley, Leicestershire LE10 3EZ
With support from Brian Phillips
£11 (£10 Members)     8pm     Tel: 01455 631 609 

Saturday 17 February 2019
The Sunny Sailor, 1 Fullbridge, Maldon, Essex CM9 4LE
£15 (+£1.50 booking fee)     7.30pm
Tickets: Maldon TIC 01621 856503 or via

Thursday 22 February 2018
The Kitchen Garden Café, 17 York Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham B14 7SA
£12     8pm (Doors 7.30pm)     Tel: 0121 443 4725
Tickets via

Friday 23 February 2018
Bristol Folk House, 40a Park Street, Bristol BS1 5JG
£10.50 advance; £12.50 door     7.30pm 

Saturday 24 February 2018
Stanley Halls, 12 South Norwood Hill, London SE25 6AB     £15    8pm (doors 7.30pm)


DEMPSEY BROUGHTON – Off By Heart (own label SAECD14)

Off By HeartKevin Dempsey and Joe Broughton have been in the business for so many years and in so many line-ups that it seems impossible to count. You can mention The Albion Band, the Conservatoire Folk Ensemble, the Urban Folk Quartet, Dando Shaft, Whippersnapper and Lazarus before you have to stop and think. Kevin and Joe have worked together for almost two decades and Off By Heart is their fourth album as a duo.

The record opens in a rather unexpected way. You might have thought that two such celebrated instrumentalists would kick off with something to get the feet moving but instead they begin with Kevin singing ‘Resurrection Jack’, an anti-racist poem by Evangeline Paterson which Kevin has set to a simple and deliberately un-sensational tune. The story itself is a moving one but also told in very unemotional terms. That is followed by ‘Wheels Of The World’, a traditional Irish song explaining why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Who says folk music isn’t relevant?

Of course there are instrumental fireworks and they begin with ‘The Post Truth Reel’ a tune that Joe describes as having “some slightly bits, some positive bits and a bit of reflection”. Next are two linked tunes. ‘Just Before The News’ and ‘De Pascale’ were written around the death of their friend, renaissance man Ernesto De Pascale’ and into them is poured all the emotion they can find. Fittingly, they sit at the heart of the album.

The album closes with two more instrumentals and two traditional songs. ‘Wicked Polly’ comes from the Ozarks and Paloma Trigás adds massed violins and ‘Two Constant Lovers’ is from Sussex with all sorts of things going on behind Kevin’s voice. ‘La Moreau’ is a two-part tune, or rather one tune played in two very different ways, and the final tune is ‘The Recovery Shuffle’ – a bluesy guitar riff over which Joe has written a jig. There is a great deal to enjoy here.

Dai Jeffries

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website.

Buying through Amazon on helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artists’ website:

‘Wicked Polly’ live – an old video but none the worse for that:


Dempsey Broughton – new album

The collection’s nine tracks range from outlandish and inventive instruments, to traditional and original songs, with “a slightly political twist” running through.

Highlights include ‘Wheels Of The World’, an old comment on politicians that seems even more relevant today; ‘The Post Truth Reel’, an instrumental filled with anger and sadness; and ‘Resurrection Jack’, which is based on an anti-racist poem by the late Dublin-born writer and editor, Evangeline Paterson.

Since forming in 1999, this incredible duo have now recorded three albums and toured extensively in over 20 countries round the world. Combining emotive songs, unrivalled instrumental capability, and a spectacular high energy show, they never fail to create a spellbinding atmosphere.

The list of musicians they have played with is impressive, and includes Whippersnapper, Mary Black, Joss Stone, Dando Shaft, The Urban Folk Quartet, Fairport Convention, The Albion Band, Dave Swarbrick, and even Percy Sledge. But their partnership is a unique pairing.

“Whatever other projects we have done over the years, we always end up back together because we have so much common ground in our music,” says Joe.

To pigeon hole their style of music would be to do them a disservice. They draw on folk music from all corners of the world, but their experience in jazz, soul, classical, pop and rock music takes the results into original and uncharted territory.
What you’ll notice at their concerts is not only the originality of what this acoustic duo plays, but also the simple fact that they do it so well. Kevin has a fantastic voice and is widely regarded as one of Europe’s greatest acoustic guitar players, whilst Joe is simply unmatched in the world of fiddle pyrotechnics.

To top it all, the Dempsey Broughton show is playful and entertaining – you almost have to pinch yourself and remember to take it all in as they swoop from beautiful song to mind blowing tune, via a stream of hilarious banter. Two hours with Kevin Dempsey and Joe Broughton can seem like 10 minutes.

The release of Off By Heart is accompanied by a series of intimate dates.

“We’ve been working on this album for some time now, but we wanted to get it just right,” says Joe. “And now feels like the moment – it’s the right time for this material to get out there, and we’re really excited about sharing it with everyone.”

“Superb musicianship, brilliant conception and execution…all you people who think you can jazz-up folk music – hear this and weep!” – Flos Headford

Artists’ website:

Listen to ‘Resurrection jack’ here: