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 on the DEMPSEY BROUGHTON – Off By Heart link to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

DOWNLOAD – [CD]

Artists’ website: https://www.joebroughton.com/dempsey-broughton

‘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: http://www.joebroughton.com/dempsey-broughton

Listen to ‘Resurrection jack’ here:


DARREN BLACK – Rise Above The Mumblings (own label DBCD003)

DBRATMRise Above The Mumblings is singer/songwriter Darren Black’s third solo album and his first for six years having worked for the last few years with Deborah Peake as Black Peak. I’ve heard him a few times and enjoyed what he’s done in what felt like his usual role as a go-to support act in these parts. That’s grossly unfair, of course, but his profile has never been terribly high.

Darren plays finger style guitar and fiddle and has pared back his sound on this album to the very basics. He plucks a little violin and producer Kevin Dempsey adds some lead guitar on four of the ten tracks but otherwise it’s just voice and guitar. Dempsey’s contributions are restrained and immaculate but you’d expect that, of course. The songs are deceptively simple and easily accessible but sometimes you have to drill down for his meaning – or perhaps that should be your meaning; the meaning you take from his poetry. Continue reading DARREN BLACK – Rise Above The Mumblings (own label DBCD003)

Karen Tweed – Essentially Invisible to the Eye

ESSENTIALLY INVISIBLE TO THE EYE is Karen Tweed’s latest recording and, in being entirely solo, is a departure from her extensive collaborative work which has dominated her career since the early 1990s.

Born in London in 1963 to an Irish mother and English father, Karen took up the accordion at the age of eleven. Since turning professional in the late 1980s, she has appeared on over thirty albums from her early days with The Kathryn Tickell Band to being a founding member of the pioneering all female Poozies, through the Anglo-Swedish ensemble SWAP, American collaboration Undertoe with Stuart Kenney, Marko Packard and Rodney Miller, to The Two Duos Quartet with Andy Cutting, Chris Wood and Ian Carr. Karen’s duo work with Ian Carr, Andy Cutting and also Roger Wilson and John Dipper has left many an audience mesmerised at her breathtaking musicianship, while her trios with Hannah James and Becky Price in Hell Said The Duchess and with Carolyn Robson and Kevin Dempsey are more examples of her diversity and creativity. Continue reading Karen Tweed – Essentially Invisible to the Eye

ROSIE CARSON & KEVIN DEMPSEY – The Salty Diamond (Own Label)

I was first introduced to Kevin Dempsey many years ago at the Hedgehog Pie festival in Newcastle (possibly 1976!) and I particularly remember his impressive guitar technique crossing jazz with folk. Of course, this was innovative at the time and I’m pleased to say he’s lost none of that technique which works as the perfect foil for his twinning with the teenage Stateside based fiddler/vocalist Rosie Carson. Now this is my kind of album, one that utilises songs I remember from my own ‘folk music’ upbringing. The duo’s repertoire includes classic songs such as the trials and tribulations Gospel tinged “I Am A Poor Wayfaring Stranger”, “Silver Dagger” and Richard Thompson’s “Waltzing’s For Dreamers” respectfully treated with a laid back country feel featuring Kevin on lead vocals. The instrumental sets likewise are from a vintage that I still cherish with enjoyable interpretations of “The Rolling Waves/Morrison’s Jig”, “Paddy Fahey’s/The Butterfly” and “Julia Delaney’s/Larry Redican’s” amongst them. Carson and Dempsey blend well together tonally and although this recording may not be seen by many as wildly innovative there are certainly many high points to raise it above albums of a similar disposition. Here’s looking forward to the next one!  PETE FYFE

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 on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artists web link: http://www.kevindempsey.co.uk/

Andy Guttridge – Amongst Friends

“Amongst Friends” is a fine recording based on light soothing melodies with good guitar and vocal accompaniment sometimes reaching moments of purism.

There is a notable contribution in particular from Ric Sanders playing Zeta Viocello on “I call it Love” and violin on “The Storm” and “Black Shepherd”. The latter two are both powerful anti-whaling songs that chart man’s collision course with his natural world and in this case the “few” that are hell-bent on destroying the last remaining “lords of the deep”.

Andy is amongst some of the best musical friends he could hope to have who have all contributed enormously to the overall ambience of the album. They include, Kevin Dempsey, Chris Leslie, Tom Leary, Jim Bennion, Martin Green, Mark Lee, Neil Clarke and Matt Le Mare to name a few.

Artist web link no longer available.  The Folkmaster