Largely unknown outside of his native land, Damien Dempsey is a prodigious figure in Ireland, where Glen Hansard recently called him the country’s Atlas, carrying the hopes of the people on his shoulders. Those same people have responded gratefully by regularly sending his albums into the higher reaches of the charts and Almighty Love, his sixth, will be no exception. Dempsey’s musical formula is a simple one: Inspired by childhood heroes the Dubliners, the Chieftains and – particularly – Christy Moore, he fires out spirited protest songs and heartfelt ballads over plaintive guitar and uilleann pipes, in the strongest Celtic accent heard in song since the Proclaimers. Dempsey has a well-deserved reputation as a champion of the common man and a critic of Ireland’s formerly lauded, now collapsed Celtic Tiger economy, but Almighty Love finds him in personal rather than political mode, pledging his devotion on the title track and mourning a late gay friend on the moving “Chris and Stevie.” When he does turn his attention to Ireland’s economic travails, his broad-brush deliberations can be a tad clunky (“In bad men you’ll invest, you charge big interest”, he tut-tuts on “Money Man”) – but his sincerity is palpable and it is easy to see why he is a prophet with honor in his own land.
By Robert Ham on 02.25.15 in Features
From Shania Twain to Patrick Wolf, these musicians couldn't leave well enough alone and rerecorded their work.
By Jewly Hight on 02.23.15 in Features
"I take the country songs, because they're the only ones left now with any real meaning, and I redo them more R
By Mary Kinney on 02.06.15 in Features
For all of NYC's history of folk music, a giant metropolitan city with no recent rural history to speak of is an odd place for a comeback to take place.
By Laura Leebove on 12.17.14 in Features
On crying at shows, impossibly high expectations and making songs Mean Something