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Damien Dempsey

Born in a mid-70s Dublin where poverty was an every day reality, singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey's musical direction has in every way been shaped by his experiences growing up.

Gravitating towards artists who shared his own particular outlook on society, Dempsey studied hard the works of Bob Marley, Elvis Presley, Christy Moore, Brendan Behan and Shane MacGowan- all of them contributing to what would eventually morph in to his very distinctive personal style. Coupled with his early childhood exposure to traditional Irish sessions in his parents' house, he developed a keen love ...read more

Born in a mid-70s Dublin where poverty was an every day reality, singer-songwriter Damien Dempsey's musical direction has in every way been shaped by his experiences growing up.

Gravitating towards artists who shared his own particular outlook on society, Dempsey studied hard the works of Bob Marley, Elvis Presley, Christy Moore, Brendan Behan and Shane MacGowan- all of them contributing to what would eventually morph in to his very distinctive personal style. Coupled with his early childhood exposure to traditional Irish sessions in his parents' house, he developed a keen love for folk music, particularly the free-flowing "sean-nos" or old style of singing.

After finishing secondary school in 1994, Damien enrolled in Ballyfermot College's Rock School, a music program specifically designed for musicians without any formal training to their name, effectively enfranchising the working-class of whom Dempsey was one. A song of his was chosen from the graduate class of 1997 for release on the college's own independent label, and 'Dublin Town' became a surprise Top 20 hit that year, and remained a cult classic thereafter.

Soon afterward Damien took up an offer by ex-Black 47 (seminal Irish-American folk rock band) member Chris Byrne to work and play in his new bar in New York. After three months he returned to Dublin, claiming that the excessive lifestyle he enjoyed there would kill him, though he still managed to lose his tongue temporarily in a street fight. Focusing on a career in music, Damien got his proverbial s[size=2]hit[/size] together and produced his first full-length, 2000's They Don't Teach This S[size=2]hit[/size] In School but failed to make any significant mainstream breakthrough despite himself. The re-recorded 'Dublin Town' sits alongside 'N.Y.C. Paddy' as the pick of the crop.

The album did, however, earn him an admirer in legendary Irish pop singer Sinead O'Connor, who agreed to lend her voice to his next release, 2002's Negative Vibes EP and subsequently invited him to support her on her European tour. So closely linked were the pair that Dempsey was for a time rumoured to be the mystery father of her third child, however those rumours soon died down. This didn't deter the pair from working together on most of his second full-length, Seize The Day, to which O'Connor gave her backing vocals throughout. Also guesting on the album was legendary genius/weird guy Brian Eno, who added "atmospheric guitars" to the mix. Choice cuts on this occasion are the ode to New York 'Apple of my Eye,' the huge anti-colonialist 'Great Gaels of Ireland' and the socialist-tinged 'Celtic Tiger..

Eno also features on Shots, Dempsey's third and most recent album, released in Ireland and the UK simultaneously in March 2005 (a first for the singer) is his most successful to date and boasts re-workings of fan-favourites 'Party On' and 'Colony,' as well as the singles 'Hold Me,' 'Patience' and 'St. Patrick's Day.' Additionally, talk show host Pat Kenny surprisingly revealed that Dempsey will release a live album in 2006, but his claims are as of now unsupported. « hide

Similar Bands: Billy Bragg, Christy Moore

LPs
The Rocky Road
2008

3.6
6 Votes
To Hell Or Barbados
2007

4
17 Votes
Shots
2005

4.3
6 Votes
Seize The Day
2003

4.2
9 Votes
They Don't Teach This Shit In School
2000

3.5
3 Votes
EPs
Negative Vibes EP
2002

3.8
3 Votes
The Contender EP
1995

3
2 Votes
Live Albums
Live At The Olympia
2006

4
3 Votes
Compilations
Sing All Our Cares Away
2006

4.3
3 Votes

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