Kevin Dempsey and Joe Broughton are back for a series of intimate gigs, recently performing at Birmingham's Kitchen Garden Cafe. 2017 saw the duo 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. 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. “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!” - Joe Broughton

“We’ve spent the last few months exchanging ideas, so new songs are coming together - instrumentals, traditional songs and original songs. 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 …” - Kevin Dempsey

In Review: Dempsey Broughton at Kitchen Garden Cafe, Kings Heath, Birmingham

Words by Evie Kissack

Having never had the privilege to see Dempsey Broughton live before, I was thoroughly unprepared for just how much I would enjoy seeing the two musicians. Nestled in the tiny and quirky space of the Kitchen Garden Cafe, the audience sat facing the pair who were allocated a small corner, just big enough to fit the players (and their fiddle and guitar). Kicking off with an irish jig that had the entire room tapping their feet, Joe Broughton and Kevin Dempsey instantly showcased their impeccable performance skills and compatibility.

Both musicians perfectly complemented each other and understood how to create complete coherency, despite their different playing styles - clearly the result of years of travelling the world playing and writing songs together.  An almost four-minute song followed the opening track entitled 'Resurrection Jack', a slow burner that brought the fast-paced beginning to a pleasant contemplative level. The bluesy tones of Kevin's voice, paired with the sensitive and masterful accompaniment from Joe on his violin was a dream to listen to - several members of the audience even shut their eyes in an attempt to let the music lift them to a new place and moment. Based on an anti-racist poem by the late Dublin-born writer, Evangeline Paterson, the song held a more serene edge that wonderfully contrasted the previous upbeat tracks.

To continue the political theme, the pair dived headfirst into the song 'Wheels Of The World', an older song offering a commentary upon politicians that seemed eerily relevant to today's society. Following the political thread through to the end, Joe and Kevin introduced the audience to their song, 'The Post Truth Reel', easily the highlight of the whole evening for me.

'The Post Truth Reel' took the audience on a journey; rising in intense moments of anger and falling in moments of sincerity and sadness. Playing songs with a Turkish twist, songs from a short film score, American pieces and songs that defy all categorisation, Dempsey Broughton delivered a phenomenal gig and pleased their listeners completely. Using outlandish instrumentation, that added to their wonderfully eccentric and active playing styles, Dempsey Broughton were thoroughly enjoyable to watch and kept the audience on the edge of their seats throughout.  

A collaboration well worth listening to. Order their new album 'Off By Heart' now, and see for yourself.     




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