Sometimes you hear a performance that physically
stuns you - you know that it is absolutely of the moment, completely
raw and entirely true to itself. On They Don't Teach This Shit In
School, from the aching opening track ‘Jealousy’ onwards, the vocal
and lyrical presence that is Damien Dempsey arrives in your head
and won’t let you go. Love him or hate him, there will be no middle
ground on this one. You cannot help but be drawn in.
A working class hero is something to be. Damien
Dempsey speaks of urban life with the clarity and precision of a
weaver. Threads cross the loom that have references to NWA coming
out of Compton, historic respect is paid to Luke Kelly with some
colours straight from Bob Marley, all delivered with an uncompromising
Damien's voice is a global one; he speaks of
masculinity, tenderness, poverty, colonialism, the police, boy bands
and psycho chicks, without all the usual self-obsession. His work
is honest and objective, he is a storyteller, a ‘Seanchai’.
At 24 Damien Dempsey has already had an Irish
hit with ‘Dublin Town’ and has recently returned from a series of
successful gigs in New York. He is widely recognised as one of the
best emerging songwriters in Dublin. People have been calling him
'the new Christy Moore’ and Moore himself has been keen to promote
his talent, but no simple label does this talent justice.