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ROSIE CARSON & KEVIN DEMPSEY - Between the Distance

ROSIE CARSON & KEVIN DEMPSEY - Between the Distance
Private Label DECSCD002

This is a superbly refreshing collaboration between American Rosie Carson (aged 20) and British Folk Scene Kevin Dempsey (aged […I’ll spare his blushes]). This is the second offering from this pair on their own label, and builds on the success of the first with an interesting mix of traditional and modern, ranging from Curtis Mayfield’s You Must Believe Me to the celebrated Irish lament The Emigrant’s Farewell, and most intermediate points on the acoustic spectrum. Despite the age difference, this is not a truly new partnership, as Dempsey has known Carson all her life, being a family friend, and the familiarity is obvious in the closeness of their delivery of these tracks. Carson is a prize winning fiddler and Dempsey, a famed Whippersnapper and Dando Shaft acoustic guitar superhero, plays a mean banjo on this album (and incidentally the oud [fretless lute] – I can’t see that catching on at my local club…)

Probably the highlight for me personally has to be Peg & Awl, a song which derives from the shoemakers’ strikes in Philadelphia in the early 19th Century and which I confess I had not knowingly heard for at least 20 years. The tunes are fab too – Jenny Picking Cockles/The Skipping Lambs for starters is a cracker.

This album has already been toured by the pair before the review copy swung our way, so I know that I’m preaching to the converted here, as I’m sure they’ve sold bucket loads at their gigs, but for those that didn’t get to see them, I’d definitely give this one a pop. Due to the wide stretch of water between their home bases, and other commitments, their live appearances may be few and far between – so worth seeking out on this showing.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 89 of The Living Tradition magazine.