Rosie Carson and Kevin Dempsey

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Review Date May 10, 2012

Review By John Roffey

Location The Centre Stage, Bournemouth

The evening got underway with a short set from grossly underrated folkie Mick Ryan who delivered a short set of hugely entertaining numbers, all sung a cappella. It was then followed by Rosie Carson a native of Cincinnati, Ohio. She had enrolled into the Riley School of Irish Music in her home town at the tender age of eight. She has won numerous awards for her singing and fiddle playing and although still in her teens, displays a maturity way beyond her years. An iconic figure on the home scene, Kevin Dempsey has played with just about anybody that’s anybody in the folk world. With Kevin knowing Rosie’s father for thirty-odd years and having watched Rosie’s musical talents develop, it was no surprise that the two decided to collaborate musically, the result being two excellent albums with another in the offing. Playing an eclectic mix of traditional numbers and covers as well as showcasing their albums and slipping in a fair selection of Irish jigs and reels, this turned out to be an exhilarating evening and it was such a pity that only a handful turned out to witness a pretty special event. Sharing lead vocals and harmonising beautifully, they opened with “Wayfaring Stranger” and you can’t get more traditional than that! A couple of Irish tunes, “The Rolling Waves” and “Morrison’s” led nicely to Kevin taking the lead on Richard Thompson’s achingly beautiful country song “Waltzing’s For Dreamers” and Judee Sill’s “There’s A Rugged Road,” one for the forthcoming album. Another Irish reel, “Julia Delaney’s” was followed by “Silver Dagger” from their 2009 debut offering THE SALTY DIAMOND and the shoemaker’s lament “Peg And Awl” before they closed the first set with more slick instrumental work on a medley of “Jenny Picking Cockles” and “Skipping Lambs.” Picking up from where they left off, the second set got underway with the lovely “Green Grows The Laurel” and a medley of Charlie Lennon’s “Scottish Concerto” and “Chanter’s March,” both included on their latest album BETWEEN THE DISTANCE. After “The Music Bringer£ and a great Appalachian song “Rain And Snow,” it was time for yet more Irish jigging with “Paddy Fahey’s” and “The Butterfly.” Sadly, things were drawing to a close but not before they delivered a great rendition of the traditional “The Bay Of Biscay,” a seafaring ghost story, and Kevin’s own “All For You.” With so few in the audience, one wondered if sufficient noise could be made to persuade the couple to play just one encore. Persuade them they did and Rosie and Kevin returned with “I’m Going To Georgia,” another to be included on the next album. This was terrific stuff although sadly, the haunting “Emigrant’s Farewell” was not included on the set list. Rosie plays a mean fiddle and has a gorgeous voice which at times was very powerful for one so young. For some reason, she failed to project it sufficiently at the start of several numbers making it quite difficult to pick out the lyrics of the first couple of lines. This is certainly not prevalent on their albums where her vocals are just perfect. Kevin? Well, Kevin was just Kevin wowing everyone with his intricate guitar work and gritty vocals which he’s been doing now for more years than he would care to remember.

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