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Sieze The Day

Obstinate enough to have called his debut album They Don't Teach This Shit In School, Dublin's waspish Damien Dempsey is neither a trimmer nor a lily-livered compromiser. The spiritual heir to Bob Marley, Joe Strummer and Christy Moore, Sieze The Day is Dempsey's second opus and finds the dauntless ex-boxer knocking the subsidised stuffing out of the Irish political establishment; venting his utter disgust at the common people's lot with his pugnacious and idiosyncratic brew of reggae and Irish folk protest. Such a juxtaposition of genres may seem like a clumsy contrivance but Dempsey makes it seem utterly organic and compelling. This record cannot and should not be ignored.

Dempsey is a principled man. His songs bristle with choleric but never with retribution. He is one for dignity and honour in the most despairing of circumstances. "I am an angry man" - he sings on the naked, harrowing Ghosts Of Overdoses - "I vent it on the bag, not the skag", while the song flickers by in ancient monochromic images of slums, land clearances and tuberculosis and then through the hellish latterday counterparts of heroin and homelessness. Celtic Tiger (featuring Sinead O'Connor) is an even more damning indictment of how Ireland's rapid (and selective) economic growth has spawned a defenceless underclass. "The cost of a run-down house is absurd, what we gonna do, have to move in with the woman in the shoe", groans Dempsey. As a pop-political barometer, the song merits comparisons with Guns Of Brixton by The Clash and Ghost Town by The Specials.

There's more to Dempsey than bile and socio-economic protest (the gorgeous, tidal It's All Good, the multicultural celebration of the happy Apple Of My Eye, for example) but one's lingering opinion is of a man endeavouring to bring Jerusalem to Ireland's emerald land. The sword shall not sleep in his hand. His third album can't come soon enough.

Kevin Maidment - June 2004

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We didn't catch him at WOMAD- but got the CD
very,very good- listening to it for the nth time. Absolutely marvellous! need more!
john, london

From start to finish, its all good! But you have to see him live to really appreciate his genius. Go on, Damo!!
Sue, Dublin

Ridiculously good, it's honest and hard hitting. Seeing him live makes everything worthwhile! Carpe Diem
Mark C, Tipperary

i was really moved by this album ,i feel the lyrics are special ,and the feeling the guy puts into his songs is magic.Since hearing about this artist i was interested in the new wave of artists coming out of Ireland ,Damien Rice ,Gemma Hayes ,the Frames etc ,i recommend the website www.irishmusiccentral to all your listeners the site has many new artists.
ronnie phillips, edinburgh

A beautiful, joyous, emotive album. Surely one of the best from Ireland, or anywhere, in years. Not a dud moment. Had me lauging, crying and screaming abuse at 'The Man'. Power to your elbow Damo. New album, Shots, not as good I reckon. Don't turn into Christy Moore PLEASE.
Mr. Dawson, No. 12

Deadly album. Can't understand why hes not more popular abroad. Maybe its his singing style and the fact that he sings in his Dublin accent,which he is unapologetic about, and quite right too. His second album is also a cracker but like most second albums, its lives in the shadow of his previous offering. But as Mark C said from Tipp, Carpe Diem! Love yourself Today!
Paul, Galway

A truly marvellous album and his third - Shots - is almost as good. Raw, emotive, heartfelt, passionate and inspiring - Damo is an absolute gem. Catch him live if you can as his stage shows are the stuff of legend back home.
Brian, Dublin

damo is a hero all his songs are so honest,i love him, we need to take his music and hold on to it and pass it down cause if not his music will be lost forever,not only damos music but all good irish music
suzanne darcy, dublin

Only came across Damo at a midday gig in Temple Bar Music Centre. Live he is even better than the recordings. Bob Marley, Shane McGowan, Christy Moore - shades of all these, but completely himself, a true new voice of protest and pure melody. What a sound live!
Linda McNamara, Dublin

Damo represents the ordinary working class.when i listen to his music i have hope for Irelands future.I saw him live the man is an absolute lirical genius and he creates magic everytime he steps on stage.His talent cannot be defined in words I have seize the day worn out 4rm listening to it and every time i listen to his second offering shots i get chills up my spine. at last the future of irish music has arrived. welldone damo.
Christina, Waterford
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An impeccable selection of the best in folk, roots and acoustic music.
Mike Harding
BBCi Music

Celtic Roots - BBC Scotland

Celtic Heartbeat - BBC Wales

Damien Dempsey's website

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