Biography: BlackEyed Dempseys
Name your band after one of the greatest fighters in Irish history and you’d better be prepared to crank out some musical fisticuffs and all bets are off showdowns.
That’s exactly what BlackEyed Dempseys do and why they are fast becoming a favorite in the Northern California music scene. Now they are bringing their punk-Irish-vision to ever increasing audiences.
BlackEyed Dempseys blend traditional Celtic playing skills with rock 'n' roll hooks. Their sound has the familiarity to be instantly recognizable. When you hear them you know it is the Dempseys. They are engaging, and appealing to fans of all ages. Their live shows bring a raucous energy that cannot be denied. The Dempseys are proud to say that they have fans in America, Ireland, Australia and World Wide!
Stage presence, brilliant arrangements, traditional tunes and original compositions is what BlackEyed Dempseys deliver each time they take the stage. Their distinctive sound and command of their instruments combined with the band's enthusiasm and desire to connect with every member of the audience sets them apart.
The melodies of Mark Repking (banjo) and Keith Jukes (accordion); harmonies of Moe Crummet (guitar); the driving bass of Quinn Brentson and the rhythm of Josh Wagner’s drums meld with Jamie Hill’s bar hardened vocals and searing guitar to prompt a new look at Irish tradition.
Originally formed in 2008, BlackEyed Dempseys are one of the hottest, up and comers in California Celtic rock. Working class musicians from Northern California have come together to create and perform a brand new version of hard-edged, politically tinged songs of freedom and love to the alternative Celtic-rock music scene.
BlackEyed Dempsey’s connection with their audience is a palpable thing. They bridge the gap from traditional arrangements to Dempsey original songs with a take on Irish and Celtic music that is current and insightful. They bring their varied and powerful styles to the forefront of the current Irish-inspired music boon.
Jamie Hill started BlackEyed Dempseys and was looking for an accordion player. He met Keith Jukes at a Flogging Molly show. Keith’s dedication and desire to “be a Dempsey” took over and soon Keith and his accordion were an integral part of the band. Keith brings the traditional and new to a melting point with brilliant and insightful style.
At that same show Jamie met Moe Crummet. Moe would later join the band after a Dempsey show at the Powerhouse Pub. Moe left the cutting edge band “Shadowbox Theory” to play with the Dempseys. His driving rhythm guitar and stellar harmonies are hallmarks of the Dempsey sound.
The Irish banjo and mandolin is governed by Mark Repking. Listening to Mark play the banjo is a devil of a thing. His speed and skill is matched by his natural understanding of Irish melodies. Mark became a Dempsey after Keith introduced him to Jamie. One jam session and it was a done deal.
Josh Wagner is the drums. Another day job connection brought Josh to the band. He drives the Dempseys from start to finish at every show. Josh brings a keen ear for arrangement and orchestration. His sound can be heard throughout the Dempseys songs.
Quinn Brentson is the most recent Dempsey. A classified ad found Quinn in Southern California and a little over a year later he was headed for Northern California and the Dempseys. Quinn boasts an impressive musical pedigree. He has worked in the studio with Michael Boddicker, keyboard artist with Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Mariah Carey. He has also done studio work with Jim Fuller lead guitarist of the legendary So-Cal surf band, the Surfaris. Quinn is the deep and quiet man that produces the sonic landscape of bass guitar so much a foundation of BlackEyed Dempseys.
Jamie Hill’s work on guitar wows crowds. His ability to connect with an audience with hard driving songs and a sense of humor is a key. Jamie’s years playing the bar circuit gives him the straight ahead power and experience to sing the Dempseys songs and carry the message home. His skill on guitar is a mix between thunder and sweet rain.
Laura Winn, writes for the SF Examiner, “With a kilt-wearing accordion player center stage, this band was either going to be truly awesome or truly horrible. Within 30 seconds of their set, BlackEyed Dempseys had filled the dance floor with their "rebel Irish music" in the vein of Flogging Molly. This band is wicked cool... Lead by Jamie Hill on guitar and vocals, the band stole the show with a mix of covers by the likes of The Pogues and Flogging Molly and originals including their own pub anthem, which stood up to their great rendition of "What's Left of the Flag."”
Eileen Wilson, for the Folsom Telegraph, “When feet are stomping, hands are clapping, and everyone is sporting a grin, you know a great band is on the stage. It’s no wonder audiences love the roaring yet rhythmic sounds that emanate from the six-member group… the band knows how to get a crowd going…Those who are familiar with bands like the BlackEyed Dempseys or Flogging Molly will know that traditional Irish music, with punk and rock vibes, can get an audience out of their seat and ready to rock. This isn’t a band that is meant to be watched, while quietly sipping a cocktail. This is a band that makes fans want to participate; to have a connection with the music; an exchange between audience and band members that will leave fans with an experience rather than a mere performance.”
Kelsey Perry, for the Sacramento Downtown Partnership/Concert in the Park series, BlackEyed Dempseys mix traditional and current Irish music with ramped-up Les Pauls, accordion and banjos screaming, and bass and drums driving like a train! Blending traditional Celtic music with rock ‘n’ roll hooks, BlackEyed Dempseys are engaging and have raucous energy that cannot be denied. BlackEyed Dempseys create a lively atmosphere for guests and perform with a contagious enthusiasm that surges through the crowd.
The All Hallows Fantasy Faire writes: BlackEyed Dempseys ~ a hair-raising performance!
BlackEyed Dempseys are quickly establishing themselves as a memorable team of musicians - bridging the boundaries of independent rock 'n' roll and Celtic music.
Where BlackEyed Dempseys have performed:
Ace of Spades, Sacramento Ca
Irelands 32, San Francisco Ca
The Powerhouse Pub, Folsom Ca
The Boxing Donkey Irish Pub, Roseville Ca
The Purple Place, El Dorado Hills Ca
O’Mally’s Irish Pub, Sacramento Ca
The Fire Escape, Citrus Heights Ca
The Distillery, Sacramento Ca
The Power Club, Auburn Ca
Vegas Nightclub and Sports Bar, Sacramento Ca
Constable Jacks, Newcastle Ca
Foster’s Pub and Grill, Rocklin Ca
Crawdads River Cantina, Sacramento Ca
Kinnee O’Reilly’s, El Dorado Hills Ca
36 Handles, El Dorado Hills Ca
The Pour House, Sacramento Ca
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS:
Outside Lands Festival ~ San Francisco 2013 http://www.sfoutsidelands.com/
Tartan Day ~ Fremont Ca ~ 2013
Folsom Live ~ 2013 http://www.folsomlive.com/
St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival ~ San Francisco 2012
Concert in the Park series, Sacramento Ca ~ 2012
The Sonora Celtic Faire, Sonora Ca ~ 2012; 2013, 2014
All Hallows Fantasy Faire, Sonora Ca ~ 2011; 2012
The Cotati Accordion Festival ~ 2012
DeVere’s St. Patrick’s Day party in the park at Cesar Chavez park, Sacramento Ca
The Celtic Faerie Festival, Fair Oaks Ca
The Natomas Country Club, Sacramento Ca
Neillo Volkswagen Fun Run and Car Show, Roseville Ca
Good Day Sacramento, Channel 31. Morning news and entertainment
Dates: 3/17/2011; 6/25/2011;
RADIO and ACCOLADES:
KRXQ 98.5 Sacramento Ca
Paloma Radio, Podcast 7/14/2011http://palomaradio.podomatic.com/entry/2011-07-14T07_46_36-07_00
Paddy Rock, Podcast 5/25/2012 http://www.paddyrock.com/home/paddy-rock-podcast-36-52512/
V103 Rock http://v103.net/
IRFT Celtic Radio http://tunein.com/radio/IRFT-Celtic-Radio-s116269/
Some Good Craic show http://www.blogtalkradio.com/dart-head-mike/2013/03/28/some-good-craic--the-blackeyed-dempseys#.UUoIoGBxAYI.facebook
WQFS Paddy Whacked Radio http://pwradio.net/
Celtic Blog and Fanzine Band of the Month April 2013http://celticfolkpunk.blogspot.com/2013/04/band-of-month-blackeyed-dempseys.html#.UVs0oeJSAQc.facebook
KCRA City voter A List 2012 Top Ten Finish of 360 bands, 6th place
KCRA City Voter A List 2013 Top Five Finish of 380 bands, 5th place
Leap My Frog – Sail Away to Amerikay used in title and credits sequences.
BANDS OF NOTE BLACKEYED DEMPSEYS HAVE PLAYED WITH:
The Real McKenzies
The Young Dubliners
Zoo Station – U2 Tribute Band
Arden Park Roots
The Mad Maggies
The Infamous Swanks
Element of Soul
The Jacks – ACDC Tribute Band
Black Irish Band
Island of Black and White
Dry County Drinkers
James Hill - Vox, Guitar
Moe Crummett - Vox, Guitar
Quinn Brentson - Bass
Keith Jukes -Accordion, Mandolin
Mark Repking - Banjo, Mandolin
Josh Wagner - Percussion