“Factories, trains, and houses. Playground of my youth. The place that left me mute”.

Songs are rarely sung this way anymore, with so much heart and passion.

There’s a truth to/in Damien Dempsey’s voice, and you can tell that he has lived every single word of his lyrics, smelt every smoky breeze of an Irish spring.

Shy as a teenager, Dempsey spent most of his time in his bedroom, singing and playing the guitar.

He was born and raised in the northern suburbs of Dublin, and occupied himself as an amateur boxer before finally committing to music fulltime.

In spite of endless touring, and being praised by music enthusiasts such as Morrissey in the press, Damien is still a stranger to the wider audiences, but has managed to gain a great cult following.

Factories’, from his 2003 album Seize The Day, with its dark, nostalgic tales of “Doin’ drugs and drinkin’, makes you so depressed,” is a song that creates beauty out of sheer rawness, wild youth and fights outside pubs. “I still can hear the crack of his head on the concrete,” he sings, immersing himself in his own words, as if his whole life depended on it.

The song also appeared on the soundtrack to the Irish crime film Between the Canals, in which Dempsey also made his debut acting performance.

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Words: Anders Knudsen