It’s never too late to embrace the music within, and no one knows this better than Josie Dempsey. After 62 years of breathing, walking, laughing, crying, loving and hurting on this small planet, Josie’s song has finally bloomed out of her spectacularly in her stunning debut album, Standing Tall.
Recorded and produced by Josie and her son Will – with instrumental help from her other three sons – Standing Tall is the best bits of folk, country and classic alternative rock without the nostalgic clutter. Filled to the brim with Josie’s earnest reflections, experiences and rich memories, her first album is a love letter to life, and not just the easy parts.
Although Standing Tall is Josie’s first release, she is no stranger to music. She has been surrounded by musicians and their craft her whole life. Her mother – an instinctive, self taught pianist. – couldn’t read music, but encouraged Josie to play the piano. After dabbling with her mother’s instrument as a child she eventually gave it up. At age 12, she picked up the guitar, mimicking the riffs of her favourite musicians Joni Mitchel and Neil Young. But Josie didn’t begin original composition for another eight years when she wrote her first song at the age of 20. But after this brief foray, Josie didn’t hear the call of the song-writer again until her 40’s.
In 2017 she attended a music salon on Patmos Island, Greece which altered the course of her life, both creatively and spiritually. With a small group of creatively attuned, like-minded souls and the guidance and tuition of Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin and Judy Collins (three of her greatest musical inspirations) Josie embarked on – in her own words – “a dream-like journey of discovery.” Josie’s experience resonated with her far beyond Patmos. She had learned to admire not only her own voice, but also the meaning she could convey with it. Armed with the confidence of a worthy songwriter, Josie could now record her debut, Standing Tall.
The earnest compositions collected in Standing Tall reflect this 40 year journey honestly and genuinely. She wrote her first song at the age of 20, and others as recently as the last two years. All of them tell the stories of a rich life. Some like Old Country Room, Prior to Departure and Trouble are a testimony to resilience and joy in the face of tragic loss. Burnt So Bad and Stared the Demon Down are Josie’s tributes to loved ones who have gone through hardship. While songs like Love Locks, You Shared The Rain and You’ll Never Know reflect on the beautiful experiences of love and motherhood.
Whatever its meaning, every song is composed with the precision of a long-time musician, but more importantly, the heart of an artist.
‘Standing Tall’ is available to buy digitally or on CD through Bandcamp, or you can listen on all major streaming platforms.