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Memphis rockabilly legends The Dempseys disband

Anyone who has seen The Dempseys, whether on their home strip of legendary Beale St. in Memphis, or at any of their gigs across the USA, in other countries, or on cruise ships, knows that they are a band not to be missed. They combine amazing musicianship with showmanship that rivals Cirque du Soleil in the intricacies of some of they stunts they pull off. Flaming trumpets, instrument swaps, double bass surfing, two people playing the same instrument at the same time... The Dempseys pull off these stunts and so much more without ever breaking their musical stride. They do, however, break a sweat. Brad Birkedahl, "Slick" Joe Fick and Ron Perrone Jr. are surely amongst the hardest working musicians in show-biz. They were the house band at Elvis Presley's Memphis bar, have played innumerable shows at Blues City Cafe in Memphis, and appeared as Elvis' band in the Johnny Cash biopic "Walk The Line".

As a musician myself, I have seen The Dempseys a few times and was blown away by their skills and breathtaking performance. I was even fortunate enough to meet them, and commandeer their instruments for a song, one fortuitous night in Memphis. So it is with sadness that I learned of their recent disbanding. There was no formal announcement, no update of The Dempseys web site (as of yet), just a note posted by a fan on Facebook.

Guitarist & main singer Brad Birkedahl has already posted a new web site with information on his new band. The home page states that "Birkedahl's musical repertoire has expanded. A brand new powerhouse stage show will still feature some of your favorite rockabilly music from the 50's and 60's. But now, the accomplished guitarist is taking the musical experience to a new level, with the addition of production numbers in the style of 1970's Elvis Presley." Perhaps this description explains in part his moving on from The Dempseys, although after 11 years, it could be any of a number of reasons. Maintaining a band is akin to, and often more difficult than, maintaining a marriage: there are more people involved, often in stressful circumstances, and for longer periods of time. Congratulations are due to anyone can make a relationship, whether musical or marital, last for 11 years.

There is no word, as of this writing, as to what is in store for bassist Fick or drummer Perrone, but we can only assume they won't be taking a very long break.

So to each member of The Dempseys, I would just like to say on behalf of all your fans, thanks for the entertainment and inspiration, and good luck in your future endeavours.
The Dempseys

Brad Birkedahl

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