News & Reviews

In late 2009, The Dempseys decided to take a break from live performance to concentrate on other projects. January of 2010 marked the beginning of Joe’s tenure as bass extraordinaire of The Travis Mann Band, a Lower Broadway favorite in Nashville, TN.

Mann has a reputation for hiring musicians known for being the "cream of the crop", and Fick was no exception. Marked by a truly electric live show, full of traditional rockabilly and honky-tonk favorites, the group has made a name for themselves on the stages of both Robert’s Western World and The Full Moon Saloon, where they are currently the house band. Fick stepped into a position that has been held by notable players such as Dave Roe (Johnny Cash, Dwight Yoakam), Zach Shedd (Hank III) and Mark Winchester (Brian Setzer Orchestra), while other familiar names have included guitarists Kenny Vaughan (Marty Stuart), Guthrie Trapp (Patty Lovelace), Rod Janzen (Dierks Bently) and Porter McClister (Heidi Newfield, Tanya Tucker).

The summer of 2011 brought about more changes, as Joe found himself replacing Dave Roe again, this time as bassist for the legendary Don Kelley Band. Kelley, who has made a name for himself in the Nashville scene since the 70s, has held court at Robert’s Western World for over a decade, prepping some of Nashville’s hottest young players for careers as sought after session men and touring artists. Some of the men who have graduated from Don’s tuteledge include Guthrie Trapp, Redd Volkaert (Merle Haggard), Johnny Hiland (The Johnny Hiland Band) and most recently, JD Simo (SIMO). Joe can also be seen alongside Eileen Rose and the Legendary Rich Gilbert in The Silver Threads, Nashville’s honky-tonk heroes with a punk rock edge. Both Rose and Gilbert hail from Boston, where Rose has built a name for herself in the Americana genre, while Rich had an illustrious career in Beantown’s punk scene.


The Commercial Appeal

Saturday, October 13, 2001

The Dempseys - Drinking Songs for Your Grandparents!

Self-distributed - 3 and a half out of 4 stars

Look for rockabilly bands in the town that sired the art form and you'll largely be disappointed. Which make talented trio The Dempseys stand out even more. For the past four years, the Tacoma, Wash., act has honed its skills as the house band at Elvis Presley's Memphis to become one of the nation's best revivalist groups. Combining energetic abandon with impressive chops - and peppered with a good dose of cornpone humor - The Dempseys would have given the Stray Cats a run for the money in the '80s. As it stands, few retro groups cover all the bases the way these guys do, from the slap-happy beat of upright bassist "Slick" Joe Fick and drive of drummer Ron Perrone Jr. to the wild guitar-isms - equal parts Cliff Gallup and Reverend Horton Heat - of Bradley Dean Birkedahl. Not only does their new album, "Drinking Songs for Your Grandparents!", have the years best jacket art - Memphis rockabilly legends Paul Burlison and Cordell Jackson holding their ears before the group - it has some of the best songs, eight originals and two choice covers that pitch a liquored-up boogie woogie. The test is that band compositions House Gin Hangover, the Merle Travis nod Beer Goggle Boggle, Sunday Mornin' You'll Pay (But Tonight Let's Drink Some Juice) and Hot Rod Lincoln rewrite I Want Moonshine share convincing bar shots with standards White Lightning and Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee. Plus, famed Rock'n'Roll Trio giant Paul Burlison - who led the act on 1999's self titled "Paul Burlison and The Dempseys" - guest stars on the jump blues Back to the Dog House. No further endorsement necesarry. - By Michael Lollar

Bass Player

March 2003

The Dempseys - Drinking Songs for Your Grandparents!

As the Dempseys' hyperactive "Slick" Joe Fick is known for his blazing slapping on his Englehardt Swingmaster with the house band at Elvis Presley's Memphis nightclub, you know this band oozes rockabilly credibility. As the main songwriter, Joe leads the band as they tear through 11 originals in 30 minutes; he steps out only for a tasty fill on "Beer Goggle Boggle." It's pure, beer-guzzling rockabilly, just like grandpa used to play.

The Commercial Appeal

Friday, October 22, 2004

The Dempseys - Radio Friendly Hits For Your DJ to Play

Self-released - 3 and a half stars out of 4

In the land of Sun, you might expect to hear a rockabilly band on every street corner. Then again, with a group as frighteningly as good as the Dempseys, who would dare compete? On their latest album, Radio Friendly Hits for Your DJ to Play, these Tacoma, Wash., transplants affirm their title as the new kings of our hepcat strip. With ball-of-fire live shows and records to match, the virtuosic, thrill-seeking team of guitarist Bradley Dean Birkedahl, Bassist "Slick" Joe Fick and drummer Ron Perrone Jr. put more fun and inventiveness into three chords than any band since, arguably, the Stray Cats (yes, the musicianship is that stunning). Guitar pickers, prepare to fawn over Birkedahl, a cross between Joe Maphis and Cliff Gallup who also sings like he stepped out of a 1956 Sun audition. And Fick thumps the upright bass like no one else around. The low-end madman further gives the band much of its material, from novelty gem "Steak and Egg Crazy" to the Buck Owens-esque highlight "At Closing Time My Heart Will Have an Open Sign." A cover of the Rock'n'Roll Trio's "Lonesome Tears in My Eyes" is sent straight to the album dedicatee, the late Paul Burlison (who would have approved of the song's south-of-the-border flourishes here). The famed guitarist's signature riffing (a la "The Train Kept A-Rollin") also puts in a cameo on the knockout original, "Pappy Done Slapped Me." - By Bill Ellis

Rockabilly Magazine

May/June 2006

The Dempseys - Radio Friendly Hits For Your DJ To Play

"I swear to God, The Dempseys are the greatest I've ever heard!" declares Sun impressario Sam Phillips on this memphis trio's website. Startling energy, easy humor and jaw-dropping knack rise in this country-swingin', rockin' cache. Sam wrong? Not yet. Five stars out of five stars