Early reaction so far...

“The Empties is a song cycle akin to Squeeze's From The Cradle To The Grave: albeit one performed in acoustic troubadour mode and interspersed with strategic narrative from eminent music writer Gavin Martin.
Short and (bitter) sweet, the 12 tracks here clock in at under 30 minutes, but there’s room for several absolute gems, including the redemptive Nothing Without Love and the vivid wartime vignette Evacuees.”
John Peacock, Record Collector, April 2017

“The Empties is a very interesting project altogether, some of the material is very strong, some great songwriting going on.”
Mike Brocken, Presenter and acclaimed music biographer, Folkscene, BBC Radio Merseyside, April 2017



Wirral's Dean Johnson graduated from the folk scene in the late 1970’s. Guitar legend Richard Thompson was an early champion of Dean's songwriting and performing skills. A popular opening act for the cream of the Folk circuit including Martin Carthy, Dave Swarbrick and Gordon Giltrap, decades later Dean would become hard drinking genius John Martyn's support act on his final tours.

Between 1979 and 1983 Dean was a prolific figure in the cassette culture scene. He released over 30 albums and became a favourite of the tape collectors’ fanzines. When the fad died out, he graduated to proper recordings and released a further 16 record albums and CDs.

A recent article in Record Collector looked back fondly on the ‘cassette pets’ era and featured Johnson in the Top 20 most sought-after tapes. It was a timely reminder for Dean, who now produces and distributes his music from home.

A chance meeting with Chris Difford of Squeeze introduced Johnson into the mainstream, where he wrote and toured, appearing at The Royal Albert Hall and Wembley Stadium with the likes of Paul Carrack, Bryan Ferry and The Beach Boys. But it was whilst touring with David Essex that the 70's superstar suggested Dean's songs would work in a theatrical setting. Dean turned his attention to writing stage musicals. For the first, ‘Bullets and Daffodils’, he joined forces with the much loved James Herriot actor Christopher Timothy to tell the story of war poet Wilfred Owen.

Now in 2017, The Empties brings Dean full circle to the intimacy of the folk scene. And its premiere prompts his first solo acoustic performance for 25 years.

The Empties is out now via Dean’s website.

Wednesday 24th May
Bromfolk, The Bolton Room, The Bridge Inn, Bolton Road, Port Sunlight, CH62 4UQ
Contact John Coleman 0151 334 0759

For more information, contact 07539 371925.