Youthful energy from progressive Philadelphia trio 'Poor Man's Gambit'

Poor Man's Gambit is a trio of traditional artists comprised of Corey Purcell (button accordion, cittern, vocals, bodhrán, dance), Dylan Richardson (guitar, tenor banjo, bouzouki, vocals), and Genevieve Gillespie (fiddle, vocals, dance). The band's roots can be traced to the early 90's when Gillespie and Purcell met in Irish dance class at the age of five. The two pursued separate careers in the Irish arts, until 2015, when they combined with Richardson for a number of quickly organised gigs.

The trio quickly realized that their combination of musical styles was worth pursuing as a more permanent venture, as they are set apart by not only offering a varied array of instrumental combinations, but also by including the visual (and audial) element of dance.

The resultant sound and chemistry worked and evolved into a permanent trio. The name 'Poor Man's Gambit' began as 'PMG', an anagram for the original member's last names - Purcell, McComb, and Gillespie. After toying around with several name options, they settled on 'Poor Man's Gambit' because the meaning really resonated with them. They explain: “A gambit is a high stakes gamble, particularly pertaining to chess, and since none of us were wealthy and the band was a bit of a gamble, the name seemed to fit.”

Though Corey, Dylan, and Genevieve were all raised in the U.S., they were brought up on the traditional music of Ireland, and all belong to musical families. Building on their roots as traditional Irish musicians, their repertoire is also influenced by traditional music of other cultures including France, Scotland, England, and America, some of which can be heard on this release. Several original tunes have also been included on the album including a waltz, ‘The Second Goodnight’, and a jig, ‘The Nickel Plated Shoe’.

Our featured track from the album is a song called ‘Valentine O’Hara’.


The band explained the detailed history to this track. “It's a relatively old song that details the life and journey of Valentine as he enlists in the British army, deserts, and takes to the road as a highwayman. We first came across the song by way of a local Irish radio show where we heard an older recording of the song, and began looking further into it after thinking it was an interesting story and would make a nice addition to our repertoire. Another interesting bit is that there's also a English version of the song called 'Alan Tyne of Harrow', so somewhere along the line, oral tradition facilitated the creation of an almost identical song, with minor changes that allowed it to better fit the culture.”

"Building on their roots as traditional Irish musicians, their repertoire is also influenced by traditional music of other cultures including France, Scotland, England, and America."

This track, like the album captures the intent of the trio when they set out to record. They wanted to capture their live sound which Corey explains further: “We didn't want to do a studio recording with excessive multitracking and orchestral fills, as we needed something to use as a demo so people could really get a sense of what we sound like live. With that concept as our guide, we recorded our tracks simultaneously in separate booths to accomplish the 'live feel', while still retaining the isolation necessary to mix the instruments independently.

This is their second album and follows on from their 2015 debut ‘High Notes & Anecdotes.’ They are already in the planning stages for a third album that may be released in 2018 making this a very productive few years for the band.

“We've been on a bit of a gigging hiatus over 2017 and have been focusing on writing and arranging some new material, but plan to pick things back up in 2018. We're hoping to schedule a bit of traveling around the U.S., and definitely head back to England and Ireland for not only gigs, but to share some tunes with friends as well.”

Kind Providence is available to purchase from their website or from CDBaby

The album can also available as a free download for Radio Broadcasters from our Download Centre here on Tradconnect, so contact us if you are not already part of this resource.


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Comment by Trevor Oxborrow on January 3, 2018 at 0:45

Downloaded for airplay on Argyll FM. Love the sound!

Comment by Dhomhnaill A. Lopez on October 14, 2017 at 13:54

This is indeed an exciting group. I have personally had the fortune of knowing members of this group while I lived in Pennsylvania. I met Corey at my very first seisiun attended in Bethlehem, and Genevieve when I worked at DeSales University. They each have a highly energetic commitment to Traditional Irish Music. Suffice it to say that their talent and friendly encouragement was reason enough for me to enhance my own love for Trad music. With the addition of Dylan, this is a dynamic group. I've listened to postings on YouTube and on their website, and love what I hear. I highly recommend that everyone give a listen and support to this group of talented musicians. I'm sure you'll find it contagious. Cheers,


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