Corey Purcell is an award winning Irish step-dancer and musician,
currently residing in Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA.
Corey started Irish step-dancing classes at the age of 4, and very much at the insistence of his mother. Advancing rapidly through the ranks of the competitive Irish dancing scene, Corey soon found himself on the National, then World stage of competition. After competing for 14 years, and discovering that he preferred his own artistic and rhythmic approach to the strict form required by the judges, Corey transitioned from competitions to stage productions and performance. He has danced with several notable bands including the esteemed Irish group Danú.
Raised in a musical family, it wasn't surprising that Corey was a natural percussionist and displayed an innate rhythmic understanding from an early age. Though he started on the bodhran as a child, it wasn't until he reached his teens that he started giving the drum more focused attention, and began pursuing a more modern stylistic approach to the instrument.
Corey's first two-row accordion was a B/C Hohner Black Dot that he bought himself as a 16th birthday present. After learning some tunes on his own, he was fortunate enough to win a scholarship to a traditional Irish music gathering in the Catskills (NY), where he lucked into some one on one lessons with 7 time All Ireland Champion John Whelan. Corey continued the lessons for several months, improving his technique and honing his style under John's tutelage.
Corey is self taught on the cittern, and bought his first stringed instrument from an ad for a 2nd hand Davy Stuart ZX10 on thesession.org. The 10-string instrument arrived in a flimsy guitar case packed inside of a cardboard box, but it weathered the trip in one piece. Though he now owns several exquisite bouzouki/cittern family instruments (including a custom Joe Foley 8-string and a 10-string Sobell), Corey still uses the ZX10 as his primary instrument for performances.
"Shortly after the pandemic hit in 2020, I decided to buy some basic recording equipment in hopes of trying my hand at recording the band (Poor Man's Gambit). I experimented with the gear for a few months, and in June of 2021 went to a friend's cabin in the remote forests of Pennsylvania for 5 days, where I recorded the majority of what became my latest solo release: ‘Undaunted’.
Essentially a collection of songs and tunes that I'd been waiting to record for years, this project offered me a creative outlet when my career as a musician looked quite bleak. As my first real recording project, there were plenty of mistakes, and I had to redo plenty of takes due to errors of inexperience. I also recall having to shut off the breaker that fed the refrigerator before every take, as the humming was making it onto some of the tracks.
As much as I was enjoying the multi-tracking process as a multi-instrumentalist, I also had a strong desire to collaborate with other musicians. I asked a variety of players (including friends, my brother, my fiancé, and my future father-in-law), and was impressed by not only how willing everyone was to participate, but how much effort they all put in to their arrangements and recordings.
‘Undaunted’ was released on June 1st, 2023, and debuted at #11 on the international folk charts. I was also the #12 artist, and my title track was #13. I was blown away. My name was up there with the likes of Stan Rogers, Karan Casey, Dom Flemons, John McCutcheon, John Prine, Tim O'Brien, Gordon Lightfoot, etc. To date, it is the recording project of which I am the most proud, and I am very thankful to everyone who was involved for their participation and support." -Corey Purcell
Poor Man's Gambit
Poor Man's Gambit was formed in 2015 and hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. The trio has released 3 albums, completed numerous regional, national, and international tours, and has been noted as an increasingly popular Irish-American group.
Featuring Corey Purcell (button accordion, cittern, bodhran, vocals, and dance), Deirdre Lockman (fiddle and vocals), and Joseph Carmichael (guitar, whistle, flute, and vocals), PMG brings together three diverse musical backgrounds which complement the other’s musical styles both on stage and in the studio. With two multi-instrumentalists in the line-up, PMG has been noted for their ability to change instrumentation many times over the space of a performance, and offer several levels of musical depth to listening ears. The addition of Corey’s flashy footwork on the occasional reel adds an extra punch of energy to their shows.
The trio’s latest album ‘Land of Sunshine’ showcases a carefully selected offering of spirited tunes balanced with an equal number of expressively performed songs. Most of the repertoire is rooted in Irish traditions, but some pulls from other provincial influences including England, Brittany, and Scotland, in addition to several original compositions also included in the collection.
Learn more about Poor Man's Gambit, and any upcoming shows at poormansgambit.com
The Free Reeds
This unique configuration of two accordions came into existence when Corey and Rob Curto met while working at Liberty Bellows, the one-stop accordion shop in Philadelphia. Coming from completely different musical backgrounds, they began experimenting with repertoire from diverse genres and discovered that the combination of their distinct styles was worth pursuing. The Free Reeds repertoire features a lot of original compositions by both Corey and Rob, in addition to traditional music of many countries including Ireland, France, and Sweden.
Learn more here - www.thefreereeds.com
Ever wonder what that thumping is that you hear at Corey's shows?
Wonder no more, it's a ToeKicker stomp box by KOPF Percussion!
Corey is a KOPF sponsored artist, and uses a ToeKicker at most shows on his own and with Poor Man's Gambit.
You can pick one up yourself here: https://www.kopfpercussion.com/acoustic-stompbox/