When a singer-songwriter records an album of traditional material and other peoples' songs, it can seem like a cop-out, but with Damien Dempsey it's more like a rite of passage. His earlier albums have established him as the greatest Irish singer of his generation, thanks to his stories of contemporary Dublin life and Irish history, blended with sturdy balladry and anything from reggae to hip-hop. He has acquired a devoted young audience in Dublin, and his aim has been to provide them with an alternative to MTV pop and "maybe get them interested in their own history through music".
Though Damien Dempsey's solo records have taken in influences as diverse as reggae, hip-hop, and electronic music, his base inspiration has always been the traditional Irish music upon which he raised. His major idols -- the Pogues, Christy Moore, the Dubliners -- have each placed as much (or more) emphasis upon interpreting existing material as they have creating their own. With that in mind, it's only really surprising that it's taken him this long to attempt an album of standards.