Winter Wilson announce new album and tour supporting Fairport Convention

Winter Wilson
Photograph by John S Wright

Winter Wilson are preparing to hit the road with the legendary Fairport Convention right now – but they could very easily be on the dole. This is the story of a couple who turned the nightmare of redundancy into a dream of playing music for a living…

“We gave ourselves a year to see how things would turn out,” says singer Kip Winter. “Five years later we’re still getting away with it! It’s not easy, but playing music professionally beats working for a living.”

Kip and partner Dave Wilson were popular part timers on the folk scene and released Winter Wilson albums at their own leisure. But, following the banking crash and global crisis of 2012, things changed for the couple and music became the priority. Since then, critical acclaim has followed their every move and they even made one of the Daily Telegraph’s ‘Top Ten Folk Albums’ of Summer 2014 with the redundancy-inspired Cutting Free.

Now, to coincide with the Fairport Convention tour, the pair release their eighth studio album, Far Off On The Horizon, another fine collection of self-penned songs on subjects as diverse as migration, old age, young love and Australian weather!

The music they make is as sharp in sound as it is observational in message and they always pay strict attention to harmony and tunes. Dave Wilson’s songs pull no punches and are as comfortable in a contemporary box, as they are at home on the floor of a folk club. Indeed, his songs have found their way into the repertoire of many a seasoned floor singer, as well as several other recording artistes.

Now the duo have been hand picked to support musical legends Fairport Convention on the band’s winter tour and are ready to delight new audiences around the country. After all, great songs born in a cottage industry fit very well with the emotional geography of the roads they’re now travelling. “We never did the gap year thing as students, and we knew we had enough money from our redundancy pay-outs to buy a van and get by for a little while, so I’m glad we said ‘sod the daily grind’ and got out there,” says Dave.

“Getting out there” has included releasing more albums, like 2016’s critically-acclaimed Ashes & Dust, and touring them around the world.

So what’s next for Winter Wilson? “Well, there’s twenty eight dates with Fairport Convention,” replied Dave, “then we kick off our own Far Off On The Horizon tour of the UK and Ireland. After that, who knows?”

Judging by the determination of these two moving musicians, we won’t have to wait long to see and hear more.

Artists’ website: www.winterwilson.com

Needless to say there are no videos from the new album yet…but here is ‘Who Will Remember Me?’ – recorded live in Australia earlier this year:

Butlins’ Great British Folk Festival announces first names

Heading into its 7th year! The Great British Folk Festival 2017 promises to be the best yet, with an amazing line up of award-winning folk talent. Book early to get the best choice of accommodation and avoid missing out on this renowned festival which is now a staple in the folk calendar.

Butlins

Festival website: https://www.bigweekends.com

WINTER WILSON – Cutting Free (Self Released)

winter wilsonWell known on the folk circuit, but never having crossed over into the mainstream contemporary acoustic scene, Kip Winter and Dave Wilson have been working together since the 90s, initially as half of folk rock outfit Ragtrade. This is the sixth album, but the first as a full time, professional duo, though it remains very much the sort of thing you’d expect to hear down the local weekly club, complete with encouragement for the audience to join in the choruses. Other than two numbers, all the material’s written by Wilson, generally recognised as one of the finest songwriters on the English acoustic scene. and, although there’s a couple of exceptions, as a rule of thumb, he sings the social comment ones while she looks after the relationships. Save for Wilson taking lead on the a capella ‘Common Form’, with verses by him and Rudyard Kipling’s anti-war poem as its chorus, Winter also handles the traditional styled material with their drawn out vocal notes, bluesy murder ballad ‘Avons Bank’ and ‘The Field Behind Our House’, an a capella remembrance of her mother’s family croft in WW2 written by the late Nick Keir.

Wilson kicks things off with ‘Still Life In The Old Dog Yet’, a defiant tale of redundancy, retraining and trying to get a job after a certain age, one that places him very much in the same tradition as Harvey Andrews. On the other hand, the title track’s ode to shedding your chains and valuing the journey rather than the arrival, calls to mind the likes of Ralph McTell, Vin Garbutt and Duncan Browne.

Sticking to the social commentary, Wilson takes the lead on ‘A Door That Never Opens’, a poignant portrait of weekend fathers that could well serve as an anthem for Fathers4Justice, and the simple guitar and vocal ‘Cold Blow December Winds’, which counts the cost of having to work away from home in an attempt to make a living, while Winter steps up to the microphone for the fairly self-explanatory ‘I’ve Got The Consultation Bullshit Blues’, a ragtime lament for that endangered species, the public sector worker.

Her keen and slightly tremulous voice is well suited to squeezing the emotion out of the album’s melancholic snapshots of bruised relationships, the close harmony self-admonitory ‘We Still Get Along’ and the heart-aching weariness of ‘What Does It Take To Face The Morning?’. Mind you, Wilson does a pretty good job of wistful reflection too on the if only love story of the open tuned acoustic ‘It Was Never In My Hands’.

Not everything fits neatly into the pigeonholes I might have suggested. Written and played on banjo, ‘Been A Long Day’ is Wilson’s lovely backwoods-coloured, almost gospel tinged, reflection on the miles travelled as the path nears its end while Winter is upfront for ‘I’ll Not Sing Auld Lang Syne’, a jangly guitar strummed, shantyish account of the wreck of HMS Iolaire, 20 yards from shore, in 1919, with the loss of 205 lives, and the infectious guitar picking, country-blues ‘I Got A One-Way Ticket (But A Return State Of Mind)’ that also sees her strap on her accordion for a quick burst of Cajun swing.

Whether the decision to finally turn professional pays off commercially remains to be seen, but this album should present neither them nor you with any cause for regret.

Mike Davies

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Artists, website: www.winterwilson.com