Music Q&A:
Winter Wilson

The folk duo – Kip and Dave Wilson – are heading out on tour with Fairport Convention, visiting The Atkinson, Southport, 29 Jan, and hitting venues all over the north

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What informs your music and songwriting?
A story, a sentence, a newspaper article – so many things. It’s mostly the ordinary, everyday things, people battling on against the odds. Dave tends to write a lot of story songs, which nearly always are fact based. One chap paid us a lovely compliment when he came up at the end of a gig and said: “I love your songs. You sing about local heroes.”

Ghost, from the new album Far Off on the Horizon, was actually written after Dave read a Big Issue article about how some people had slipped through the net following changes to housing benefit. There’s a lot of people walking a tightrope and it only takes the slightest breeze to upset everything. Then again, in Australia we were told of the Freo Doctor – a cool breeze that blows up the Western Australia coast around lunchtime on really hot days and is said to calm folks down. So that’s on the album too.

How have you evolved as a band over the years?
The fact that we play so many gigs has sharpened us up as a live act and we are both very much at home in front of an audience. Many of our songs are quite serious and can be hard hitting so we make sure we have a good laugh in between. It may be folk music but it’s still entertainment. We’ve also added in a couple of instruments. It used to be just Dave on guitar, both of us singing and Kip occasionally playing the flute. Nowadays Kip plays more accordion and a wee bit of guitar, so Dave can indulge his love of the banjo.

Having performed and recorded part time for 15 years before redundancy gave us the shove in the back we needed to go full time. We have built up a large back catalogue of songs. This gives us the opportunity to swap and change set lists regularly which keeps things fresh for our audience and ourselves.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?

We’re mainly in training for the Fairport Convention tour. The new album is officially released on 25 January and there’s quite a few songs on there that we’ve never played live yet, so we’re working them up.

What’s on your rider?
A rider? We’re just happy if we get an audience. Usually it’s just a shower and a bed for the night, or somewhere to park Tallullah, our camper van.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.

We were playing a festival in Australia last year and had arrived after a long drive a short while before our first set. It was very, very hot, we didn’t get chance to eat and towards the end of the set Dave began to feel ill. His head was spinning and he thought he was going to keel over. He cut the last song short and staggered off – the song was called Still Life in the Old Dog Yet.

Alternatively, many years ago we were on stage at a festival and Dave’s mind went walkabout mid-song. He stopped and then said (into the microphone): “Have I already sung this verse?” Kip thought for a moment, then replied (also into the mic): “I don’t know. I wasn’t listening.”

What song do you wish you’d written?

Fairytale of New York. A brilliant, brilliant song that I never tire of, and think of the PRS payout just after Christmas when it’ll come in handy.

What’s your worst lyric?

In a song called Maybe Tonight there’s the line “Maybe’s just maybe; it’s of no consequence, but it’s a place where we all go.” I cringe whenever I hear it, but a fellow musician friend thinks it’s one of the best things I’ve ever written. I tend to think that other people are better judges than I am.

See the full tour dates at

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Interact: Responses to Music Q&A: Winter Wilson

  • Who knows where the time went…………. The Fairport Convention Wintour 2018 | winter wilson
    10 Mar 2018 09:18
    […] features in a wide range of music mags and online sites as diverse as The Daily Telegraph and The Big Issue and is by far the best-selling album we’ve released to […]

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