Based in Lincolnshire, Winter Wilson are Kip Winter and songwriter Dave Wilson who, as well as sharing vocal duties, variously play guitars, accordion, flute, banjo, mandolin and percussion on Ashes and Dust, their seventh album. Stalwarts of their local scene as well as regular visitors around the country’s folk circuit which as seen them attract a growing fan base and catching the attention of Folk Radio UK a few years ago who invited them to perform a session which you can listen to here).
They are, as opening number Weary Traveller, the accordion-led shantyish I’d Rather Be Ashes Than Dust (inspired by the words and life of Jack London) and the simple Hark The Blackbird’s Singing with it’s a capella intro, indicate, rooted in traditional folk, but not exclusively so. Shades of Americana colour the musical palette on the Appalachian tones of the banjo picked war/religion themed Merciful Father while Doreen and Joe (a poignant tale of tenement life dreams pivoted around a pregnancy tester) owes a clear country debt to Lefty Frizell’s Saginaw, Michigan.
Elsewhere Celtic hues inform the likes of the jaunty cascading chords of The Healing Time on which Winter takes lead and Wilson’s Don’t Try To Give Me Something I Don’t Need is fingerpicked acoustic ragtime blues in the manner of coffee shop folk troubadours of the 60s like Tom Paxton (the spare, banjo backed Austerity echoes the era’s protest tradition), while Gallows Hill, based on both an area in Winter’s home town of Stornoway and her mom’s old scarf, and the melancholic duet Is It True His Eyes Are Like Mine? (inspired by reading Martin Sexsmith’s ‘Philomena’), a tale of a mother searching for the son she had to give away, recall the best of Gregson & Collister.
Their superbly crafted musicianship and heartfelt songs and performance are the bedrock which this country’s folk circuit rests and both it and the world would be a poorer place without them.
Review by: Mike Davies
Ashes & Dust is Out Now
Order it here: www.winterwilson.com
Photo Credit: G Whitmore