The reviews have been far better than we could have hoped for. Here's a small selection.
If you need evidence of just how special the duo Winter Wilson is, then Live & Unconventional delivers in abundance.
Invited to open for Fairport Convention on their winter tour, 2018, they took the opportunity to capture themselves live in front of an audience. And from track one, the poignant heartbreak tale 'Far Off on the Horizon', they clearly have those attending in the palm of a very capable hand. And by the time they get to 'Storm Around Tumbledown', David Wilson's superb anti-war composition made 'famous' by the late Vin Garbutt's version, they're fully in their stride and sounding relaxed, confident and perfectly at ease.
The live recording quality is exceptional, combining the direct edginess of the live experience and the warmth of a studio recording on sterling songs 'Orange Trees and Dusty Roads', which awakens the ghost of Steinbeck's Tom Joad, and the acoustic blues of 'Find Myself a lover' which brings to mind 'Gregson & Collister at their prime.
Joined by Fairport on the bands bittersweet 'Still Life in the Old Yet', which brings to mind Shane MacGowan's 'Rainy Night in Soho', and on a cover of Sandy Denny's 'It'll Take a Long Time', they save the most chillinglt powerful moment to the last with their stunning condemnation of World War 1, 'Common Form'
"Kip Winter and Dave Wilson seem to have led something of a charmed life since taking the life-changing decision to become professional musicians seven years ago. Then, just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, they were invited to appear as special guests on Fairport Convention’s 2018 Winter Tour. The title track from their latest studio album Far Off On The Horizon opens that tour’s live set captured on this CD, which delivers a glorious parade of 15 songs and just enough of the between-song presence to show how persuasive a live draw the couple are, with their confidence and rapport, their vocal and instrumental proficiency, all talents modestly deployed to maximum effect.
Dave’s songs derive their inspiration from events, literature and politics, but never do they get heavy or preachy. Melodies are accessible and the instrumental backdrops subtle (just guitar/s or banjo with piano accordion), but these elements sit perfectly with the often-hard-hitting lyrics, and the duo’s voices in harmony prove the icing on the cake. As well as thought-provoking and poignant, Winter Wilson can also do feisty and crowd-pleasing, as Kip’s bluesy wannabee-Bonnie-Raitt numbers demonstrate (the second of these brings on Ric Sanders and his fiddle). There simply isn’t a weak song in their already-extensive catalogue, and this live collection only makes you shout for more. The final pair of tracks on this CD was recorded as-live at the sound check, and follow the set’s final stages where the duo was joined by the whole Fairport band for Still Life In The Old Dog Yet and an honourable cover of Sandy Denny’s It’ll Take A Long Time.
This is a brilliant, exceptionally well-recorded live album that really does convince that Kip and Dave are well and truly at the top of their game and worthy of the prestigious Fairport endorsement many times over".
As the title suggests, this, the ninth album released by Kip Winter and Dave Wilson, was recorded live when they supported Fairport Convention on their winter tour of 2018. Sandy Denny's "It'll Take a Long Time" is the only track from the fifteen on the album that is not from the pen of Dave. Not surprisingly, Fairport join them on stage for this classic song.
There is no doubt Dave is one of the best songwriters we have in the UK at present. He covers a range of topics, including austerity, redundancy and mine closure in the Thatcher era. However it's not all about politics, as he writes songs inspired by the books he has read, like the Grapes of Wrath, and the people he has met or read about. Although other artistes have covered Dave's songs, it's surprising that more have not done so given the quality of his lyric writing. The late great Vin Garbutt covered the excellent "Storm Around Tumbledown" which tells the tragedy of the loss of life in the Falklands war. It's not all folk either; Kip tells us she wanted to be Bonnie Raitt, so there are some blues numbers, my favorite being "Find Myself a Lover" which features some amazing jazz-inspired fiddle by Ric Sanders.
As always, Dave plays well on the banjo and guitar and Kip adds accordion and sings beautifully. The chat between the songs is just about the right length. A five-minute amusing story on a live album is fine the first time round, but can annoy by the tenth time that you listen to the album!
If you don't have any Winter Wilson albums in your collection, this would be a pretty good place to start. If you have some already, then you'll certainly want this one. Released in August.
"The joke, you see, is that Kip Winter and Dave Wilson recorded Live & Unconventional on the road with Fairport Convention during their 2018 winter tour. In fact, the first voice we hear is that of Ric Sanders doing compere duty and the rest of the chaps appear later. There are several things that struck me immediately. The first is that you have to be good to be a Fairport support on a long tour and the audience certainly got behind them. (I’ll ignore that story that I believe I got from a Fairporter that the best way to record a live album is to do it in the studio and then dub on the applause from a Deep Purple gig. There isn’t a word of truth in it!) The other thing that stands out is the quality of the recording. Two voices and a selection of two instruments from guitar, banjo and piano accordion make a big sound and Winter Wilson squeeze fifteen long tracks onto the album with just enough chat to keep us in the loop.
They open quietly with the title track of their most recent studio album. ‘Far Off On The Horizon’ was inspired by a sleepless night and is an example of Dave’s ability to take almost nothing and turn it into a superb song. The crowd-pleaser, ‘Tried And Tested’, turns up the volume but then we get to the meat of the set. History and literature are absolutely on trend for a Fairport audience and Dave and Kip run through the Falklands war, Jack London, John Steinbeck and emigration to Canada. Politics come in to the equation, firstly with ‘Ghost’, which I still think is one of Dave’s absolute best songs – but I also think that about ‘I Wish I Could Turn Back Time’ which follows it.
Fairport Convention take the stage to accompany them on ‘Still Life In The Old Dog Yet’ – Kip couldn’t understand why they chose to play on that one – and Sandy Denny’s ‘It’ll Take A Long Time’. In real life Winter Wilson’s set ended here, but they give us two more tracks to go home with. ‘This Day Is Mine’ is an idler’s charter but ‘Common Form’ returns to war and history and we remember that they really do have something to say.
From the first notes Kip and Dave exude confidence and I realised how well the songs I’ve only heard as studio recordings have developed in the live set. If Live & Unconventional doesn’t promote Winter Wilson up to the next division there is no justice".
Dai JeffriesLive & Unconventional.
What the press said about Far Off on the Horizon
"Another fine album of original songs...Ghost...should be heard in every folk club in the country." **** (4 stars) Dai Jeffries, R&R Magazine.
"Kip Winter and Dave Wilson have made it to the next level....the duo's eighth album is the latest collection of songs from Dave's outstandingly prolific pen, rendered in the trademark fully accomplished, harmonious and heartfelt Winter Wilson styling." David Kidman, fROOTS Magazine
"Wilson's songs pull no punches when relating to the sights and sounds of everyday local life, and are complimented by Kip's powerful and emotional voice." The Telegraph
"calmly and confidently insinuates its way into the “it’s a keeper!” section of the CD collection, song by well-crafted song." Su O'Brien Folking.com
"Poetry as good as Mr Cohen gave us" Album of the month on TME.FM Radio
"Well-balanced, strong songs delivered with care, and by people that are passionate about their craft. Lovely." Grem Devlin, The Living Tradition Magazine
"high quality material and with as little pomp and fuss as is necessary" Allan Wilkinson, Northern Sky Magazine
"This is a gorgeous, immersive and delicate album" The Rock Club
"Two musicians in perfect synch doing what they do so well", crafting what is sure to prove one of this year's finest albums" Mike Davies, Folk Radio UK
"The hardest punch comes from within the velvet glove and "Far Off On The Horizon" the new album from Winter Wilson is a very fine velvet glove indeed" Neil King Fatea Magazine
"Skilfully written and highly varied.....Winter Wilson are both expert musicians and strong singers." **** (4 stars) Trevor Hodgett, Maverick Magazine.What the press said about Far Off on the Horizon
Winter Wilson, a duo who are currently on a mammoth tour with folk royalty Fairport Convention have a stunning new album ‘Far Off On The Horizon’ which has garnered acclaim from the likes of The Telegraph, Acoustic Magazine and FRoots.
They’ve just now unveiled a new video from it for ‘Ghost’, a poignant track which deals with tough childhood memories and disappearing into a modern world, their traditional sound in contrast.The duo comprised of couple Kip & Dave Wilson turned redundancy into a fulltime music career five years ago, overcoming the odds.
We first featured Winter Wilson just over a month ago and have no hesitation in adding the new music video for 'Ghost' on Beehive Candy. The duo are approaching the end of a tour with Fairport Convention & I am sure a good number of new fans have been established, check out the video & let their gorgeous music sooth your day.
Beehive Candy review the Ghost video
The David Hall, South Petherton, 14 April 2018
A most enjoyable evening's entertainment from one of the folk world's busiest and most entertaining duos, and the pleasure was enhanced by the David Hall's amazing acoustics. Kip Winter's outstanding vocal talents and Dave Wilson's stunning abilities as a songwriter, composer, guitarist and singer welded seamlessly to produce a most memorable evening that obviously pleased the very varied audience that the venue enjoys.
The partners in any duo need to have a complete empathy with each other, and these two have it in spades, in addition to a practised and very professional stage manner - getting an audience 'on you side' is always a good thing - and their combination of relaxed comments and Kip''s (often corny) folk club-type jokes certainly worked with the audience. In fact, the deceptively lightweight intros may have left them unprepared for the high quality of what was to come.
I lost count of the number of songs fired at us in the first half, and spent the interval trying to assimilate the immense variety of what I'd just heard. Dave is, quite simply, an extremely talented songwriter who quarries his material from the full gamut of the human condition and experience and then presents it in songs that speak simply and directly to the listener; they may appear as folk songs, as blues or in Bonnie Raitt style (which suits Kip particularly). And his tunes work with the words, avoiding the predictability of may contemporary composers. Add in the fine harmonies and thir musicianship, and you have the makings of a memorable night. Which makes you listen!
The second half was no less enjoyable, and I was left with a load of songs and stories running round my mind, for various reasons, as I went home: the unpredictable air of The Handsome Farmer Lad; the strength of phrases like "with the click of a mouse I'll disappear, from a girl to a ghost at eighteen years"; and a great bluesy song, The Tried, The Tested And The True, among many others.
An excellent evening from both performers; the lasting impression for me was that I had witnessed a tour de force display of outstanding songwriting - by any standards. Their current tour will be almost over by the time this appears in print, but I picked up a copy of the CD they're promoting this time around, Far Off On The Horizon, and would suggest that, if you can't get to a gig then get the CD.Live review from John Waltham in The Living Tradition magazine
Four Stars from Maverick Magazine
More thought provoking folk from Kip and Dave.
Kip Winter and Dave Wilson have been together for more years than they care to remember and are in great demand on the folk circuit. Dave Wilson is now recognised as being in the premier league of UK songwriters and he's penned all thirteen tracks on this latest offering ASHES & DUST, a fine follow up to the critically acclaimed CUTTING FREE. Kip Winter simply has a voice to die for but both are extremely proficient musicians. On this album, vocals are shared with Dave playing guitars, banjo, mandolin and ukulele whilst Kip chips in on accordion and flute.
I found the album really enjoyable especially when the duo veered slightly from mainstream folk. Don't Give Me Something I Don't Need for example is classic blues and The Healing Time has a distinct country feel. Doreen and Joe stood out, a poignant tale of a couple living in a two-bed tenement but longing for a child. 'All of her dreams on the kitchen table' is a great line and sums up the story perfectly. I'd Rather Be Ashes Than Dust pays homage to author, adventurer and environmentalist Jack London,; another great song. Kip and Dave tour extensively and if you love folk music, it would be worth catching up with them when they inevitably play somewhere near you.
"Glorious Harmony" - Fatea Magazine
Winter Wilson, Kip Winter & Dave Wilson if you want to get a bit more familiar, are commonly described as a folk duo and it's true they are, but in a strange juxtaposition they take both the broad spectrum analysis and the narrow band.
Broad spectrum because whist the genre they play is folk, they take a fast and loose attitude to it that allows them to define it rather than it define them. Whilst you can pick up hints of the tradition, you can feel as much contemporary input in their sound, all aided and abetted by a multi instrumental approach and vocal duties that sees each of them appearing separately and in glorious harmony.
Narrow band, because they are sharp, observational and reaching into the heart of a song with such focus, regardless of it being one of their more political or personal numbers, you know that Winter Wilson will get you into the core of the song.
One of the reasons for that is that Dave Wilson is such a good songwriter, as well as being a prolific one, having penned pretty much the whole of their seven album repertoire, but as you know, the writing of the song is only half the story with delivery making up the other half and hear Winter Wilson deliver the rich harvest.
"Ashes And Dust" is not an album that pulls no punches, the title of the album and the track it's derived from is based on the Jack London quote about being burnt out by a lifestyle and the question of that being better or worse than going quietly to your grave.
The songs are mainly contemporary and even where a title makes you think you are going to go down a more traditional path, you find yourself in something more recent and more personal.
Winter Wilson have a touch of the prolific about them, but when prolific's this good, more please.
Fatea MagazineNeil King
Winter Wilson - Ashes and Dust
Star rating: 4
Kip Winter and Dave Wilson are the kind of musicians who you bump into at a festival, where they often break out their instruments, usually accordion and guitar, and give you a song. There's no hiding in backstage area dressing rooms basking in the ethereal glow of stardom, fiercely protecting their privacy and, in effect, separating themselves from their audience, yet they are just as good as any of those who the above so often describes. Dave Wilson's songs are intelligent, melodic, often thought-provoking and most importantly highly listenable. Colour those lyrics and melodies with Kip Winter's convincing voice and the duo's rich harmonies and you're always on to a winner. ASHES AND DUST, the title lifted from one of the key songs I'd Rather Be Ashes Than Dust, a line borrowed in turn from the author Jack London, is the duo's latest release and contains just over a dozen original songs. Weary Traveller opens the set with a fine vocal performance from Dave, augmented by some fine finger-style guitar picking, urging the listener to take the weight off. If the opening song stylistically recalls the Kicking Mule records of the 1970s, Doreen and Joe is pure Winter Wilson, a simple tale of a couple's longing for a child, beautifully rendered and with a happy ending to boot. Isn't it encouraging to have a happy ending in this day and age? Dave Wilson makes the art of songwriting look easy; by his own admission, To Hell With Monday Morning was written in the time it takes Kip to get ready to go out. Mind you, we're not sure exactly how long it actually takes Kip to get ready! Produced by Dave Wilson, with Alistair Russell helping with the mixing and mastering, ASHES AND DUST is one of those albums you will listen to over and again.
"Always seriously good performers........their vocal harmonies just ooze certainty"Dai Woosnam, Living Tradition
"In 30 years of listening to folk music, I have never heard two voices blend so perfectly"David Aird, Chairman Glenfarg Folk Club
"Your writing is magnificent, your settings and playing equal to that and the both of you sing with a rare assured passion that I oft think has gone. It's a rare gift you have - cherish it mightily."John Tams, (Warhorse, National Theatre)