The Waifs


The Waifs

Infobox musical artist
Name = The Waifs


Img_capt = The Waifs performing on May 22, 2007 in Perth, Western Australia.
Img_size =
Landscape = yes
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Western Australia
Genre = Folk rock
Australian music
Years_active = 1992–present
Label = Jarrah Records (Australia)
Compass Records (U.S.)
Hummingbird Records (Ireland)
Associated_acts = John Butler Trio
URL = [http://www.thewaifs.com/ thewaifs.com]
Current_members = Josh Cunningham
Donna Simpson
Vikki Thorn
Other_members = Ben Franz
David Ross MacDonald
Past_members =

The Waifs are a folk rock band from Western Australia. The original members of The Waifs are Josh Cunningham (guitar, vocals), and sisters Vikki Thorn (harmonica, guitar, vocals) and Donna Simpson (guitar, vocals). Their current tour band also incudes Ben Franz (bass) and David Ross MacDonald (drums).

Their 2003 album "Up All Night" reached double platinum in Australia and reached the top 5 of the Australian album charts, and the band won four ARIA Awards in October 2003. [cite web|url=http://www.thewaifs.com/discography.php?alb=3|title=The Waifs Discography - Up All Night|year=2007|accessdate=2008-04-28] The Waifs have enjoyed two top fifty singles in Australia, the "London Still EP" in 2002 and "Bridal Train EP" in 2004. The band so impressed Bob Dylan when they supported him on his 2003 Australian tour [cite web|url=http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22368742-2902,00.html|title=The Herald Sun: Waifs savour the Dylan moment|year=2007|accessdate=2008-04-28] that he asked them to join him in his 2003 North American tour, including a gig at the Newport Folk Festival [cite web|url=http://www.bobdylan.com/moderntimes/etc/wilentz_newport.html|title=BobDylan.com: The Roving Gambler at Scenic Newport|year=2007|accessdate=2008-04-28]

The Waifs own Jarrah Records, an independent label with John Butler of The John Butler Trio, and their records are released in Australia under that label. [cite web|url=http://www.jarrahrecords.com/|title=Jarrah Records Webpage|year=2004|accessdate=2008-04-28]

History

1992-1996: Fisherman's Daughters (The Early Years)

The Waifs formed in 1992. Donna Simpson and Vikki Simpson (now Vikki Thorn), sisters from Albany were touring as a duo called Colours. They met up with Josh Cunningham while playing in Broome. The band changed its name to the Waifs a year later and commenced touring extensively in Australia. [cite web|url=http://www.cmt.com/artists/az/waifs/bio.jhtml|title=Country Music Television - Waifs Biography|year=2008|accessdate=2008-04-28]

1996-2000: First album releases

In 1996, the band recorded their first self-titled album "The Waifs" with Jen Anderson and Mick Thomas of folk rock band Weddings Parties Anything and commenced a year long tour. The second album "Shelter Me" was recorded in Adelaide and was supported by another tour.

The band released its third album "Sink or Swim" in 2000 and started to play at folk festivals in Canada and the US. In 2001, the band made its first appearance at the Newport Folk Festival; the Newport Daily News acclaiming them as "the darlings of [that] year's festival". The growing international reputation of the band led to the release of "Sink or Swim" in the United States in 2002.

2000-2007: Chart success and "Up All Night"

The success of the "London Still" EP sparked the success of the fourth Waifs album "Up All Night" in Australia. Released in January 2003, it debuted in the Australian charts at number 3. The album was certified gold 4 weeks after release, went platinum in October 2003 and double platinum in February 2004. The "Lighthouse EP" was released in April 2003 as a second single.

Vikki Simpson told the "Sydney Morning Herald" on October 1, 2003 that the success of the album had taken the band by surprise. "We were nonchalant about releasing albums. We'd released three already and had learned not to put too much hope behind an album because you're usually disappointed. So it was a surprise, but we took it in our stride. It was all very exciting but it didn't seem real to us because it was such a new experience."

The band supported Bob Dylan on his Australian tour in March 2003. Dylan was so impressed by the band that he offered them the support slot on his tour of North America in 2003. This was a great thrill for the group as the band started off playing Bob Dylan tunes before they started writing their own songs. In 2003, the band also participated in Big Day Out, an Australian traveling music festival.

The Waifs won ARIA Awards for Best Roots and Blues Album and Best Independent Album in the 2003 awards. In addition, they won the awards for Best Produced Album and Best Engineered Album. Chris Thompson was the Producer and Engineer for "Up All Night", as well as singles "London Still", "Bridal Train" and the live double album "A Brief History...". [cite web|url=http://www.smh.com.au/news/gig-reviews/the-waifs/2007/10/05/1191091320389.html|title=Sydney Morning Herald - The Waifs|year=2007|accessdate=2008-04-28]

The "Bridal Train EP" was released in March 2004 and made the Australian Top 50 singles charts in April 2004. The title track tells the story of Vikki and Donna Simpson's grandmother, a war-bride of a sailor in the US Navy. She boarded the so-called "Bridal Train" between Perth, Western Australia, and Sydney to travel to San Francisco to meet up again with her husband. The Waifs finally released a highly awaited double live album in November 2004 which debuted in the top 30 of the Australia album charts. Vikki Simpson gave birth to a baby boy, Noah, on Saturday June 19, 2004.

After the Asian Boxing Day Tsunami, The Waifs joined a cast of Australian artists to perform at the WaveAid concert in Sydney to help raise funds for the relief effort. [cite web|url=http://www.waveaid.com.au/about.html|title=Waveaid - The Tsunami relief concert|year=2005|accessdate=2008-04-28]

2007: "Sun, Dirt, Water"

In 2005 The Waifs continued with their well earned rest and commenting on a new album said "We won't be going into the studio any time soon. Our collective focus is too outside of music and career right now to put out an album."

The Waifs also announced via their MySpace that "there are some things in thepipeline. First of all a new record to be recorded sometime in the new year." On February 8, 2007, the Waifs issued a press release on their website with information about the new album:

In May 2007, Donna Simpson announced that the title of the band's newest album would be Sun Dirt Water. The album was released on September 1, 2007 in Australia. The album debuted and peaked at #2 on the ARIA Album Chart in September 2007.

The Waifs performed across Australia in the spring of 2007 on the "SunDirtWater" tour to many sold out venues. The tour started on September 19 in Broome, and ended on October 26 at Legs 11, a concert for breast cancer research. In November, 2007, The Waifs announced that they would be collaborating with the John Butler Trio in the "Union of Soul Tour" of January, 2008. The short tour had five concerts, with shows taking place in various cities across Western Australia including Denmark, Margaret River, Swan Valley, and two gigs at the Fremantle Arts Centre.

Discography

Awards and nominations

Awards

*2006 USA Songwriting Competition, First Prize in the 'Folk' category, and Overall First Prize for the song "Bridal Train", written by Vikki Thorn.USA Songwriting Competition, [http://www.songwriting.net/winners.html 2006 Results] .]
*2003 ARIA Awards, Best Blues and Roots Album for "Up All Night"cite web|url=http://www.alldownunder.com/oz-p/aria/2003-aria.htm|title=2003 ARIA award winners|year=2007|accessdate=2008-04-28]
*2003 ARIA Awards, Best Independent Release for "Up All Night"
*2003 ARIA Awards, Producer Of The Year for "Up All Night"
*2003 ARIA Awards, Engineer Of The Year for "Up All Night"

Nominations

*2008 WAMi Awards, Most Popular Single/EP for "Sun Dirt Water"
*2005 ARIA Awards, Best Blues and Roots Album for "A Brief History..." [cite web|url=http://www.ariaawards.com.au/content/downloads/ARIA_winners_2005.pdf|title=2005 ARIA award nominees and winners|year=2005|accessdate=2008-04-28|format=PDF]

*2005 ARIA Awards, Best Independent Release for "A Brief History..."
*2004 ARIA Awards, Best Independent Release for "Bridal Train"
*2003 ARIA Awards, Album Of The Year for "Up All Night"
*2003 ARIA Awards, Single Of The Year for "Lighthouse"
*2003 ARIA Awards, Best Group for "Up All Night"
*2003 ARIA Awards, Breakthrough Artist - Album for "Up All Night"
*2002 ARIA Awards, Breakthrough Artist - Single for "London Still"
*2002 ARIA Awards, Best Independent Release for "London Still"

References

External links

* [http://www.thewaifs.com.au/ The Waifs official site]
* [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=Bdek9ikxabb19/ The Waifs All Music Guide page]
* [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/bio.asp?oid=2046517&cf=2046517/ The Waifs Rolling Stone Page]
* [http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/09/30/1064819923316.html Sydney Morning Herald article about US tour with Bob Dylan]
* [http://www.spoonfed.co.uk/spooners/meg-2456/the-waifs-at-shepherd-bush-empire-380/ Spoonfed UK Article about Shepherd Bush Empire Show]


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