The Beautiful South’s co-founder Dave Hemingway’s new band Sunbirds play in Doncaster

The man who once told us he loved us from the bottom of his pencil case, founder Beautiful South member Dave Hemingway returns with his new band Sunbirds playing The Leopard in Doncaster on Friday, June 17.
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Having retired from the live scene at the back end of 2016, Dave has been keeping busy together with erstwhile South colleague, guitarist/songwriter Phil Barton, new discovery singer/violinist Laura Wilcockson and drummer Marc Parnell.

Their album ‘Cool To Be Kind’ was released in November 2020, on the independent label Nectar Records signalling the arrival of Sunbirds with new songs and a new sound.

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Although born and bred in England, the band's sound predominantly features the instrumentation of traditional American roots music combined with the occasional outburst of guitar heavy melody more associated with Seattle in the late 80's/early 90's.

Band members (from left) Marc Parnell, Laura Wilcockson, Dave Hemingway and Phil BartonBand members (from left) Marc Parnell, Laura Wilcockson, Dave Hemingway and Phil Barton
Band members (from left) Marc Parnell, Laura Wilcockson, Dave Hemingway and Phil Barton

However, you can only sing about what you know.

“Although a lot of the songs have an Americana feel,” says Dave, “they’re still about life in England. You’re going to feel a bit daft singing about pick-up trucks and low down honky-tonks when you live in Yorkshire.”

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Their debut album produced by cult producer Teo Miller, captures truthful, open-hearted, funny and sometimes painfully honest songs, turning the page to a new chapter for Dave Hemingway and The Beautiful South story.

‘Cool To Be Kind’ is the result of a few transitional years in Dave and Phil’s individual personal worlds. It tells tales that cover contemporary themes as well as age-old matters of the heart and soul - all viewed through the bottom of a recently drained pint glass.

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“Now we’re Sunbirds we’re free to dig a little deeper into ourselves,” says Phil, “having said that, there’s no exact science here, we’re just enjoying ourselves and expressing whatever we want whether it’s about love, longing, depression or Gary Lineker’s crisp adverts.”

Sunbirds ‘Cool To Be Kind’ debut album is out now available on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Amazon UK & Music, all HMV stores and via the website - www.sunbirds.co.uk

Doors open 7.30pm on Friday.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.