From Albany to Utah: The Waifs’ Vikki Thorn on her debut solo tour
After 25 years in The Waifs and a five-year stint in Utah, Vikki Thorn is stepping out solo.
With eight albums and four ARIAs under their belt, Albany trio The Waifs are a stalwart fixture in Australia’s music scene. This March will see frontwoman Vikki Thorn flying solo on a 17-date national tour, supported by Heath Cullen and long-time The Waifs bassist Ben Franz, a daunting feat that she’s anticipating with a mix of excitement and nerves.
“I realised what a huge thing The Waifs is and how tied I am to that format. But I’m really excited; it’s just something totally new and different and I get to call the shots.”
A change in scenery
The idea for her debut solo tour was largely influenced by the last five years Vikki has spent amongst the awe-inspiring canyons of Utah with her husband and son. Unsurprisingly, this drastic change in scenery triggered a burst of creativity in her songwriting.
“I felt like that was coming from something that was completely new in my life and as a development of me - becoming a mother and living in this crazy Western town. I felt like I needed an avenue.”
What to expect from her tour
Whilst most singers embark on national tours following the release of a new record, Vikki has done the opposite; her upcoming tour will see her ‘road test’ new material before finishing her album later this year. Not that she didn’t give creating an album first a go; Vikki began recording new material in the United States, before realising something wasn’t quite right.
“It was with players I’d never met before and I thought ‘No, I feel like I’ve got to workshop these songs.’ If I’m only going to do one album in my life, I really want to get it right. And so this is about presenting something in a live format, road testing songs with a bunch of musicians that I love and respect.”
Expect her signature country blues with some old R&B influences; Vikki is particularly drawn to the rawness of Nina Simone and Etta James. Experimenting with their style and mixing things up with a couple of R&B songs, Vikki plans on sharing a sample of these creations on her upcoming tour.
“It comes out a little bit in The Waifs, but I don’t fully indulge in that. I think I have that sensibility in terms of where I push my voice and being pretty exposed when I sing as a person.”
Even after 25 years spent touring the world, Vikki’s affinity for regional Australia and her home state of WA are yet to dwindle. Take for example, The Waifs’ recent 25th Anniversary tour last November; rather than taking the capital city route, the Albany locals took the road less travelled through 12 regional towns, from Caloundra to Castlemaine.
This time around, Vikki’s solo tour will kick off in Canberra on 6 March before snaking its way through regional New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, ending with a whopping five-show run in her beloved home state of WA. As for the venue she’s most looking forward to?
“I’m not just saying this, but the WA run - doing Dunsborough, doing the more pub-y gigs in WA - really sounds like a lot of fun. We do these big outdoor shows but I have a lot of fond memories of those Sunday sessions and pub gigs down south.”
Support one of WA’s greatest musical exports and grab some tickets to one of Vikki Thorn’s WA shows.
Wednesday 21 March - Fly By Night, Fremantle
Thursday 22 March - Clancy’s Fish Pub, Dunsborough
Friday 23 March - The River Hotel, Margaret River
Saturday 24 March - Nannup Town Hall, Nannup
Sunday 25 March - Albany Entertainment Centre, Albany