When you’re missing a member of your family who is on the other side of the world, there are a few ways to catch up – some pick up a phone, some jump on a plane and some form their own band and tour Australia. The Simpson sisters, Vikki and Donna, have been missing each other since The Waifs took a break a few years ago, but now they are heading back to Australia as the Stray Sisters.
“About six months ago I kind of came to the point where I was really missing Vikki,” says Donna. “She lives over in Utah in the states. She’s always sending me songs that she’s written – really great stuff – and I was thinking, ‘God, you just have to get out and do something’. Josh is off on his own journey at the moment, doing his own thing over in California, and it’s just this sort of burning desire to get out of the house,” she laughs.
“We are sisters so we miss each other personally, but what we have done for the last 20 years is playing music together, so now we have something to take out on the road and go travelling again.”
The tour will kick off in a big way, starting with their first official performance at the upcoming Port Fairy Folk Festival.
“It’s a fantastic, fantastic festival and we’ve just been going there for so many years,” says Donna. “There’s a lot of love there at that festival and a lot of real quality music. That will be our first show, so we have really got to step up and make sure we are ready for it, because it is a world-class festival.”
The sisters will also be joining the John Butler Trio when they open for John at his Perth shows – somewhat of a role reversal for the sisters.
“We gave John his first opening gig years ago,” says Donna. “John used to tour with us and opening for us and then it all switched around. It will be great. They are like family; he’s such a fantastic friend and we have a lot of mutual admiration for each other.”
With their Australian tour booked in, their strong American ties would make a jump to the US for some shows quiet possible – but Donna isn’t getting too far ahead of herself.
“We will see how this tour goes,” says Donna. “We have very strong links to America – I have a son who lives over there, Vikki lives there, Josh is over there, and we’ve all toured there. If things go well maybe the Waifs will get back together and do a tour over there. At the moment the Waifs have a small tour in May that we are going to do, but we’ll see what happens.”
For now the chance to play without the added pressure of selling themselves is the perfect place to be for the Stray Sisters.
“We are just enjoying the freedom,” says Donna. “We sort of stepped away from the scene for such a long time; it’s nice to sort of ease our way back in and just play to play. We aren’t promoting an album, there are no recordings of the Stray Sisters and we are just going there to play music, which is nice to not have to sell anything.
When&Where: Port Fairy Folk Festival – March 7 to 10
Written by Zach Broadhurst