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Davey Woodward and the Winter Orphans

British songwriter and guitarist Davey Woodward (aka Dave Woodward) has been a fixture on the U.K. independent music scene since the late '70s, earning an enduring following for his subtly emotive vocals, literate songwriting, and sure hand with melodies. Beginning in his teens with a punk rock band, Woodward would make his name with polished, pop-leaning post-punk with his band the Brilliant Corners and the trip-hop-influenced Experimental Pop Band, before moving into more organic territory with the indie pop trio Karen and folk and country influences in Davey Woodward and the Winter Orphans. Born and raised in Bristol in South West England, Woodward was 16 when he and his friend Chris Galvin decided to form a band, emboldened by the first wave of U.K. punk in 1976. By 1978, their band, the Hybrids, were regularly playing Bristol's main punk venue, a pub called the Stonehouse, making music strongly influenced by the Jam, the Kinks, and the Clash. The original lineup of the Hybrids featured Woodward on guitar, Galvin on bass, and a drummer named Jimmy; in time, Jimmy was replaced by a drum machine, and their modern pop influences began to hold sway. In 1983, the Hybrids transformed themselves into the Brilliant Corners, with Woodward and Galvin joined by Winston Forbes on guitar, Dan Pacini on keyboards and trumpet, and Bob Morris on drums. Delivering a polished and intelligent variation on post-punk-pop dominated by jangly guitars, the Brilliant Corners made their recording debut with the 1984 single "She's Got Fever," which rose to number one on the U.K. independent singles chart. The EP Growing Up Absurd followed in 1985, and the band's first full-length album, What's in a Word, appeared in 1986. The Brilliant Corners were a frequent presence on the British indie charts, but they were unable to score the crossover hit that would break them through to mainstream popularity, and after the release of their fifth album, A History of White Trash, the Brilliant Corners broke up in 1993. In the mid-'90s, Woodward returned in a new project, the South West Experimental Pop Band, whose name was soon streamlined into the Experimental Pop Band. Drawing on the pop sound of the Brilliant Corners while adding elements of trip-hop and acid house, the Experimental Pop Band once again found Woodward collaborating with bassist Chris Galvin, as Corin Dingley played drums. The trio released their first EP, The Lounge, in 1996, while their full-length debut, a collection of singles titled Woof, appeared in January 1997. After the release of Discgrotesque six months later, Dingley bowed out, and the addition of Joe Rooney on keyboards and Keith Bailey on drums fleshed the band out to a quartet. In December 1998, Chris Galvin succumbed to cancer, and his final recordings with the Experimental Pop Band appeared on the 1999 album Homesick. After a hiatus, they regrouped with Woodward, Rooney, and Bailey joined by bassist Mike Barber; this edition of the group released The Tracksuit Trilogy in 2001. By the time Tarmac & Flames was released in 2004, Barber was out of the Experimental Pop Band and new bassist Phil Wilmott had come aboard. After the release of 2012's Vertigo, which introduced new drummer Keith Bailey, the Experimental Pop Band went on hiatus. By this time, Woodward had released his first solo album, 2011's 6 Miles East of Here 5 Miles North of Nowhere, a lo-fi pop effort recorded with help from Jim Barr, best known for his work with Portishead. In 2013, Cherry Red Records released a career-spanning collection of material by the Brilliant Corners, Heart on Your Sleeve: A Decade in Pop 1983-1993. To celebrate the release, Woodward organized a Brilliant Corners reunion, and the revived edition of the group toured in 2013 and 2014. After the reunion ran its course, Woodward returned to writing new material, and formed a new group, Karen. Karen featured bassist Hugo Morgan and drummer Tom Adams, and they released their first single, "Ocean" b/w "Invisible Friend," in January 2016. After recording and touring with Karen, Woodward penned a new batch of songs that melded his pop sensibilities with his love of vintage folk-rock and country-rock. Eager to record them with musicians he hadn't worked with before for a fresh approach, he formed Davey Woodward and the Winter Orphans, with Julian Hunt on guitar, Mark Van Vasey on bass and piano, and Steve Dew on drums. The group went into the studio in July 2017, and over the course of a weekend cut the basic tracks for a full-length album. The finished product, Davey Woodward and the Winter Orphans, was released in August 2018.
© Mark Deming /TiVo
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