Listen: The Waifs’ Vikki Thorn goes solo with ThornBird

Whether or not you know The Waifs, start here first and then work your way back. Fantastic album.

15 March 2022 | James Porteous | Clipper Media News

Vikki Thorn. Credit: Toni Wilkinson

04 February 2022 | Matt Doria | NME

Vikki Thorn – best known as one third of folk-rock trio The Waifs – has announced the eponymous debut album for her new project, ThornBird, alongside new single ‘Bullets And Heartbreak’ and a run of national tour dates.

Building on the bluesy, country-esque flair of previous singles ‘Tempest’ and ‘All The Things’, the new track shines with swampy, roaring guitars, stacked vocal harmonies and a simple, yet impactful drum beat.

The track features Simon and Tammy London of Albany group The Red Tails (who Thorn says are her next-door neighbours), and was recorded live with Thorn’s backing band.

Described as “a wild west ode to love and relationship”, Thorn said in a press release today (February 4) that ‘Bullets And Heartbreak’ followed a narrative of two outback lovers. “He comes in blazing rhetoric and she takes him on a wild horse chase,” she explained. “Gritty guitar, [a] laidback groove and big harmonies round it up and bring it home.”

It’s said that Thorn’s new project was conceptualised when the singer-songwriter walked into local a bar and saw “a band playing some dirty folk blues in the corner”.

After watching them play an hour of “raw and edgy” music “so loose that it felt like they were skating”, she supposedly thought to herself, “I want to make a record with these guys.”

Many of the tracks on ‘ThornBird’ – due out independently on March 12 – were drawn from “unplayed phone recordings and memories of ten years living in the wilds of Utah”, with the album itself co-produced by Thorn and RudimentalBirds Of Tokyo and Illy collaborator Dan Carroll.

Asked why she only chose to make a solo album after 30 years in The Waifs, Thorn said: “I had just moved back to West Australia. Turns out I found myself with a year of cancelled Waif engagements. Turns out I had a bunch of songs sitting in a box. Turns out that band in the bar lived not so far away. Turns out they were all keen. This all turns out an album.”

A day before the album’s release, Thorn and her band will embark on a 14-date national tour in support of it, kicking off at the Theatre Royal in Castlemaine. She’ll celebrate release day with a show at the Queenscliff Town hall, before stopping by the Yarra Valley to play this year’s Wildflower festival (she’ll also appear at the Brisbane and Hunter Valley dates of the event).

From there, Thorn will roll through Eumundi, Byron Bay, Bulli, Melbourne, Meeniyan and Adelaide, before wrapping the tour up in Perth on Saturday April 9. See the Facebook post below for tickets to each show.

Queenscliffe Town Hall

Following the release of her debut solo single ‘Tempest’, ThornBird, aka Vikki Thorn, has released her second single from her forthcoming debut solo album.

‘All The Things’ is a fun response to dealing with life’s daily challenges. Vikki sweeps us up yet again with her characteristic storytelling and distinctive vocals on the country / blues song. Listen here.

 “I wanted to write something catchy and feel good as an antidote to what I was actually experiencing,” Vikki said on writing the song. “It started as an up-tempo folk song but on a long trip whilst listening to a Bahamas tune, I started singing the lyrics over it and decided it felt so good with a laid-back tempo. That also gave birth to the idea of having an all-male chorus section. I wanted it to sound fun and casual and feel like a mantra to get through.”

Basing herself in Utah, USA for the last 10 years, ThornBird has returned home to Western Australia.

With a new sense of inspiration and swag of new songs, her debut album is almost complete and has been confirmed to be released early 2022. 

“These songs detail my experience of living in the canyons of Utah for 10 years, and the inspiring women I have encountered that seek out the wild places,” said Vikki on the upcoming release.

ThornBird will launch ‘All The Things’ with a show at Mojo’s Bar in Fremantle on Thursday 25 November and at the Indian Ocean Hotel in Scarborough on Saturday 27 November. Tix are available for both shows now.

Also announced, to take place in 2022 is ThornBird’s inclusion on the Wildflower Festival, a celebration of Australian women in music alongside Missy Higgins, Kasey Chambers, Sarah Blasko, Kate Miller-Heidke, Deborah Conway and Alice Skye, plus a very special show with John Butler and Kasey Chambers at the beautiful Kings Park in Perth. Full dates are below.

Vikki Thorn is a seasoned Australian performer. As one third of the multi-ARIA Award winning trio The Waifs, Vikki has released 8 albums and constantly toured the world. With her inimitable vocals and unique harmonica playing, Vikki Thorn has made an unmistakable mark on the Australian musical landscape.

Vikki Thorn at Wildflower, Rochford by Jason Rosewarne


Greg PhillipsMar 14, 2022ArtistsInterviews

Australian Musician editor Greg Phillips speaks with Vikki Thorn (The Waifs) about the creation of her debut solo album Thornbird (out now). The zoom internet connection might be a little rustic and full of character but we had a great chat about the making of the record, her gear and much more. Photos by Jason Rosewarne from Wildflower Festival, Rochford Winery, Yarra Valley.

Thornbird is the moniker of Vikki Thorn, one third of Australian Folk band The Waifs. Thinking back to when she first thought about recording a solo album, The Waifs’ Vikki Thorn recalls a journal entry 20 years earlier in which she noted plans to make one of her own.

Thanks to the pandemic and having time on her hands, on March 11, 2022 after three decades of touring with her sister in folk rock trio The Waifs, Vikki has finally released her debut solo album, Thornbird.


Most of the songs were written in the last couple of years during Covid lockdowns in Albany, Western Australia and a few were formed in Utah, USA a couple of years before that.

With Thornbird, Vikki delivers an earthy, country flavoured, folk rock treat, full of engaging life tales and thoughtful observations. Vikki also showcases that great vocal diversity that we know and love from her work with The Waifs but perhaps now highlighted more in a solo guise.

Ben Franz’s deep, booming bass and tasteful pedal steel offer a significant sonic contribution to the album, as do the talented Luke Dux on guitars and Todd Pickett on drums.

Thornbird struts, sways and rocks its way through a dozen well constructed songs, from the Elvis-like swagger of album opener That Kinda Man, to the slow burnin’, gritty blues that is Bullets and Heartache.

Let Her Go, co-written with husband Mat Thorn is loud and brash. Hells Backbone, as she tells us in our interview is a deeply personal, beautiful ballad about her time in Utah, USA.

Sit back, relax and take in the atmospheric Rough Patch, as it ascends along it’s almost seven minute, mesmerising journey before fading out and bringing to a close an album of exceptional Australian roots music.


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