The Beautiful South’s Dave Hemingway is back on song with new band Sunbirds

Flight path: Sunbirds will head to York for the first time next February to play The Crescent

ONCE he loved you from the bottom of his pencil case. Now, The Beautiful South co-founder Dave Hemingway is to return with his new band, Sunbirds.  

Joined by drummer Marc Parnell, vocalist and violinist Laura Wilcockson and his erstwhile South cohort, songwriter/guitarist Phil Barton, singer Hemingway will play The Crescent in York on February 4 2022.

Hemingway had retired from the live scene at the back end of 2016, but later set to work with Sunbirds, who released their debut album, Cool To Be Kind, on independent label Nectar Records last November.

Although rooted in England, the band favours a sound predominantly built around traditional American roots music, combined with the occasional outburst of guitar-heavy melody more associated with the grunge capital of Seattle in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

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

On the road again. Dave Hemingway returns to the stage with new band Sunbirds in 2022

Produced by cult producer Teo Miller, Cool To Be Kind captures truthful, open-hearted, funny and sometimes painfully honest sentiments, turning the page to a new chapter for Hemingway and The Beautiful South story.

The album is the result of a few transitional years in Hemingway and Barton’s personal worlds, telling tales that cover both contemporary themes and age-old matters of the heart and soul, all viewed through the bottom of a recently drained pint glass.  

Phil says: “Now we’re Sunbirds, we’re free to dig a little deeper into ourselves. 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”.

Cool To Be Kind is available on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Amazon UK & Music and will be on sale in all HMV stores, including in Coney Street, York, on reopening.

Tickets for The Crescent gig are can be booked at: and The Sunbirds also will play The Greystones, Sheffield, on February 3; box office, Alternatively, book at:

Why not check out Sunbirds’ debut single, Meet You On The Northside, at: