Donna Simpson – circa 2007
“We were both 18 the year that we met…One look at me and you thought I was odd” – ’A Brief History’ (Josh Cunningham)
“There was a connection that Donna [Simpson] felt that I felt as well,” says Josh Cunningham. “It’s always felt very much like a family to me. And I felt instantly welcomed into that from the very start.” Josh may have felt a musical connection to Donna Simpson, but it is a more personal connection he feels to Donna’s sister, Vikki Simpson. Donna and Vikki meet Josh after the girls play a gig in Broome, Western Australia, in August 1992. It is the complex web of musical and personal relationships between the three members of The Waifs – Donna Simpson, Vikki Simpson and Josh Cunningham – that powers the act.
Donna Simpson is born in Albany, Western Australia, in 1970. Her sister, Vikki Simpson, is born in Albany, Western Australia, in 1974. “I’m four years older than Vik,” Donna confirms. Donna and Vikki are the daughters of Jimmy Simpson. He is a fisherman and hauls in salmon. “Yeah, we played in vats of blood and these fish guts,” says Vikki. “It happened sort of three months a year. And there’s three families that go out there, and we’re the third generation actually, so our grandfather, and our father, and now us…They sit on the beach and they watch for schools of salmon coming along, and it’s a very old method of fishing.” Jimmy Simpson’s regular fishing spot is a locale known as Cozy Corner Beach.
Donna Simpson’s father buys her a guitar when she is a teenager. “I was 15 years old, and I hated school, and I wasn’t doing well, and suddenly I found something I could do, and that just blew my mind and by the end of the first day of playing guitar I was playing Bob Dylan songs,” recalls Donna. While the music of that folk rock icon is highly influential, it is on the songs of early rock ‘n’ roll act The Everly Brothers that Donna practices singing harmony with her younger sister. Vikki explains, “I just took a higher harmony over her…I don’t know how to harmonise [in technical terms]. It just came naturally.” Aside from Bob Dylan and The Everly Brothers, Vikki lists their influences as Neil Young, The Eagles, The Beach Boys and Michelle Shocked.
On Vikki Simpson’s last day of school, her elder sister picks her up in a yellow Kombi van. “I’d said to Vikki, you know, ‘We should go ‘round Australia’,” says Donna Simpson. She tells Vikki, “Let’s just get out of here. Let’s go travelling.” Donna explains her motivation this way: “We were from this town where if we saw a car come through from over east with eastern State number plates, I mean I would just look at these cars and think, ‘Wow, they’re from over east. They’re from Sydney and Wollongong and..’ It was really exciting for us. So I bought this old van and I went and picked her up from school.”
Donna and Vikki Simpson perform as a duo called Colours. They tour Western Australia playing cover versions of Bob Dylan songs, Everly Brothers songs, and blues songs in bars and pubs. After a show in Broome in August 1992, the girls meet Josh Cunningham.
Joshua Hayden Cunningham is born in 1974 in New South Wales, Australia. His parents are farmers in Moruya. Josh receives his first guitar in 1987 when he is 13. Immediately before meeting the Simpson sisters, Josh Cunningham plays bass in an all-male band.
Donna Simpson says of Josh Cunningham, “He picked up my guitar and started playing it and I was just, wow, I’d never heard an acoustic guitar played like that, and I just said, ‘You should join our band’.” On another occasion, Donna describes the meeting slightly differently: “We jammed for about ten minutes and I asked him to join the band and he said, ‘Okay’…just like that, and we became The Waifs.” Actually, from the time the Simpson sisters meet Cunningham in August 1992, it is not until at least ‘a year later’ that The Colours become The Waifs…but more on that shortly. When Josh Cunningham joins the act, it not only alters the musical character of the group, it changes their personal chemistry. He and Vikki Simpson become romantically involved and, as Vikki says, “Through all those years of touring, there was that dynamic going on.” Vikki muses that, “Donna was somebody I was totally dependent on…When Josh and I got involved, I totally abandoned her and all my focus and attention went to someone else.” For her part, Donna says, “It was really hard for me because I’d just found this new best friend in my sister and she fell in love with this guy and suddenly there were three of us in the van. I loved Josh and I loved him being with us, but the dynamics definitely changed.” With the new addition, the line-up is fixed as: Donna Simpson (vocals, acoustic guitar), Vikki Simpson (vocals, harmonica, acoustic guitar) and Josh Cunningham (guitar, vocals, mandolin, ukulele, dobro).
Through the rest of 1992 and 1993, The Colours – now a three-piece act – tour the countryside. By the end of 1993, “Things got really tough on the road,” says Donna Simpson. “So we all decided to go home. And Josh [Cunningham] went to his family [in New South Wales], and virtually walked into the house and his grandmother said, ‘Oh look at my waif, my waif.’ And then we [Donna and Vikki Simpson] went home to our family and our grandmother said, ‘Oh here come the waifs..’” A ‘waif’ is a ‘homeless person, especially a neglected child.’ This shared experience inspires The Colours to adopt the new name of The Waifs when they reconvene.
The Waifs continue to tour Western Australia until February 1996 when the trio relocates to Melbourne, Victoria, on the east coast of Australia. A recording contract is obtained with Outside Music and The Waifs prepare to make their first album.
The music of The Waifs is usually described as folk music or, later, as folk rock. This is a similar trajectory to that undertaken by their early inspiration, Bob Dylan. In the United States or the United Kingdom, folk music is often about preserving traditional songs from decades or centuries earlier. Australia has a shorter history of European settlement. ‘Bush bands’ preserve the tunes of Australia’s colonial past. The Waifs have never been part of that scene. Instead, they adapt some of the traits of folk music – harmonies, acoustic guitars – to their own vision. The sound of The Waifs is a kind of organic, wholemeal interpretation of plaintive singer-songwriter pop.
The songwriting in The Waifs is roughly evenly divided between the three members: Donna Simpson, Vikki Simpson and Josh Cunningham. Generally, the individual writers take the lead vocal to their own compositions – though Josh sometimes cedes his songs to the ladies. Since harmony singing features so strongly in their work, Donna and Vikki’s voices often blend together. Both of them retain strong Australian accents in their singing. Donna, the elder sister with the lighter hair, has a slightly huskier voice with a deeper pitch. Her songs are often more humorous but can also be quite dark. By contrast, her dark-haired younger sister has a higher, quirkier vocal tone. Vikki’s songs are more romantic. These are generalisations of course, but may help novices distinguish the different contributors.
A lot of the style of The Waifs is built on the sisterly bond between Donna and Vikki Simpson. “My fights with Vikki are notorious,” admits Donna. “We’ve had punch-ups. I once hit her with a tambourine on stage.” Donna grumbles that her younger sister is “very bossy and controlling”, but also says, “I look up to and admire her.” Vikki says of Donna, “She’s very motivated and follows through on ideas.”
The debut album, ‘The Waifs’ (1996), is released in May. The disc is co-produced by The Waifs, Mick Thomas (from Australian band Weddings, Parties, Anything) and Jen Anderson. The last-named also plays violin on the recording sessions. The best of Josh Cunningham’s songs on this set may be the wide-eyed youthful exuberance of ‘Take It In’. Vikki Simpson handles the lead vocal, urging, “Take it in, take it all in / Now is a time that / Will not come again.” ‘Gillian’ (with a hard ‘g’ as in ‘gate’) appears to be a tribute to Josh’s mother; it’s a song full of homespun veranda wisdom. Josh’s acoustic guitar stalks through ‘Brain Damage’. ‘Shiny Apple’ – which inspires the cover image – has a strongly Spanish feel with its clapping percussion. All these Josh Cunningham compositions are handed over to the girls – primarily Vikki Simpson – to sing. The pick of Vikki’s own songs is probably the dashing ‘Company’: “I just need a little company / I can’t stand it here by myself.” She also pens the rubbery swing of ‘Circles’. Donna Simpson’s ‘Crazy Train’ becomes a long-time staple of The Waifs’ live shows. “Crazy train, rolling down that crazy track,” belts out Donna, “Going to New Orleans and I ain’t coming back.” Vikki Simpson’s harmonica wails over the bluesy rhythm. Donna also inhabits the part of a busking girl who falls for the ‘Sunflower Man’ who puts a flower – rather than some cash – in her guitar case. Another Donna Simpson song is ‘Billy Jones’, an ode to a transvestite (transsexual?) that incorporates unlikely elements of rap, hip-hop and funk. ‘The Waifs’ may be the most underrated album in the group’s catalogue. It is ‘a more than adequate stab at troubadour folk and acoustic pop.’
‘Shelter Me’ (1998) is the second album by The Waifs. Josh Cunningham writes the title track, ‘Shelter Me’, a geed up ode to one’s parents it seems. The girls sing, “Keep me safe from myself / I can’t do it without your help / Your love’s the finest thing I’ve ever known…I can offer no excuse for this senseless self-abuse.” Vikki Simpson takes the lead vocal on the highlights from this album. ‘The River’, written by Josh Cunningham, is dark and brooding with a refrain that goes, “Running from the heart of it / Right into the cause of it.” Vikki’s own ‘Spotlight’ has a dramatic twang to it. Jen Anderson once more contributes violin to this album. Andrew Entsch plays bass and Jeff Algra is on drums for this disc, the presence of a rhythm section making The Waifs sound more like a band than a trio of folk singers.
In 1998 David Ross Macdonald (drums) becomes an ‘auxiliary member’ of The Waifs. From this point, he will play drums for the band both live and in the recording studio.
‘Sink Or Swim’ (2000) is characterised as a ‘charmer.’ Donna Simpson contributes two of her lightest and wittiest songs. In the song titled ‘The Waitress’, Donna plays the part of a cash-strapped girl “working as a waitress in a Mexican restaurant.” Donna’s ‘The Haircut’ is almost a feminist tract. It is most notable for this eyebrow-raising section: “So now when I make love / I make love to myself / I got no disease / So it’s good for my health / I got my hands in my pants / Down my Calvin Kleins / I don’t need you no more, baby / I can come every time.” Josh Cunningham steps up to take the lead vocal on his own song, ‘A Brief History’, which is an ambling chronicle of The Waifs’ career. He duets with Vikki Simpson on his composition ‘Love Serenade’ in which they playfully trade lines like, “Honey, I’m sitting on top of the world / Just thinking about you” and “I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true / Honey, I’m in love with you / Going to show you what I can do.” Cunningham hands other pieces he’s written to Vikki Simpson to sing. This includes tracks like ‘Lies’, which is light as a spring shower, and the jaunty traveller’s folk song ‘When I Die’ in which the narrator wants to be buried in their hometown. Jen Anderson plays violin with The Waifs for the last time on this set.
Ben Franz (bass, dobro) joins The Waifs in 2001 as the band’s other ‘auxiliary member’ with drummer David Ross Macdonald. The Waifs now have a stable rhythm section behind them.
In 2001 Phil Stevens becomes the manager of The Waifs. He is already managing another act from Western Australia, The John Butler Trio.
In 2001 The Waifs play the prestigious Newport Folk Festival in the United States for the first time and are described as ‘the darlings of [that] year’s festival.’
In July 2002, The Waifs, John Butler and Phil Stevens join forces to found the Jarrah record label. The Waifs’ earlier recordings are subsequently rereleased on Jarrah in Australia (and on Compass overseas). The new recordings after this date are, of course, also on Jarrah.
‘Up All Night’ (2003) (AUS no. 3), released in January, is The Waifs’ best album. It also features The Waifs’ best song, Donna Simpson’s ‘London Still’ (AUS no. 49). It is a song of homesickness, a curious mix of happiness and sadness. “Wonder if you can pick up my accent on the phone when I call across the country, when I call across the world,” ponders Donna with an aching sense of absence. Yet she is also plainly enjoying her overseas adventures: “I took the tube over to Camden to wander around / Bought some funky records with that old Motown sound.” In a later interview, Donna notes that, “We used to write about travelling and being free and they were great days.” ‘London Still’ may be the best of the ‘travelling songs.’ It lacks the sense of wonder of something like ‘Take It In’, but replaces it with a more mature sensibility, a sense of loss as profound as gain. ‘London Still’ captures The Waifs at this balancing point between innocence and experience. Its gorgeous melody seals its place at the top of the heap. Donna Simpson revisits her roots in the autobiographical ‘Fisherman’s Daughter’. In this deeply-etched, bluesy-folk piece she claims, “I don’t like gold / And I don’t like pearls / I’m just your regular West Australian / Fisherman’s daughter / I’m a middle class / Folk singing, guitar-playing girl.” ‘Highway One’ finds Donna stating, “I got a place I do call mine” and setting aside her wanderlust. Los Angeles jazz musician Bobby Hutcherson is given a co-writer’s credit for ‘Highway One’ since it apparently takes some elements from his 1978 composition of the same name. The pick of Josh Cunningham’s songs on ‘Up All Night’ is the remarkable ‘Lighthouse’, an unusual effort that is both poignant and kinda funky. Vikki Simpson tears into the vocal, wailing, “Oh, lighthouse man, I’m all at sea / Shine a little lighthouse light on me.” Vikki is also tasked with the lead vocal on Cunningham’s excoriating ‘Flesh and Blood’. “All you’ll see is what you’re shown / Flesh and blood, skin and bone,” she snarls through gritted teeth. Josh Cunningham takes the lead vocals himself for his bittersweet, nostalgic ‘Since I’ve Been Around’, revisiting his old hometown. ‘Up All Night’ is co-produced by The Waifs, Chris Thompson and Steven Schram. As well as the regular band members Ben Franz (bass) and David Ross Macdonald (drums), the sound is boosted by Bruce Haymes (keyboards) for this album only. The result is a well rendered work of art as opposed to an endearing sketch. ‘Up All Night’ is also the first Waifs album to make the charts. Vikki Simpson reminisces, “We were nonchalant about releasing albums. We’d released three already and had learned not to put too much hope behind an album because you’re usually disappointed. So [the commercial success of ‘Up All Night’] was a surprise, but we took it in our stride. It was all very exciting but it didn’t seem real to us because it was such a new experience.” On another occasion, Vikki says, “The ‘Up All Night’ tour [was our most memorable]…Suddenly there was this whole wave of people that didn’t know anything about our back catalogue or our past history and were really there on the basis of one or two songs. They were hearing the band for the first time. That was really exciting.”
The Waifs are selected as the support act for the 2003 Australian tour by Bob Dylan, the recording artist who so influenced them in their earliest days. They go on to join Dylan’s 2003 North American tour, including a second gig at the Newport Folk Festival.
On the 2003 Bob Dylan tour, The Waifs meet Ben Weaver, a U.S. singer-songwriter. Donna Simpson falls in love with Ben Weaver. “We just hit it off,” she reports. “We drank a bottle of whiskey before the show.” Donna Simpson goes on to marry Ben Weaver and they have a son named Franklin (born 2006).
Vikki Simpson pens The Waifs’ 2004 single ‘Bridal Train’ (AUS no. 50). She offers this explanation of the song’s origin: “My grandmother was a war bride after the Second World War. She met Bob Cain, he was an American sailor. And they met in Perth [the capital city of Western Australia], and after a very brief engagement, married and then he was sent away. She received a telegram at about midnight one night saying, ‘Pack your things. There’s a train, the U.S. Navy is chartering a train to take war brides to Sydney [the capital city of New South Wales on Australia’s east coast]. And from Sydney you can board a ship, and we’ll take you across to America to be with your husbands.’” And so, the lyrics to ‘Bridal Train’ say, “All the girls around Australia / Married to a Yankee sailor / The fare is paid across the sea / To the home of the brave and the land of the free / From west to east the young girls came / All aboard the bridal train / It was a farewell crossing of her land / She’s gone to meet her sailor man.” Vikki’s vocal for this song is heart-rending. Added poignancy comes from some delicate ukulele work by Josh Cunningham.
The romantic relationship between Vikki Simpson and Josh Cunningham ‘breaks down’ in 2004. Her sister, Donna, comments, “When Josh and Vikki broke up…They were extremely private…That was a twelve-year relationship.”
‘A Brief History’ (2004) (AUS no. 23), released in November, is a double album of live recordings by The Waifs. Actually, ‘Bridal Train’ is present both in its studio version and a live version. As well as The Waifs’ best known tunes, the set includes live versions of The Waifs’ interpretations of Bob Dylan’s 1963 song ‘Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright’ and country music legend Patsy Cline’s 1962 song ‘Crazy’. Beyond that, there are interesting Waifs rarities like ‘Papa’, ‘Willow Tree’ and ‘Here If You Want’.
A quiet period for The Waifs follows from 2005 to 2007. During this time, Vikki Simpson marries Matt Thorn. From this point, she uses her married name, Vikki Thorn, when working with The Waifs. Vikki and Matt live on a farm in Utah in the U.S.A. They have three sons: Noah, Elijah and Jesse (the youngest is born in June 2011).
The Waifs return with ‘Sun Dirt Water’ (2007) (AUS no. 2) in September. The title track, ‘Sun Dirt Water’ (AUS no. 32), is written by Vikki Thorn and is purportedly about her husband, Matt. “Would you trade me for all the pretty girls / All the ones who came before?” asks Vikki in the opening lines. With jazzy menace, she purrs, “Well if you’re holding out on something / Then just reach and you’ll rise above / Give me sun, give me dirt, give me water / Give me sweet everlasting love.” In a slightly different interpretation, Donna Simpson claims to be the ‘dirt’ in the ‘Sun Dirt Water’ equation, leaving it open to speculation about which one of Vikki Thorn and Josh Cunningham is sun and which one is water. The album’s other highlight is Donna Simpson’s ‘Vermillion’, a sad, hard luck tale of a rough upbringing. ‘Vermillion’ is a shade of red, but it’s also the name of a real place. As the tag line in the song puts it, “Ain’t never going back to Vermillion, South Dakota / I never could return.” The album ‘Sun Dirt Water’ is described as ‘a new, more basic approach to roots music.’ However, after this album there are also rumours ‘that the group may have run its course.’
Donna Simpson goes through ‘serious personal problems that end in divorce and a period in rehab.’ In 2008 she is admitted to Hazeldean Treatment Center in Minnesota, U.S.A. ‘for alcohol addiction.’ During 2009 Donna Simpson and her husband, Ben Weaver, get a divorce.
‘Live From The Union Of Soul’ (2009) (AUS no. 48), issued in January, is another concert recording by The Waifs. The performances are drawn from a tour The Waifs undertook with their label mates, The John Butler Trio. Butler himself duets with The Waifs on a version of ‘From Little Things’, a song co-written by Australian singers Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody and originally recorded by Kelly in 1991 and Carmody in 1993. Another Australian singer, Claire Bowditch, appears with The Waifs on this album for a rendition of ‘I Remember You’, a song made famous by Frank Ifield in 1962.
In 2009 Josh Cunningham undertakes a Bible study course in California, U.S.A. and begins a ‘voyage of discovery.’ “When I got to my mid-30s,” Josh attempts to explain, “I guess there comes a point in life when you start asking big questions.” For Josh, the answers to those questions are found when he seriously devotes himself to Christianity. In 2010 Josh Cunningham marries a woman named Jackie and they make a home for themselves in California ‘where he dedicates much of his time to this new-found religious faith.’
‘Temptation’ (2011) (AUS no. 8) is released in March. Josh Cunningham’s religious dedication is underlined by songs like ‘Moses And The Lamb’ and the title track, ‘Temptation’. The latter is a stark and harsh gospel song with Vikki Thorn and Donna Simpson providing moaning harmonies. “Forty days and nights in the wilderness Jesus hungered there,” Josh preaches, going on to insist, “Flee from me devil, flee / For I am on a narrow way and I have no need of thee.” Vikki Thorn supplies some passionate harmonica and takes the lead vocal for the last part of the song ‘Temptation’. Vikki’s own ‘Daydreamer’ is rickety vaudeville with Josh on banjo as she asks, “Where do we take it from here?” Donna Simpson’s experiences with alcohol addiction are reflected in her songs like ‘I Learn The Hard Way’ and ‘Just Like Me’. Donna’s ‘Falling’ is a love song that matches a raw vocal to a delicate melody as she acknowledges, “I’ve been in love once before / I know the drill, I know the score.” Donna points out in an interview that, “Now Vikki and I write about probably the more mature relationships, real love, instead of that flossy love.” Josh Cunningham says of ‘Temptation’, “This album is a return to our distinctive sound. I think the last album, above all the others we have made, sounded like a departure.” It may be closer to the mark to say that ‘Temptation’ sounds like a ‘particularly gruelling therapy session.’
Josh Cunningham releases a solo album, ‘Into Tomorrow’ (2011).
Donna Simpson finds new love in an unusual way. She accepts a lift into Fremantle, Western Australia, from a fan who attends the gig The Waifs have just performed. “I immediately fell in love with him,” reports Donna. Publicly identified only as ‘JP’, Donna’s new love is a stonemason. Donna has been living in Minneapolis since 2008. “Then he [JP] came over to America and brought me home [to Fremantle] and now we have these two gorgeous little boys.” Although they do not marry, Donna and JP have two sons, Blue (born October 2012) and Sonny Jim (born December 2013). Franklin (or ‘Frankie’), Donna’s eldest son, remains in the U.S. with Donna’s ex-husband, Ben Weaver.
In 2014 Donna Simpson and Vikki Thorn play some gigs without Josh Cunningham under the name of The Stray Sisters.
The Waifs intend to write their next album collectively, but the experiment fails. Instead, ‘Beautiful You’ (2015) (AUS no. 5), is made up of contributions from the act’s three individual songwriters. Vikki Thorn contributes ‘Black Dirt Track’, a gently nostalgic reminiscence about the path once trod by “bare brown feet”. Vikki asks, “Who could have known / I’d be walking it now / With a child of my own?” Vikki also offers a ‘storming blues-rocker’ called ‘February’. Josh Cunningham’s song ‘6000 Miles’ is ‘a country-tinged road trip.’ Donna Simpson pens the title track, ‘Beautiful You’, about ‘lending a helping hand to someone battling addiction’ (“If looks could kill you would have killed me a thousand times over”). Donna’s contributions also include ‘When A Man Gets Down’, ‘an emotional post-mortem’, and ‘Rowena And Wallace’. The album ‘Beautiful You’ is the work of ‘three separate individuals’ but ‘that’s the charm of The Waifs, that creative push and pull.’
‘Ironbark’ (2017) (AUS no. 1) celebrates the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Waifs. This is a two CD set with twenty-two new tracks and three ‘re-imaginings of live favourites’ (i.e. ‘Shiny Apple’ and ‘Take It In’ from 1996 along with ‘Willow Tree’ from 2004). ‘Ironbark’ is recorded almost entirely in the kitchen of Waifs guitarist Josh Cunningham in Moruya, New South Wales. The title track, ‘Ironbark’, is a gentle folky tune featuring all three of the act’s singers: Josh Cunningham, Donna Simpson and Vikki Simpson. Vikki blows some harmonica on this tune as well. ‘Ironbark’ is a ’warm, uplifting indie folk paean to the trio’s durability,’ using the metaphor of a tree’s hard bark for their own survival. Josh Cunningham pens this song. ‘Ironbark’ doesn’t generate any songs that make it to the singles chart, but other noteworthy tracks on this album include: the ‘utter loveliness’ of ‘Long Way From Home’; the ‘timely subject matter’ of ‘Syria’; ‘Not The Lonely’ which is reminiscent of 1970s group Fleetwood Mac; and the ‘strident’ ‘Don’t You Ever Feel’. There is a common theme in reviews of ‘Ironbark’ that there is a bit too much filler and the album might have been better if pared down to a single disc but this set is also described as the ‘pure distillation of the grown-up folk that The Waifs have been gently perfecting.’
The Waifs promote ‘Ironbark’ with an Australian tour in the middle of 2017 with further dates added in November due to popular demand.
Through years of recordings, gigs and tours, it was the personal relationships that existed between The Waifs that sustained them. Over the course of their musical career, Donna Simpson, Vikki Thorn and Josh Cunningham all went through heartbreak and marriage and the girls also became mothers. Even alcohol addiction (Donna), religious conversion (Josh) and residing overseas (all three of them) did not put an end to The Waifs. The strength of that bond was stronger than their acoustic guitar strings. The Waifs were ‘acoustic based but not exclusively or aggressively folky.’ They provided ‘music that entertained and touched the heart and soul –whether they were singing about Australian locations or places far flung.’
- lyricsfreak.com as at 3 September 2015
- allmusic.com, ‘Sink Or Swim’ review by Jason MacNeil as at 4 September 2015
- ‘Enough Rope’ (Australian television program, Australian Broadcasting Commission) – interview with The Waifs conduction by Andrew Denton (20 August 2007) – text reproduced on abc.net.au/tv/enoughrope/transcripts/s20110240.htm
- allmusic.com, ‘The Waifs’ by Jason MacNeil as at 31 August 2015
- wikipedia.org as at 30 August 2015, 1 January 2018
- Lip magazine – ‘Interview: The Waifs’ by Dunja Nedic (10 February 2011) reproduced on lipmag.com
- ABC News – ‘Sisterhood Unites The Waifs as they Embark on National Tour’ by Claire Moodie (23 November 2014), abc.net.au
- thewaifs.com.au, ‘About’ – no author credited – as at 31 August 2015
- ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ (Sydney, New South Wales, Australian newspaper) – ‘Two of Us: Vikki Thorn and Donna Simpson’ by Amy McNeilace (3 May 2014), reproduced on smh.com.au
- ‘The Australian Contemporary Dictionary’, Edited by J.B. Foreman, M.A. (Collins Publishers, 1969) p. 543
- allmusic.com, ‘The Waifs’ album review by Jason MacNeil as at 4 September 2015
- metrolyrics.com as at 3 September 2015
- allmusic.com, ‘Shelter Me’ review by Jason MacNeil as at 4 September 2015
- sing365.com as at 4 September 2015
- ‘Newport Daily News’ (U.S. newspaper) (August 2001) via (5) above
- allmusic.com, ‘Up All Night’ review by Jesse Jarnow as at 4 September 2015
- ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ (Sydney, New South Wales, Australian newspaper) (October 2003) via (5) above
- ‘Townsville Bulletin’ (Townsville, Queensland, Australian newspaper) – ‘Waifs Come Home’ by Kathy McCabe via (5) above
- ‘Herald Sun’ (Melbourne, Victoria, Australian newspaper) – ‘Waifs Savour the Dylan Moment’ by Cameron Adams (6 September 2007), reproduced on heraldsun.com
- ‘The West Australian’ (Western Australia, Australian newspaper) – ‘Waif Finds Love with a Stray Fan’ by Lucy Gibson (19 March 2014), reproduced on au.news.yahoo.com/the west
- ‘The Waifs Newsletter’ by ‘Vikki Waif’ (26 July 2011, 25 November 2012, 18 January 2014, 22 February 2014) via (8) above
- allmusic.com, ‘Sun Dirt Water’ review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. as at 4 September 2015
- ‘The Australian’ (Australian newspaper) – ‘The Waifs: Key to Success’ by Iain Sheddon (19 February 2011), reproduced on theaustralian.com.au
- allmusic.com, ‘Live From The Union Of Soul’ review by Rick Anderson as at 4 September 2015
- allmusic.com, ‘Temptation’ review by Jon O’Brien as at 4 September 2015
- songmeanings.com as at 3 September 2015
- ‘Herald Sun’ (Melbourne, Victoria, Australian newspaper) – ‘The Waifs’ Separate Lives Pay Off Again’ by Cameron Adams (13 August 2015) p. 38
- allmusic.com, ‘Beautiful You’ review by Timothy Monger as at 4 September 2015
- ‘A Brief History’ – Sleeve notes by Brian Wise (Jarrah Records, 2004) p. 3
- thewaifs.com – ‘The Waifs & Kasey Chambers to Perform Exclusive Perth Show [on 3 February 2018) – no author credited (21 November 2017)
- rollingstoneaus.com – ‘Ironbark’ review by Jules Lefevre as at 1 January 2018
- allmusic.com, ‘Ironbark’ review by Timothy Monger as at 1 January 2018
- You Tube
Song lyrics copyright unknown
Last revised 7 January 2018