The Beautiful South’s Dave Hemingway has unveiled the first track from his new band Sunbirds’ debut album Cool To Be Kind.

Meet You On The Northside sets the scene for the album, and serves as Sunbirds’ tribute to the people of Hemingway’s hometown, Kingston-Upon-Hull – the place where it all began for Dave with The Housemartins back in 1985. 

Having retired from the live scene at the back end of 2016, Dave has been keeping busy with guitarist, songwriter and collaborator Phil Barton, with Cool To Be Kind signalling the arrival of the new band, new songs and a new sound, blending the musical instruments of rural America with an occasional twist of grungy guitars set against lyrics that remain very much at home in the towns and cities of England.

The genesis of Meet You On The Northside began in 2014 when The South (Hemingway’s post-Beautiful South splinter band) were invited by Hull City Football Club to submit ideas for their FA Cup song, after they had reached the final that year. 

Sunbirds guitarist Phil Barton says: “I got in touch with my co-writer Kenny Grant and together we started to bounce ideas off each other. However, it didn’t take long for us to realise that football songs are, as a genre, a pretty tough seam to mine when hoping to strike gold. In fact, the more we wrote the worse it got!

“So we took a step back and realised that the timeless football songs were songs that clubs had adopted. So rather than go with something like Come On You Tigers we decided to write a proper song. With Dave’s help regarding some of Hull’s folklore, we finally arrived at something that we felt captured the city’s enduring fighting spirit, which has a subtle self-effacing modesty of the place.

“We excitedly emailed the song to Hull FC and they replied: ‘We love it, but we were thinking of something more along the lines of Eye Of The Tiger, singing along with some of the players.’ Well, there you go. Lesson learned. But we still got a decent song out of it!”

The new album is released through Nectar Records and is available to buy here