The Red Tails’ chilled-out tunes reflect their origins of singing harmonies around the kitchen table in the lush country west of Albany. A trio of musicians from the Great Southern, the band features Vikki Thorn, and Simon and Tammy London. Thorn is best known as one-third of folk-rock act The Waifs, with whom she has performed since the 1990s, as well as also recording solo as ThornBird. Simon London performs with his band The Spirits which formed in 2003, and after taking a hiatus in 2009, returned to playing together last year. He and and his wife Tammy London also record and tour together as Simon and Tammy London. The Londons live next door to Thorn on a property in Kronkup, and despite knowing each other through the industry, they had never played together until the outbreak of COVID in 2020. “I was very busy with The Waifs and these guys have got four young boys,” Thorn said. “Our lives were pretty busy. “But then when the pandemic kicked in and everything shut down for a time and life slowed down, we got together just on a couple of weekends and started singing together, and had some dinner parties. “And then we realised that it was a very cathartic and healing thing for us to get together and sing, so we just kept doing it.” Realising they were onto something good, the group laid down some recordings in a shed on the Londons’ property, wanting to capture their pandemic project before Thorn returned to her home base in Utah. But her plans changed and she stayed in WA, and The Red Tails continued making music together, expanding from a pandemic outlet to a fully-fledged musical project. “The pandemic sort of brought a sense of yearning for connectedness with people, like we needed to connect,” she said. “Because it seemed like the world on the outside was falling apart, personally a lot of people were reaching for connection on different levels, and fortunately we were able to find it through singing together.” The Red Tails play all original songs, some written together as a band, others written as part of different projects but never used. Those initial recordings of 15 songs are now forming their first album, currently in the mixing phase, which Thorn expects to be out by the end of the year. For the meantime, they are getting back into playing live, after going without a gig for six months. Their rehearsals happen at home in the afternoons, “right before all our kids get off the bus”, around the kitchen table. “That’s the best format for what we do, for harmony singing, where you’re actually sitting and looking at each other,” she said. “It’s a very intimate space and setting and you can self-correct and balance really easily. “And I think when you see us perform on stage, it might come off as sounding intensely rehearsed, but in fact it’s all quite natural, and that’s the beauty of this project — the way it’s come so easily and instinctively for us all.” Even when they are not playing together, the band members can keep tabs on each other’s progress because they live so close together. “I can hear when Simon’s down there rehearsing in his shed, and they can hear me singing on my front porch sometimes when I go out there and I’m belting it out,” Thorn said. “Tammy will send me a text saying ‘sounds good’.” It was the natural surrounds of their Kronkup properties that inspired the group to name themselves after the red-tailed black cockatoos that nest in the area, and to which the group’s members all feel a personal connection. “Through the course of getting to know each other, we all had pretty significant stories to share with each other about the cockatoos around here — experiences we’ve had, or that they were a symbol and a sign at certain times in our lives,” she said. “And when we’re rehearsing here, these guys have got trees all around their place — we’ll be out on the front porch singing, and when they fly over we’re just quiet for a second, and take that moment in together.” The Red Tails will next take to the stage on Saturday as part of the first weekend of the Denmark Festival of Voice. Thorn said the festival was a “perfect” fit for The Red Tails. “What we do is really vocal-focused, because we’re three singers that love singing,” she said. “All three of us are particular styled singers, in that we sing a lot in our high range, all of us. “So it creates this big, soaring sound in a lot of the songs that I just love. “In The Waifs, I’m sort of a harmony singer mostly, and I’m also the high singer, whereas in The Red Tails, I’ve got the lower voice which is really fun and challenging for me personally.” Albany-raised Thorn is looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd, and checking out new artists too. “That’s the fun part of festivals, when we as artists can discover other musicians,” she said. “That’s great because when you’re doing your own gigs and your own tours, you’re not always exposed to what other people are doing.” The Red Tails are scheduled to play at the Denmark Civic Centre at 8pm on Saturday as part of weekend one of the Denmark Festival of Voice.