Here's the announcement re: Belinda leaving, from their latest mailing: -
The Winterset and Belinda O'Hooley part ways.
Bit of a surprise, isn't it. As you can probably tell with the way we've slipped it in amongst some other news, we don't want to make a big deal of it. We know there are fans who will want to know every detail, but we hope you will appreciate that as a band, we have undergone a period of personal trauma, we're feeling bruised and tired, and would prefer a minimum of fuss and questions.
We would really prefer to maintain a dignified silence and not pass comment on the parting at all, but that is how we handled our departure with Jackie Oates, and it only led to speculation and incorrect assumptions.
The situation with Belinda is very complex and one that has been foreseeable for some time. It is far more complicated, but in essence, Belinda didn't want to be in the band anymore, for personal reasons outside of the band, which we will not disclose or speculate on. Consequently, the more successful we became, and the more commitments we were afforded, the more untenable Belinda's position in the band became. Any piece of good news for the band was essentially bad news for Belinda, because it meant doing more of something she didn't want to do. Her unwillingness to embrace and naivety about the increased commitments that come with success meant that we were having to say no to opportunities, and we were finding ourselves in embarrassing and unprofessional situations.
Belinda was self-willed enough to say no to things we needed to do, but not strong enough to say she didn't want to be in the band, creating an unnecessarily long period of confusion and conflict. Given that we had all made a pact to commit to a full time year on the band, this was a big let down. So although losing Belinda is undoubtedly a blow to us in some respects, it is a relief in others, much as it will undoubtedly and understandably be a relief to Belinda. It allows us to continue performing and creating without the demoralising effect of someone in our ranks pulling in the opposite direction.
We mean no malice towards Belinda in communicating any of this. We hope we have imparted information, rather than opinion, and kept our opinions to ourselves. We gravely doubt our wisdom in communicating anything at all about the split in public, but the rumour-mongering that followed the last change in line-up upset us in a very deep way. The response this time is one made in defence, not attack, and with regret.
It will come as a surprise to many - given the success we have had in the past six months, and the euphoric, celebratory atmosphere of our shows - that we have been suffering from such stressful inner-wranglings. We hope you don't feel tricked! It has been very hard, for us all...including Belinda.
The response from audiences to our shows in the past six months has been a real source of encouragement, for which we are very grateful. The last thing we want to do is wash dirty linen in public, or taint good memories we have had in the past few years, but past experience has told us that if you don't speak for yourself, no one will! Or is it "everyone will"?!