Andrew Winton
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Andrew Winton

Scarborough, Western Australia, Australia | INDIE

Scarborough, Western Australia, Australia | INDIE
Solo Blues Acoustic


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"Late bloomer takes the pressure down"

Andrew Winton talks with simplicity and humility about the decision a few years ago to make music his main job. After a degree in jazz guitar and decades of playing in bands that “nearly made it”, Winton’s venture into solo work and success has come late in his career.

The Decompression Chamber is his latest solo guitar album, his third in as many years. It is a collection of pert reflections written for the exceptional handmade guitar Winton acquired late last year.

When Victorian luthier David Worthy offered to make an instrument for Winton, he was asked to make a guitar that “sounded like a piano and was a bit of a one-off in the world”. The “Wintonbeast” was created: a seven-string guitar with its own secret tuning system and an extended neck to secure a bass string.

Winton’s tour with the unique instrument earlier this year sparked interest around the nation. After more than 40 concerts entertaining huge festival crowds and tiny town halls of people, Winton nearly ran out of CDs. He has now played at most major folk festivals in Australia and done gigs with Lucky Oceans, Harry Manx, Ash Grunwald and Geoff Achison. Winton describes himself as a “late bloomer” but it’s his journey to this point that has brought the richness to his music. The Decompression Chamber stands apart for its sophisticated lyrics, Winton’s matured singing voice and his skilful, jazz-informed arrangements.

Each song draws from a different part of Winton’s background, from blues to pop to bluegrass to folk music in a style roughly termed roots music. Winton demonstrated his diversity at the CD launch on Sunday night at Fremantle’s Fly By Night Club. His set included and edgy Ben Harper-style funk in A Perfect Time, a dark, rambling blues style in Let You In and a sweeter pop tune, Too Hard Again, which has been picked up by radio stations around the country.

Winton’s display of musical expertise, combined with his talent for musical storytelling, kept the audience rapt. His insatiable creativity has found an outlet in the versatile new guitar and it makes for fascinating listening. Guitar solos were melodically well spaced and always rhythmically interesting with sudden changes of direction or pauses, like rhythmic speed bumps.

Winton’s lyrics (poetry is probably a more accurate term) are profound, with a salty, dryly humorous edge, earning comparisons with John Butler and Ben Harper. “I find it difficult to write simple clichés,” Winton says modestly. “I guess I try to write about deeper things: spiritual stuff; reflective, contemplative material.” Lucky Boy is about enjoying simplicity, Moving On deals with changes in life, while Too Hard Again is a piece of social commentary about people “who want to get involved in issues but get distracted by shopping and home renovations”.

The album draws on Winton’s broad interests and experiences as a music teacher, school chaplain, father and social activist. As the CD liner notes explain, Decompression Chamber was written “so that people who have been under high pressure can be gradually returned to ‘normal’ atmospheric pressure”.

On Sunday night, the relaxed vibe was further enhanced by the support act, Iris, a five-part female a capella group. The voices of Karen Winton, Carmel Harris, Kristen Arnott, Coralie Kan and Sarah Tunzi blended in beautiful arrangements of originals and gospel numbers. Their candid sharing, warm personalities and stunning voices made them instant crowd-pleasers.

Rosalind Appleby
The West Australian
Friday June 23, 2006
- The West Australian

"Album Reviews"


The first thing you should know about W.A.-based Andrew Winton is that he’s
a seriously good guitarist who plays in a percussive manner on a custom-made
7 string instrument called the Wintonbeast. In addition to lap steel, dobro and electric guitar, he also performs bass, drums, percussion, stompbox and xylophone on his latest album.

Winton has an expressive voice, with high register bias, and his singing is
reminiscent of Sting on at least one song. He is joined on some tracks by
his wife, Karen, who adds excellent lead and harmony. (Their baby, Rory,
chips in on one song!). Perth cello master Peter Grayling contributes to two
of the more upbeat songs, while banjo whiz Ian Simpson lends a bluegrass edge to one of the album’s three instrumental tracks,’The Nullarbor Mountain

In company with some of Australia’s finest singer-songwriters, most notably
Jeff Lang, Winton uses a blues base for many of his creations, slipping into
jazz grooves, even gospel mode, here and there. On The Decompression
Chamber, his third album, he tips his hat to Skip James (Hard Time Killing
Floor Blues) and Muddy Waters (Baby Please Don’t Go), though wisely not
attempting to impersonate the American blues legends. The album’s only other
cover is among the finest versions of the much-recorded Scottish folk
standard ‘Black is The Colour of My True Love’s Hair’ this reviewer has heard. The song’s inventive intro illustrates Winton’s deft touch on guitar, a point underlined more fully in the album’s instrumentals, of which
‘Hyperactivity’ brings to mind the work of the late, great UK-based US
player Isaac Guillory.

Winton’s originals have a quirky quality, which the artist refers to as,
"contemporary suburban existentialist vaudeville humour". The opening lines
of ‘Ain’t Gonna Get It’ are typically enigmatic: "Boy running home in a daze
/ Wants the supermodel in the yo-yo craze / Mother’s purse had nothing
inside / Indignatious talking on his mother he tried/ Givin’ it up; givin’it up".

Andrew Winton is touring during April, and will be playing at the Brunswick
Music Festival in Melbourne, the National Folk Festival in Canberra and the
Fairbridge Festival in W.A. By all accounts, he is an entertaining and
engaging live performer. Catch him while you can!

Tony Hillier
Rhythms Magazine April 2006

- Rhythms Magazine

"Music Feature: Andrew Winton Solo Man"


Emerging local roots artist Andrew Winton is about to launch his latest album The Decompression Chamber at the Fly By Night Musicians Club on Sunday, June 18. The launch also marks the end of Winton’s national tour. Mike Wafer popped a few questions Andrew’s way.

Being a solo performer is not without its difficulties, but for a musician as gifted as Winton single status allows him a lot of room to play. Mastering several instruments over several different disciplines – from melodic to percussive and back again – Winton’s voice, his message, is reiterated in every sparkle of sound to be heard on Decompression Chamber.

Feeling at home with a slide instrument on his lap, the dreadlocked Winton is the very model of today’s blues ‘n’ roots players. His music fits the bill, he looks the part, and he’s concerned with things a little more substantial than your average Joe. “I always start with the melody and then write the lyrics around it, which is hard, “ he admits. “Roots artists tend not to write about chicks and cars (laughs) so you’ve got to put in a bit of effort to work good lyrics around a melody. I’ve tried to write about chicks and cars in the past, but I’m just not very good at it,” he adds with a laugh.

Much like folk music historically provides a cultural vessel for the people’s message, so too does today’s roots music. Artists such as Winton, John Butler, and Ash Grunwald are connecting with people of indiscriminate age groups because their words are touching upon human truths; be they personal or political. That, and the music is such good fun.

Winton, unlike many other ‘solo’ artists, takes having fun with music to a new level…especially when it comes to the studio. “I play all the instruments myselt, so it’s a bit tricky,” he says. “Anything with a [drum] kit in it I tend to start with the kit, and then layer the other instruments from there. There’s other stuff that’s just slide and vocals, so that’s a lot easier. Genereally I play along to a click and then fill it up with different instruments. I try not to go too overboard though, because I do want to be able to recreate the music live.” To do this Winton obviously needs accomplices, and for his launch he has prepared a full band to storm the stage. Unlike most bands, however, Winton’s is far from sweating this show. “To be honest we haven’t even rehearsed yet,” he says with only a mild laugh. “Everyone has their parts and we all know what we’re doing, so we’ll just get up there on the night and play it out. It’ll be fine.”

Confidence such as this comes from the reassuring knowledge that the musicians Winton jams with are of the utmost standard. Given he played all of the instruments on Decompression Chamber himself, Winton knows the parts inside out, and thus knows when a hired gun gets the vibe. Collaboration is nothing new for Andrew Winton though, at least not in this live capacity. Having shared the stage (literally) with a whole host of male and female solo artists, there is capacity for collaboration in Winton that belies his solo status. His love of sharing music with other musicians appears to be as great as his love of sharing it with music fans.

As a songwriter though, Winton is driven by his love of slide instruments. One in particular he mentions seems particularly intriguing. “I have a seven string slide guitar which you actually play like a piano,” Winton explains. “You have to get harmonic with it”. “But I pretty much always start a song with a slide guitar and let that drive the song. Sometimes I start with something else, but slide is definitely where I’m most comfortable.”

Kin of famed author Tim Winton, Andrew’s family name is far from unrecognised in Australia, and Andrew’s contribution to this is growing rapidly. Earning critical praise and fan adulation across the country, Winton is fast becoming a staple of the country’s most prestigious festivals and events – a sure sign he’s on the right track.

For someone so young to be as established as he is also reveals how effectively roots music is connecting with people at this point in time. Perhaps as an alternative to the slick pop world, or even more likely as an alternative voice to that of the authoritarian masses, roots music has found an ear like never before. Winton is part of this groundswell, and although he has not quite reached the household status of John Butler, he is taking all the right steps.

Mike Wafer
xpressmag (Perth, WA)
- Xpress Magazine

"CD Review"

CD Review:

Artist: Andrew Winton
Album: The Decompression Chamber
Produced by Andrew Winton and Dave Parry
Independent Release 2006

I have always admired the skill and precision of lap-steel guitar players. These guys seem to be able to balance themselves right out there on the edge, dancing their slides just millimetres between the bounds of musical heaven and hell, with no margin for error and no frets to save them….and all the while managing to coax absolutely wicked sounds from those shimmering steel strings.

Good lap-steel players can sound exceptional, which brings us to Andrew Winton. Andrew is the guy who was voted the best performer on the 2006 ASA Awards Night for his rendition of his award-winning song “Lucky Boy”.

Andrew is from the acoustic folk, roots and blues school of music, with just an occasional touch of bluegrass and commercial pop. His music has an edgy air to it, which seems to go hand in hand with this type of “fringe” performance. His music is reminiscent of contemporaries such as John Butler and Harry Manx.

The Decompression Chamber is very much a grass-roots album, and features Andrew on vocals plus a variety of guitars including acoustic, electric, dobro, bass, and lap-steel, as well as the seven-string “Wintonbeast”, which was made especially for him by Melbourne luthier David Worthy of Worthy Guitars. Andrew’s guitar technique combines finger-picking, flat-picking and slide. He is a seriously good guitarist, and excels at all of these styles.

His mastery of these guitar forms is on full display on the three instrumental tracks on the album, “Hyperactivity”, “The Nullabor Mountain Boys”, and the delightfully airy “The Decompression Chamber”, as well as on his solos on the vocal tracks.

The album is a combination of Andrew’s own songs, plus some traditional and standard blues numbers. The stand-out tracks include Andrew’s own “Lucky Boy”, “Numbers Down”, “A Perfect Time”, and “Too Hard Again”.

The album also features a refreshing acoustic version of the much-covered Muddy Waters classic “Baby Please Don’t Go”, which is worthy of repeated listens. To back up his live credentials, the album also features a live version of the Skip James’ classic “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues”.

Andrew’s songwriting is just right for his chosen style- no sweet boy meets girl lyrics here- just strong, thoughtful, reflective, sometimes quirky, and often insightful stories of life and living- but with tunes strong enough to catch the imagination of the general music public.

Andrew’s vocals range from the light and tuneful “Lucky Boy” to the deep and dirty “Let You In”. In all, his vocals are just about right for this type of music- bluesy, raw and raspy on occasions, but all the time very expressive, and in tune with the material that he is singing. Andrew is ably assisted on vocals by his wife Karen Winton, who acts as both a melodic partner, and as a melodic foil to some of Andrew’s darker vocal moments.

The Decompression Chamber is distributed by MGM and can also be downloaded from the iTunes Music Store.

The CD liner notes define The Decompression Chamber as “A space in which pressure can be reduced slowly so that people who have been under high pressure can gradually be returned to normal atmospheric pressure.”

I think that Andrew’s album well and truly achieves this.

Track Listing

Numbers Down
Ain’t Gonna Get It
A Perfect Time
Hyperactivity (Instrumental)
Too Hard Again
Lucky Boy
Hard Time Killing Floor Blues *
The Nullabor Mountain Boys (Instrumental)
Baby Please Don’t go **
Moving On
Let You In
Black Is The Colour Of My True Love’s Hair ***
The Decompression Chamber (Instrumental)

All songs written by Andrew Winton except * Skip James, ** Muddy Waters *** Traditional.

Alan Gilmour
Australian Songwriters Association Inc.
September 2006

- Australian Songwriters Association


The Decompression Chamber

If you’re into John Butler trio then you will love this one! Andrew Winton’s 3rd album release features an engaging and authentic style – crossing blues, roots, pop, bluegrass and gospel genres. Andrew has a unique and quirky outlook on life that is conveyed in his songs and employment of guitars, stomps, great vocals, humour, and original songwriting. Winton also plays an Australian designed 7 string lap guitar called the ‘Wintonbeast’! We eagerly await his Queensland tour dates!

Catie Swan
Tsunami Magazine (QLD) April 2006
- Tsunami Magazine

"CD Comment"


I’m the Wednesday morning breakfast announcer on PBSfm. A couple of years ago I featured Barrel O Monkeys on my show and got some great reaction. I’m sitting here on a Sunday morning simply overwhelmed by The Decompression Chamber! It is immediately one of my favourite albums of 2006 and I’m only up to track three! Lyrically strong and melodically rich, Andrew’s playing is superb, the arrangements are stunning, the production outstanding. What more can anyone want? This is an album to listen to late at night, early in the morning, whilst driving. It is an album to listen and love.

John Carver
PBSfm Melbourne
- PBSfm Melbourne

"Winton just making it work"


When he spoke to the Herald recently Andrew Winton had just returned from a 40-show road trip that had taken him to all states but Queensland. Assisted by an ArtsWA grant, that he said helped pay for a new gear box for his overworked car, Winton was accompanied by his wife and musical partner Karen and their infant child as they drove from gig to gig and to many of the east coast’s major festivals.

“It was fun and a nice experience and we’ve been invited back to the festivals so that was good,” Winton said. Winton grew up in Scarborough and his first introduction to the wider world of music was through listening to his older brother’s records. “Things like Frank Zappa and Deep Purple and some country and jazz things crept in so that was my access point,” he said. The fledgling guitarist’s musical education was rounded out with a stint studying jazz at the WA Conservatorium and time spent in cover bands and as a member of Adam Brand’s country band. “After a while I tired of other people’s projects and in 2003 I decided to go solo,” Winton said.

Playing and watching others at the Fairbridge Festival and the encouragement of local music veterans like Peter Grayling and Steve Barnes gave Winton the inspiration to push on. Fremantle’s Lucky Oceans was another to provide support.

Over the years he has developed a blues-based sound fuelled by jazz, bluegrass, gospel and funk influences and provided with an unusual edge due to his strange guitars and propensity towards boredom. “While there’s a blues energy to what I do I like artists who are on the edge like Eric Bibb or Harry Manx,” Winton said, “I can’t just listen to 12-bar blues all night, I like to marry different styles.”

Winton helps to keep himself interested by playing a variety of instruments including a seven stringed instrument made by Victorian guitar maker David Worthy that looks like a lute and has strange tunings. “It sounds and plays more like a piano,” Winton explained, “no guitar rules come into play so you have to be inventive. It’s frustrating but exciting and I don’t get bored”.

When it comes to composing his own songs Winton says he is usually moved by sounds that speak to him emotionally but finds dealing with words difficult. Winton says he remains inspired by acoustic music: “It’s just you and a piece of wood or a piece of metal and you can either make it work or you can’t.”

Andrew Winton will launch his latest CD The Decompression Chamber at the Fly By Night on Sunday June 18.

Les Everett
June 13 2006
Fremantle Herald
- Fremantle Herald

"Andrew Winton profile of a guitarist and songwriter"

Andrew Winton profile of a guitarist and song writer

Slide guitarist, humourist and song writer who was inspired by the Fairbridge Festival to pursue a solo career.

Andrew Winton grew up in Perth, Western Australia liking an odd range of music. From playing in bands and pursuing someone else’s passion, he’s developed a solo career based on just a “box of wood and a voice”. Now a regular at festivals around Australia, he has a CD out which showcases his playing and songwriting.

Fairbridge Festival was the catalyst for the decision to go solo. Up till then, he’d played in a variety of bands in a variety of styles – jazz, rock, country. Talented on guitar and lap slide, he still mixes blues, gospel, pop and other roots styles. What he saw at Fairbridge which inspired him, were performers who could entertain simply without gimmicks. Gimmicks like amplification or the latest sound making instrument. Playing acoustically, he feels, is more of a craft.

Two years ago Andrew made the commitment to develop a solo career. It’s slow going he says, when you’re working at the grass roots level. But just the same, the CD Barrel O Monkeys has done well and gigs are steady enough to allow him to take this last 12 months off to devote top music. On stage, he’s often joined by Karen Winton and bassist Bob Thomson, so it’s not an entirely lonely journey.

As for fortune and as for fame – well money would mean developing a long term music career. Andrew’s not interested in the big house and rock star trappings. Nor is he interested in rock star fame. In the music industry, notoriety tends to be fickle. His brother’s profile as a writer means that fame has always been in the background. It’s a normal part of life, says Andrew, that none of the family take much notice of. His parents are supportive but then they’d support their boys whether they were bricklayers or anything else.

The Winton parents aren’t particularly musical. Though interestingly, the paternal grandfather also played slide guitar in vaudeville bands. Andrew credits his brother’s record collection with planting the seeds of his passion. Of his songwriting ability, he feels that early exposure to “odd stuff” has affected his style. He mentions the likes of Frank Zappa and Yes as examples of music which takes the rock genre a step further. While his own songs end up “accessible” and “understandable”, they start off life in a far more complex form.

Sharon Kennedy
ABC South West WA
April 7 2004
Australian Broadcasting Corporation Online
- Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Online

"Inspired Shenanigans"

Inspired Shenanigans
Andrew Winton

Having first seen Andrew at the Fairbridge Festival earlier this year and been impressed with his very personal, quirky take on American traditional and blues music styles, it was a delight to see him taking a higher profile with the launch of his excellent first CD, Barrel O Monkeys.

A brisk bracket of Celtic-style tunes opened proceedings. Played by Dave Hyams and Stephanie Nicholls on guitar and fiddle, and all written by Hyams, got things underway, but suffered a bit from the distractions and noise of audience arrivals.

Winton plays guitar, slide guitar, dobro, mandolin and ukelele, and what he calls “voice shenanigans”. Indeed he is bending all of these things to his own purposes with immaculate taste, skill and assurance, and a playful attitude that is refreshing and very entertaining.

He was supported by huis core group: his wife Karen on vocals, Emma White on cello and Bob Thomson on double bass – not to mention a few talented ring-ins for the evening.

But he was solo on the opener, launching into the title track, an instrumental featuring lovely, deft slide guitar, hitting the strings to add percussion to a driving rhythm. The whole thing busy and cheeky, just like the title. The audience erupted.

The standard never dropped from there. Mercy, a forgive me song, featured lovely close harmonies with his wife Karen, and a striking delicate/complex arrangement. Then a very catchy, wordy song about eternal damnation, with a humorous twist of course. Andrew’s idea of hell – the office – full of clever word play, deft vocals and audience participation. The latter were hesitant at first but they soon got the idea.

It says a lot about Winton’s genuinely warm stage presence (the sort of thing you can’t really fake) that there was little resistance to this sort of thing, in fact more like gusto. And more fun with Fatty Hambone, in which a brave couple of strangers from the audience were induced to keep rhythm with some mutual thigh slapping! They seemed to overcome any reserve they felt relatively quickly.

Along with the high jinks, there were some beautiful, moving moments – Whales in the Bay, a lovely, sorrowful slow blues on slide guitar that came from a Cheynes Beach holiday, and Coming To Life featuring more of those Winton and Winton close harmonies.

A favourite of mine from the Fairbridge concert, Right Lane Driver, with its blues/cool jazz slap and loping bass, stood out again, bringing Steely Dan to mind. I might mention here that the sound for the evening was of the highest quality, considering the variety of instruments and combinations, and I might make particular mention of Bob Thomson’s double bass which was wonderfully deep and resonant.

But in the end it is the engaging presence of Winton himself that made the evening so special. He wears his great skills lightly, apparently serenely relaxed, and having fun – two things he very generously passes on to his audience.

The West Australian
Ken Ferguson
August 5 2003
- The West Australian

"Surface Tension & tour reviews up to May09"

Andrew Winton
Surface Tension
No one can say Andrew Winton, who is the brother of novelist Tim Winton, is not eclectic.
On this appealing album he dallies with cool jazz (Surface Tension), does a strong impression of Sting (King of Pain), nods towards Eric Clapton (Love Paints A Picture), sounds more than passingly like a refugee from some sweet English electric folk outfit from the late 1960s (The Late Bloomer and Standing On Shoulders), pays homage to great guitar stylists like Leo Kottke and John Fahey (The Avant Gardener), delivers raw Delta blues (Nobody’s Fault But Mine) and offers a fine interpretation of Skip James’s Devil Got My Woman.
This is not to suggest that Winton is some kind of human jukebox. Vocally he really does sound like Sting and, when it comes to playing guitar, he is a sublime stylist who is aware of the masters and can play effortlessly in a wide range of acoustic styles. This is an album of great gentleness and sensitivity. It is tempting to describe it as “dirt music” but surely he is tired of comparisons with his hugely talented brother. Bruce Elder (Sydney Morning Herald)

Andrew Winton
Surface Tension
Review: Ara Jansen
There are plenty of artists clogging up the roots-surf-rock-blues genre and listening to many of them is like paddling through the soapy water of a washing machine. Lost to the siren’s call of self-indulgence, some of them are just boring.
Up against that, Andrew Winton is a lighthouse. His trick is to constantly change things but he never strays too far, keeping listeners on an interested but even keel rather than subjecting us to the same song 14 times. He’s proudly wearing influences, whether it’s The Late Bloomer (Sting meets west coast rock), successfully reinventing a cover of Sting’s King Of Pain without sounding naff, channelling the sweetness of American troubadour Edwin McCain or offering up a bluesy Don’t You Listen.
Winton’s beauty is the clarity of his playing. It’s uncluttered, easy to get your head around and a joy to listen to as the music dances to the warm enthusiasm of his lyrics. Mixing vocal and instrumental pieces Winton deftly strokes his lap steel, acoustic, Dobro, electric guitar and his own Wintonbeast alongside a band of friends. Perfectly titled, this album tracks the ebb and flow of a hopeful world on a local release with world-class potential. Ara Jansen (The West Australian)

Winton’s Summer
Andrew Winton will be everywhere this summer. Catch him if you can.
The first thing you notice about West Australian player, Andrew Winton – if you do a little research, as we music writers are wont to do – is the extent of his touring over the next few months. One glance at the gig listings on his MySpace site had me raising my eyebrows in amazement; we’re talking 68 shows from time of writing until late April, including five sets at Woodford, and four at the Newstead Live festival in Victoria and the Australian Blues Festival up in Goulburn. It seems Andrew Winton isn’t one to sit around waiting for the phone to ring, although it must be said in this instance that Winton’s more-than-hectic schedule is due to the release of his fourth record (“Well, my third serious one,” he qualifies with a laugh), Surface Tension. It seems, in Winton’s mind anyhow, that now is as good a time as any to get out and hit the road.

“We’re coming over for the MusicOz Awards on Tuesday, and then the week after we head to Sydney to start this massive tour, it’s a bit full-on, I think my wife’s trying to kill me there,” Winton laughs of the size of his tour, booked by his wife, Karen Winton. “It’s great though, there are a few festivals in there too, and we’re basically bringing the kids over and doing the whole thing properly. So it’s basically a push for the new CD – what I often do is come over [to the east coast] for a week of shows, but this time we wanted to be over there for the whole time, get some good press, and we’re doing some shows with Jim Conway as well, so instead of flying over half a dozen times over the summer, we just thought we’d be there…and it may end up being one big chicken raffle, but you may as well get in there, yeah.”

His ambition and drive is admirable, and Winton makes a good point – this tour will take him all the way down the east coast, into South Australia, back to WA for the official Surface Tension launches, and down to Tasmania, so why would he waste time flying across the country, when he could be over there the whole time, making the most of his time by playing shows, spreading the word, getting this record out there. Makes sense to me, and obviously to Andrew Winton. Now, a lot of east coasters may not be familiar with the music of Andrew Winton (yet), and so to label the poor man, Winton’s music is a vague cross between John Butler and Harry Manx. However, Winton is a wizard on the lap steel, particularly the ‘Wintonbeast’, a seven-string guitar/bass which he’s been playing for a few years now, and it’s his mastery of this instrument and the way in which he applies it, that lifts him clear of labels such as the John Butler one, something this dreadlocked west Australian gets a lot.
“Yeah, I’ve never been one to just go in and copy people’s stuff, I guess you just hear it and it amalgamates in your head,” Winton muses. “But I guess I just go with what my gut feels, just play what pleases me and be aware of not copying…I mean every single player in the world plays differently, your body and brain work differently to other people, so while similar phrases might come out, hopefully that’s where the comparisons finish. But they’re unavoidable, those comparisons, they’re useful for people to get a gauge of you.” This is true indeed, and I count myself guilty right here. However, laying comparisons never does a musician justice, and so the best thing to do in this instance, is to listen for yourself, either as part of Winton’s monster tour, or through the new record, Surface Tension, which stands as the follow-up to 2006’s critically acclaimed, The Decompression Chamber. “Yeah, I had this stuff in my head for quite a while, and over a period of time, I just slowly amassed the songs, “ Winton says of how this new one came about.
“There were a couple of things I really wanted to do and a few things that were just made up on the spot, like, there was one track where I got to play with Lucky Oceans and a tabla player. So I guess I have all this stuff in my head and then go and vomit it out in the studio.”
By Winton’s own admission, Surface Tension is a mixed bag to be sure, but you get the feeling by talking to him, that coupled with this massive tour he’s got lined up, this record may well be the one which defines him. “I’m very happy with it,” he confirms – he’s modest. Keep your eyes and ears peeled. Sam Fell (Rhythms Magazine)

Brother load
ROOTS singer Andrew Winton is 12 years younger than his famous sibling, writer Tim. The age difference allowed him from a young age to understand how to follow a dream and see where it leads. He also remembers that “a certain family member”, as he refers to his brother, had financial difficulties while he made his name in literature. The experience didn’t deter Andrew from following his musical heart, but it did afford him a realistic view that a guitar was not necessarily a tool to bring fame and fortune.

He joined country singer Adam Brand’s band for several years, and hard-rock outfit 3PH. A lingering case of tinnitus is a reminder of this period. He went on to complete jazz guitar studies at WAAPA, become reacquainted with the acoustic guitar and developed as a songwriter – ultimately finding a style that emphasises in equal parts his dazzling technique and his solid material.

“We had a family that supported you no matter what you wanted to do,” he says.
“I think that’s the catalyst; that encouragement that said ‘Go for it, but if you get yourself in trouble you have to find your way out’.”

Winton is on a five-month Australian tour to launch his third CD, Surface Tension. And his wife/manager/sometimes backing vocalist and percussionist, Karen, and their two young children are in tow. He says his simple objectives for the tour are to break even and stay married. He’s joking, of course, but is only too aware of the difficulties his career can throw up for someone who is not a household name. And songwriting is frequently a solitary exercise, which can make an artist self-absorbed.
“Even at my little level it’s easy to get trapped,” Winton says. “When touring you get in a bubble. You stop reading the papers, you stop contacting this person or that person and all of a sudden you are the centre of your universe and everyone has to fit around your schedule.”

Surface Tension is out now.
Andrew Winton plays at the South Perth Fiesta opening concert with Ian Moss on Saturday, 5.30pm, Sir James Mitchell Park. Free. Polly Coufos (The Sunday Times)

Winton wings it
One of the festival’s best performances was also one of the worst.
Perth-based blues and roots guitarist Andrew Winton completely won over the large crowd by making mistakes throughout his rocking Sunday afternoon set.
He plugged electrical cords into the wrong holes, forgot the words to his songs, and even forgot which song he was playing.
Winton, who unlike many talented singers is also damn good at talking between songs, lamented his errors with an angry self-deprecating banter which tickled the crowd’s funny bone. One woman was made to sit on stage for laughing too hard. Winton – and yes, he’s the little brother of author Tim Winton – said he had just finished a successful United States tour and came to Canberra to “stuff it up”.
“Nothing went right but actually it was a lot of fun,” he said of the gig.
Winton praised the relaxed, informal atmosphere and forgiving crowd at the festival. He also commended his singing partner and wife Karen, who smiled throughout the performance.
She diplomatically told The Canberra Times the gig had been easier for her because she did not have four guitars to manage. The Wintons finished their flawed gig to roars of applause, and the CD-signing queue was one of the festival’s longest. “People wanted to hear the songs played properly,” Winton said. Cathy Alexander (The Canberra Times, 10.4.07)
- various - see body of text


Places to listen to Andrew's music:

Happy (2012) distributed by MGM Australia or order direct from website
Surface Tension (2009) distributed by MGM Australia, order from website
2 Instructional Lap Slide Guitar DVDs (with heaps of live footage) available from
The Decompression Chamber LP (2006) - distributed by MGM Australia, can be ordered through most record stores and also available on iTunes, receives airplay on ABC Radio National & Local Radio, Triple J, PBSfm Melbourne, and local radio around Australia
Can't Slow Down EP mostly live (2004) - available from 78 Records and Mills Records in Perth Western Australia, or direct from
Barrel O Monkeys LP (2003) - available from Basement Disc Melbourne, 78 Records or Mills Records in Perth Western Australia, or direct from
Whalebone Longboard Surf Classic DVD Soundtrack (2004)




Multi award-winning songwriter and lap slide specialist Andrew Winton shows you how a cypress tree root from Alabama became the Lucky 13 double-neck, 13-string lap monster, in his innovative and captivating display of acoustic music, suburban songstories and vocal mayhem! Andrew is known for his on-stage warmth, humour, and stellar musicianship. He is also recognised for his diverse musical styles with influences ranging through blues & roots, folk, jazz, gospel, funk & country/bluegrass. Andrew continues to attract audiences overseas and at home with his incredible lap slide playing and unique collaborative instrument designs. Andrew has toured Australia & internationally numerous times, and was named the Australian Songwriter of the Year 2012 by the Australian Songwriter’s Association in conjunction with APRA.

"...he is a sublime stylist who is aware of the masters and can play effortlessly in a wide range of acoustic styles...[Surface Tension] is an album of great gentleness and sensitivity." Sydney Morning Herald

"Winton's music is a vague cross between John Butler and Harry Manx. However, Winton is a wizard on the lap-steel, particularly the 'Wintonbeast'...and it's his mastery of this instrument and the way in which he applies it, that lifts him clear of labels..." Rhythms Magazine

“Lyrically strong & melodically rich, Andrew’s playing is superb...” PBSfm

“West Australian Andrew Winton, brother of Tim Winton, has been recognised, both here and overseas, as one of this country's finest lap-slide guitarists. He's so admired that Alabama's Don't Fret Instruments has made him a purpose-built Lucky 13 double-neck 13-string lap slide guitar that he features on this album. The songs range from a bouncy ditty about the joys of being Happy, through to the blues-funk of Too High to a moody reading of Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side and the seductively beautiful folk love song, Waiting. Winton is a talented singer and songwriter but his forte…remains his remarkable guitar playing.” Bruce Elder, Sydney Morning Herald/Canberra Times

“Andrew Winton is a fine guitarist, as evidenced in spades on this, his fourth studio record, Happy. His mastery of acoustic and lap slide along with stompbox and various other percussion have seen him traverse the country multiple times.” Rhythms Magazine

"On his third CD...Winton shows off his complex rhythmic sense. Though it would be tempting to release an album of nothing but hot licks, Winton actually reveals himself to be an excellent songwriter." Vintage Guitar Magazine (USA)

"Winton's beauty is the clarity of his playing. It's uncluttered, easy to get your head around and a joy to listen to as the music dances to the warm enthusiasm of his lyrics...a local release with world-class potential." The West Australian

* Named the APRA/ASA Australian Songwriter of the Year by the Australian Songwriter’s Association (ASA) in December 2012
* Achieved 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, & 7th place in the Folk/Acoustic category of the Australian Songwriter’s Awards 2012; 1st place in the Instrumental category of the ASA Awards 2012; and 3rd & 8th place in the Rock/Indie category, with nearly all songs from his new album, Happy, achieving a place
* Recently named as one of the inaugural patrons of Folkworld Fairbridge Festival (WA) alongside Ben Elton, Lucky Oceans, Bernard Carney and Wendy Were (West Aus Music Industry CEO)
* Recent US tour included showcasing lap guitars for Don’t Fret Instruments in Nashville as part of Summer NAMM, where Andrew garnered attention from Jerry Douglas’ management and signed up endorsement deals with John Pearse strings and others. Andrew also appeared live on state-wide television in Alabama, along with a string of concerts and radio performances.
* Inclusion of Andrew’s song ‘Love Paints A Picture’ to close the Tim Winton play, Signs of Life, which toured nationally including to the Sydney Opera House in 2012.
* Voted the Audience’s Favourite Performer of the Year at the 2012 Fairbridge Festival, ahead of all international and national acts
* Massive national tour of 70+ shows in 3 months to sell-out audiences celebrating the release of studio album number four, Happy. Happy ranked in the top five of the independent radio station’s blues & roots charts for months.
* Feature artist in December 2011 on ABC Radio National’s The Daily Planet.