It’s no secret that the Winton family have a long and much-hyped history with the people and place of Albany.
Oldest boy Tim is the Miles Franklin Literary Award-winning author of novels including Cloudstreet, Breath and Dirt Music.
Tim’s father, John, was a policeman in Albany during his children’s formative years of surfing the region’s beaches and attending Albany Senior High School (all of which inspired Tim’s Lockie Leonard series).
So Andrew — 12 years Tim’s junior — could be forgiven for feeling a bit like the “other” Winton.
But he’s made a solid reputation in a different but no less creative field all on his own.
Specialising in lapslide instruments (custom guitars played while resting on the knees), the musician has brought his crowd-pleasing mash-up of blues, folk and pop to Albany in the past and is looking forward to heading south again while accompanying dad John, now in his 80s, who is taking part in a local oral history project.
He will play at The White Star this Friday night.
Winton’s latest addition to his instrument collection is the Lucky 13, a 13-string guitar custom-built for him by a company in the United States, which he took on tour to Nashville and New Orleans last year.
“It’s this big beast that’s been carved out of a cypress tree root in the swamps of Alabama, so it’s a really bizarre thing,” he said.
“When it arrived, I was a bit shocked, actually.
“One neck is like a bass guitar and one neck is a normal guitar, and it kind of has a whole band sound to it, so it’s really fun.
“I’ve probably painted myself into a corner. Another company in the east are doing the same thing, so I’ve become a guinea pig.”
Having spent the better part of 10 years in the music game, Winton says it’s things like new instruments, tours built on the back of endorsements and the occasional award (in 2012 he took home the APRA Songwriter of the Year award) that helps to keep him interested.
“With each new instrument, you have to develop a new technique and everything,” he said. “Now I’ve got this house full of weird instruments that no one else can play.”
The day after his White Star gig, Winton will headline a fundraising concert at Albany Entertainment Centre for Albany MP Peter Watson’s election campaign.
He will be joined by folk legend Bernard Carney, local country-blues songstress Simone Keane, award-winning songwriter and guitarist Craig Sinclair and harmonica master Bob Lipinski.
The performance starts at 7.30pm and tickets range from $19.90 for full-time students to $39.50 for adults. To book, phone the Albany Box Office on 9844 5005.Entry to Winton’s White Star show, which begins at 9pm, is free.