Local tree changer musician Greg Windred is a passionate performer who is making waves in the soundscape throughout the New England. FOCUS caught up with Greg to find out a little more about the man behind the music…
For those who don’t know, who is Greg Windred?
I am a singer/songwriter, currently from Armidale, living here for three years.
What brought you to this region?
My wife got a job in town. She was worried about what I would do up here and I said, “No worries” – we’d been to Armidale once before and liked it, so let’s go! It’s a lovely place. We like the four seasons; you know you’re alive when you get up on a winter’s morning, and it’s not too hot in the summer time.
What instruments do you play and what genre do you class yourself in?
I’m a guitarist and singer and consider my main instrument as my voice. I’ve played acoustic, electric, and slide guitar, for many years. My music in many ways defies genre. I like so many different genres myself; it probably has elements of folk, minor elements of country, plus blues and rock. I have an old rock voice and like to tell a folk story in my songwriting.
What do you write songs about?
When I write I like to talk about real things and themes I feel deeply about. I usually don’t like meaningless cliché music without a message or point to it. I haven’t always been passionate about things such as environmental issues, mental health, war and refugees, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen local, national and global deterioration, and it’s not something I can let go. I say this in my songs.
When you play, do you have an accompanying band?
I have played solo in the past, but have also had people accompanying me, such as my band here in Armidale. I appreciate and respect these guys, because they are all accomplished musicians themselves.
Who are they?
I have Steve Harris playing the drums, Mick Houlahan playing stand up bass, and Al Finco playing French horn, which is definitely a point of difference – an old rock singer with a French horn player. I have always loved cello and the French horn fills a similar sonic space, which can be sassy and mellifluous, calming and haunting. Great to see on stage.
Are you currently recording?
I am looking to record in the future, within the next few months, hopefully with some elements recorded in a local space.
Do you have some gigs coming up?
We are playing Saturday 23rd September at Mc Crossin’s Mill, Uralla, which will be an exciting gig, because the sound we are producing is really about four musicians intertwining, rather than singer as central. There’s some experimentation and improvisation, with an acoustic and electric soundscape. This makes the experience interesting for us and the people listening to it.
What can the punter expect when they see you live?
I like to get the message across and get people engaged! My music ranges from gentle, almost melancholy or lilting, through to folky story telling, through to louder rock influences. It is a rollercoaster, weaving in and out of those moods, which is something I probably learnt from the first time watching Springsteen play. He held an audience in the palm of his hands, taking them through different ranges of emotions, which is something that has always stuck with me, and I like to do that too. Particularly having a band with me, we can create an interesting journey. Songs can expand and evolve this way, and it’s new and fresh each performance.
What does Greg do beyond the stage?
You’ll find me visiting family in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, hiking in the bush, or walking my little dog around town. I also enjoy a drop at my favourite bar, The Welder’s Dog.
Do you have advice for aspiring musicians?
I am not sure I’m in a position to offer advice, but it is difficult to make a career out of music, so one should be prepared that this may not happen. The one way to get through this, is to be passionate about music and love what you’re doing, and sometime’s that is all you need. The business side of music can be cutthroat, so everyone must find their own niche. If it’s meant to be, dive in! Keep creating music and loving what you do.
How do we find your music?
My album Drought and War is available from all good musical establishments in Armidale, such as Reader’s Companion, Black Dot Music, as well as Band Camp, Facebook. This album has been a journey for me, and I love when people hear this and are touched with the range of messages I want to get out there.