Wool, wine and Gin's good vibes

VICKI ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 03/02/2012
Gin
MUSICAL TRIO: Dave Baxter (Avalanche City), Gin Wigmore and Don McGlashan (The Mutton Birds) will perfom together at the Classic Hits Winery Tour.

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Who knew? Gin Wigmore is addicted to needles – knitting needles.

While knitting may seem like an unlikely hobby for this self-professed fun-loving party girl, Australian-based Wigmore has ambitions when it comes to this particular handicraft.

"I saw an advert for a volunteer knitting co-ordinator for my local knitting group and I really want the gig," Wigmore laughs.

"It's a group of knitters who get together once a week to sit around, knit, eat scones and have cups of tea, and, if I get the job, I'm going to be co-ordinating the entire experience.

"The job ad said `must have knitting experience'. I was like `my grandma was a knitter' and fibbed and said I knew what I was doing, so I've been spending a lot of my spare time learning how to knit, so I don't look like too much of a fool when I rock up. I bought a book and everything.

"I've started knitting something but I couldn't tell you what it is yet – could be a scarf, could be a jersey, could be a hat – the sky's the limit at this stage. Whatever it is going to be, it's got huge, big holes in it, so I still need to up my game a bit."

Knitting is sure to be a handy hobby on the tour bus this month when Wigmore embarks on the nationwide tour that is the sixth annual Classic Hits Winery Tour. Wigmore is headlining this particular tour among our nation's grapes, with the re-formed The Mutton Birds and Avalanche City rounding out the bill.

"Yeah, imagine me headlining something the legendary The Mutton Birds are playing at? I felt a bit awkward about that at first. But playing gigs in New Zealand is so cool, it doesn't really feel like one's headlining over another. It's a collective bunch of Kiwi musicians and good vibes and, in this case, wine."

Wigmore released her second album, appropriately titled for this coming winery tour, Gravel & Wine, in November 2011. It was recorded in the United States after an "epic journey".

"I've been stoked to have the second album not be a complete failure.

"The impetus for the album came when I was standing around in Sydney going, `What am I?' My manager suggested I go to Memphis and Nashville and drive around exploring these places for a couple of months.

"It couldn't have been a better way for me to find inspiration. I had so many adventures. I was listening to Elvis while drinking moonshine in juke joints. My album was the storybook and my adventures the stories in that storybook."

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While she has previously written tracks based on invented scenarios, or taken a feeling or situation and added poetic licence, Wigmore says that on Gravel & Wine each track is based on a real experience or situation.

"Sometimes the story has been twisted a little but they're all based on real experiences. I needed my songs to be authentic because if I'm still singing these songs 25 years from now ... for an audience to feel it you need to have felt it."

Gravel & Wine follows on from her EP Extended Play and multi-platinum-selling debut album Holy Smoke, which has scored Wigmore four Tui Awards thanks to its catchy, radio-friendly tracks, including I Do, Oh My, Under My Skin and, most recently, Black Sheep.

Wigmore believes her biggest strength is just "getting on and doing it", no matter what other people think or say.

She's always been that way, she says – "feisty and individualistic".

Perhaps the first demonstration of this attribute was when she was a child, determined "to live as a cat".

"I really wanted to be a cat. I refused to walk anywhere. I would only crawl around on the floor.

"I'd insist on my mum bringing me bowls of milk that I'd drink by lapping it up.

"It has never really bothered me what people think of me or how I'm viewed by other people; I'm too busy doing my own thing to care.

"The other thing I remember about being a child was the weird school lunches I'd make. I'd only take what I could reach in the cupboards, so I always had weird lunches – like, I'd take a whole capsicum and that would be it, that kind of thing."

Despite her newfound "headlining" status, Wigmore says she doesn't take success for granted.

"If I didn't have such great fans who keep liking what I do, I'd be completely lost. I know that without them I wouldn't be f...ing doing anything. I'd just be sitting at home doing bad knitting."

Although she laughs that she'd prefer some of her fans kept their clothes on when getting her autograph.

"Boobs. I've signed way too many boobs; I get boobs a lot."

Find out dates at venues here: Classic Hits Winery Tour 2012.

- Canterbury

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