Gig of the Week: Bringing it Home

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On-song Paul Winders feels like he’s playing three hometown gigs at three different places within a fortnight.

The former guitarist with acclaimed Dunedin bands The Verlaines and Valve has just released his superb debut solo album You Can Have It All.

The tracks went down a storm when the 10-song CD was launched at a recent sold-out show in Riverton, where Winders enjoyed a long stint as a teacher.

Last weekend, he and his backing group the Goodness pulled off another roof-raising performance in his old stamping ground of Dunedin.

This Saturday night the Goodness will crank out the tunes in Arrowtown – where Winders is sports coordinator at the local primary school.

“It’s like all three gigs have been in front of a home crowd, which is brilliant,” he says. “Things couldn’t have got off to a better start.”

Winders, 44, embraced the big stage when touring the United States with The Verlaines in the 1990s, playing alongside top names such as Pavement, Buffalo Tom and Yo La Tengo.

But You Can Have It All marks a new beginning for the far-travelled songwriter, who admits his music has been dark and heavy.

“What I’m doing now is a lot lighter than before so there’s quite a departure going on,” he explains. “I guess this is about shedding your skin and getting into the goodness.”

The dad-of-three’s music also helped him through dark times as his late wife – noted Southland artist Cathy Tane – lost a long battle against cancer in early 2007.

He’s come through the other side to find love again with new partner Janey Wallace, also a teacher at Arrowtown Primary.

They’ll wed at Lake Hayes in January.

“It was Janey who told me that if I didn’t pick up the phone and book a recording studio to do the album, then she would,” Winders says.

“I had the songs lying around and had been talking about it for quite a while.”

At Arrowtown Hall, Winders will be joined by the band that was alongside him on the CD sessions.

The Goodness features his sister Kiri Winders on bass and backing vocals, ex-Valve drummer Jeff Harford, Stephen Hayes on guitar/squeeze box and backing vocalist Stephen Stedman.

There’s also music from at least three support acts, including Winders’ niece Devon Winders, talented Arrowtown youngster Stephen Bartlett plus The Hayes Family.

Another bonus is that anyone going along will also get a free copy of You Can Have It All when picking up a ticket.

“The idea really worked well in Riverton and Dunedin because it meant virtually the whole audience knew the songs before coming to the gig,” Winders says.