You could very much appreciate Gin Wigmore as you might Amy Winehouse.
The Los Angeles singer, born in New Zealand, has a sad bluesy voice that simply grabs you. And that voice did indeed grab a sold-out room full of eager listeners at the Rock and Roll Hotel Friday night as the audience marveled at her soulful yet girlish sound and struggled to catch a glimpse of the lithe, tattooed blonde behind it.
Similar to the late, great Ms. Winehouse, Gin often sings of bad love and despair. Her powerful voice belies her small frame, and her striking blue eyes look as if they are peering through you from some otherworldy place while she sings as transfixed as you might be.
She closed her main set with “Written in the Water,” a meditation on a lover she really ought to leave and a fine selection from her third album, Blood to Bone (released this summer).
Gin warbled: “I was told not to love him/ I was told not to try/ I was lonely the only till’ he said he’d be mine.”
Watch a performance of “Written in the Water” in Session at Radio New Zealand on July 9, 2015:
Earlier in the set, Gin visited another selection from the new album, “Black Parade,” which evokes themes of coming back after a loss, while another song “Nothing to No One” dwells on the possibility of simply remaining lost except to that one dedicated person.
Gin performed selections from her earlier albums as well, striking a jauntier note on “Dirty Love” from second album Gravel & Wine — two words that might be evoked to describe her dramatic yet sweet voice. The song again evokes a love that is bad for the narrator, playfully equating being left high and dry to being shot down (similar thematically to Cher in “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)”).
Songs like “Don’t Stop” from her first album Holy Smoke might even strike a positively upbeat note with a call to be yourself with “Don’t stop doing what you do.”
Watch a live performance of “Don’t Stop” from an official video on YouTube:
All in all, Gin held the rapt attention of a very crowded room for roughly 15 songs. I don’t offer her as a New Zealander substitute for Amy Winehouse, but honestly I couldn’t help but feel a similar spirit when she walked onto stage and opened her mouth at the Rock and Roll Hotel — her voice passionate and powerful.
I highly recommend you check her out! She performs tonight in Minneapolis and travels along the West Coast for the next 10 days or so before departing for Europe. She performs in Amy’s hometown of London in October, and I cannot help but think she’ll get a warm reception from likeminded soul seekers.