Ash Grunwald – True Blue
“I played Kaikoura Roots in another era of my career. I was doing solo, but blending a lot of beats and using Ablelton Live, dj’ing with my feet into my tracks, and oh my god, it was like “These people get it”
WORDS BY WAL RIED
Aussie Blues maestro, Ash Grunwald will play four headline shows across the North Island this November in support of his new album ‘Mojo’ – out last month.
“It’s not trying to blend any genres like in the past”, he says. “Or, cross Blues with this, or cross Blues with that. I wanted to make a Blues album and that’s what I did, and then, I fell out of contact for a couple of years and I thought I had lost the album”. ( It was lost through contact with Grammy Award Winning producer Brian Brinkerhoff, who was a fan of his music)
With unique storytelling through song and unleashing an avalanche of rhythmic fury on guitar, Ash will bring his brand-new show to life for Kiwi’s this Summer.
Fans can expect to hear brand new tunes from the upcoming album Mojo, including the latest single ‘Whispering Voice’ (feat. Kasey Chambers) as well as old stomping Ash G favourites ‘Walking’ and ‘Money’, he readily admits to having a soft spot for our country.
“I wish I came to New Zealand more often actually”, he confides. “I played Kaikoura Roots in another era of my career. I was doing solo but blending a lot of beats and using Ableton live and djing with my feet into my tracks, and oh my god, it was like “These people get it”, I love this I’ll be back, I love this country”, and I didn’t come back for ages after that.
“Australia doesn’t get what I’m trying to do but these guys do! They love Beats, they love Dub, they love Hendrix, this is my country, I’m coming back”.
You get excited sometimes and then you never come back for ages”. (laughter) Recorded in the US and Australia, Mojo is Ash’s first new studio album in four years and it has been a real ‘labour of love’.
Check out his latest video ‘Ain’t My Problem feat. The Teskey Brothers’
“I got a new manager, we tracked down the album and we managed to bring it back to Australia”, he retells. “I was able to add some really great special guests like the Teskey Brothers, Mahalia Barnes and Joe Bonamassa, the Blues guitarist from the States. I just feel lucky the way it worked out actually, which just goes to show you, you can’t see the reason why certain things happen sometimes, which puts you on a really weird path.
“Australia doesn’t get what I’m trying to do, but these guys do! They love Beats, they love Dub, they love Hendrix. This is my country, I’m coming back”
“For me, I almost ended up having a little hiatus really, we ended up moving to Bali. I was still playing gigs, but I tried to condense them. If I could do two gigs on the weekend in Australia and fly back to Bali, have two weeks at home then fly back, I was doing this whole routine, it wasn’t as career-focused as the rest of life had been, but I think I needed that. In hindsight I think was a bit of ‘career downtime’.
Joining Ash on all dates, will be Kiwi blues and roots duo Swamp Thing. Made up of multi-instrumentalist Michael Barker and guitar virtuoso Brett Adams, Swamp Thing play every show as if it was their last. With a resume including stints with Split Enz, The Mockers, John Butler Trio and Tami Neilson between them, these guys certainly have a wealth of musical experience.
“When I think of New Zealand, I think of coming over and playing in different eras of my career. So like, coming over to play Womad, I had Vika & Linda, and I did my four-piece band thing and that was a really weird set up, like I was solo. But that was a cool era, that was fun. Then I came back and did solo gigs, and then, another time, I came back and played in a duo with Michael Barker for one night only, which was insanely good. I mean that was a real highlight for me. And he is going to be joining me, because Swamp Thing are going to be playing the shows. I mean they’re supporting, but it will be more like a double bill. I went to his place in Rotorua, we did two rehearsals there and it was awesome”.
With Ash’s signature soul-drenched vocals having the power to move mountains and create positive change, these shows are set to be a fitting start to the Kiwi summer.