Guitarist Jyrki "Muddy" Manninen replaced fellow Finn Ben Granfelt in November 2004. He brings a blues-y style to the band. With Muddy, Wishbone Ash regains a slide guitarist.
Muddy first recorded in 1979 with Red House Blues Band. They cut a single for Love Records. "That band was mostly stuff like Bukka White, The Allmans, Robert Johnson, some Rory Gallagher (one of my first heroes) plus some original stuff," says Muddy.
Later, Muddy joined a Finnish group called Havanna Blacks, and then went on to work in Gringos Locos, a band that also featured Ben Granfelt. Muddy was the main songwriter in Gringos Locos. They recorded three albums, two of which were on their U.S. recording label, Atlantic (the last was released only in Finland).
Gringos Locos toured in the late 1980s, supporting bands like Status Quo.
Through the years, Muddy has played with many Finnish artists, including: Hector, a singer-songwriter who's been around since the mid '60s; Pave Maijanen, a talented singer who can be heard singing background vocals on several Wigwam albums (Finnish prog-rock); and Riki Sorsa, the Finnish Rod Stewart look-alike.
Muddy can be heard rapping with Ben on "Guitar Slinger's Blues" from Gringos Locos' "Punch Drunk" album (produced by Tom Dowd).
As for guitars, Muddy has been a longtime Gibson man "although I got sidetracked a few years ago and played Strats for a while," he says.
"My mainstay is a '57 reissue Les Paul Junior and I have a '61 reissue SG/Les Paul as well (Ollie Halsall played one too). I love the Junior's simplicity and the midrange-y bite. I use a early '70s hardtail Strat for slide (Lowell George, another big influence), and I also have an obscure lap steel, I don't know even its name."
When it comes to amps, Muddy is a tube man. He likes old Marshalls and Fenders. "My main amp is an early '70s 50w Marshall super lead, and for really small places I'll occasionally plug in a '60s Ampeg Gemini combo. But it really doesn't matter what I use, as long as it has got tubes in it."