Ash Flash

I can’t remember another summer with so much free time but it’s not been such a bad thing. With an upcoming autumn/winter date sheet of some 82 shows , the band needed some down time and the ability to recharge our batteries. I know each of us has been enjoying that, visiting some new places, building new relationships and getting physical, with, in my case some paddle-boarding, fishing, yoga and yes, playing music in a much different way than I do on the road.

I’ve been messing around with the mandolin which I love and also getting used to my new Cole Clark acoustic guitar, playing open mic nights with some great players locally courtesy of Fred Ball. This Monday, for example, I played some blues with the JD Seem and Bluephoria at the Georgetown Saloon, a longstanding local venue, which has actually hosted Wishbone Ash in the past.

I’ve also taken in a few shows this summer, as an audience member. Vince Gill came to our local music theatre and that was a great lesson in twin guitar, as applied to Texas swing. Then there was Joe Walsh and a few nights ago, Miss Bonnie Raitt up at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford Connecticut - both excellent rock shows. Of course it’s always a bit of a busman’s holiday for me, as we say in Britain, because you find yourself enjoying the music, but then analyzing the sound and performances and song selections as if it were your own show that was being produced. Bottom line is that there is always something to learn by watching other artists, whether it’s the merchandise they have on offer or the live sound mix or the actual music itself. I’d love to go to concerts a lot more often, but it’s also a very expensive proposition as our fans know. So, I’ll be extracting the most nourishment from our own setlist once we are back on the road in earnest, very shortly.

We just played a couple of festivals in the UK, most notably Weyfest in Surrey England. Next we’ll return to the States for the long haul out to Denver, Colorado by road, which has become something of a tradition as a place to kick off our North American dates.

The Take It Back Tour will kick off at the wonderfully named Soiled Dove venue and will serve as the inaugural tour stop. Talking of sound, they always produce a beautifully balanced live mix at this very cool club.

We’ll work our way east via Kansas and Milwaukee at the great Turner Hall; and the Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville, not far from St. Louis, promises to sell out as usual. What is it about St. Louis and Wishbone Ash? Get your tickets soon, folks.

The East Coast will get a real solid coverage. Connecticut fans, make sure you get tickets soon for Daryl’s House Club and Infinity Hall.

For fans out West and in the Southern United States, I’ll let you know that we are already getting dates confirmed for April. Happily, our very expensive US work permits will stretch to the end of that month.

With a break of 10 days at the end of this month-long American tour, the next stop will be the ‘Disunited’ Kingdom. I’m fascinated to see how things are post-Brexit. I can tell you that already the economics of touring there have changed drastically for the worse, due to the collapsing exchange rate - not good for a company based in the States, like Wishbone Ash LLC. No matter, none of this is going to affect the quality of the music one iota, but please make sure you catch the dates. You never know what can occur in this volatile financial climate and crazy US election year.

For the last 10 dates of the upcoming UK tour, including AshCon which falls once again on the last day of the tour, Aynsley Powell will once again join the band to bring in his special skills in percussion, acoustic guitar and vocals.

By the way, for those who have not had the pleasure of seeing the band at the Grand in Clitheroe, you are in for a treat. It’s a wonderful venue which we have decided to make the home for AshCon this year and Guy Roberts, Andy Yates, Mike Day and Wishbone Ash will be pulling out all the stops to make this a really special event.

This summer, our German agent, Patrik Mertens, has been working very hard to book dates in Germany and Poland as well as Holland and Austria. Europeans will not be disappointed come January and February.

The Tough and Tender Tour will launch in Hamburg at the famous Fabrik, where many will remember the live DVD of our show there was recorded. Anther superb place with fabulous sound and lights and a real special warm rock and roll atmosphere.

In fact there are so many old haunts of ours to be visited in the next few months that I’m personally very excited. I like to catch up with the fans and folks running these places and also visit the often quaint localities, sampling the delights each unique location has to offer. Many of you now make weekends away, to relax, in this way making the shows a highlight of our travels.

Holmfirth is one favorite destination in the UK which is always a great night with plenty to do and see during the day if you like exploring the Yorkshire Dales together with local pubs. Last year in Germany, several Brits made the pilgrimage to Nuremberg another fascinating tourist destination, and the Hirsch there is one of the best venues forming the backbone of the German rock tour circuit. In fact 90% of the venues we work in have owners and promoters who are in it for the long haul and work intensely to keep music live. We and you, the fans, appreciate this, I know, especially in this new age of disposability with everything including music.

We’ve got a couple of new tour shirts to show you that’ll go along with the tour and we’ll be possibly repackaging a compilation or two. The big news on the compilation front, though, is the Snapper Records’ “Wishbone Ash The Vintage Years” deluxe box set that will be out possibly by September 2017. A lot of work has been going into this 32-CD retrospective this summer with ancient 24-track masters being located and licenses achieved from people like Universal Records. It promises to be one of the deepest and best-produced packages ever seen for a band of our pedigree featuring music from 1969 to 1990. A beautiful coffee table book will be part of the whole thing, along with photos, artifacts and historical material. It’ll be like a time capsule for any rock fan to peruse the early years, in depth, from a veteran 47 year-old British rock band. The folks at Snapper are masters of this limited-run production, but even they are foaming at the mouth in terms of the sheer quality of the material they have uncovered. It promises to be one of their finest productions.

Check out the full tour schedule at wishboneash.com/tourdates

Best Bones, Andy

RIP Nigel Gray

Last night, I received the news that Nigel Gray, our producer during the late 1970s and early 1980s, had died. In a year of attrition in the music industry, Nigel's passing still comes as a huge shock. He was not old. Our sincere condolences go out to his family and loved ones.

Really, he was one of the best producers of his era and one of the best that we, as a band, ever worked with. Other artists that he worked with included Godley and Creme, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Hazel O Connor and the Police, of course.

Wishbone did not have big hit albums with Nigel, unlike the Police, but the quality of his work was second to none. He quietly coaxed the best performances out of us, mixing old school production and engineering techniques along with cutting edge concepts in modern production.

Originally medical doctor by profession, on a human level, this probably gave Nigel a quiet consultant - like approach in dealing with outsized musician egos. Personally, I learned a lot from him with regard to attention to detail in recording. He was very much concerned with finding the right groove for a song while all the the while keeping a great sense of fun in the studio during recording sessions. His abilities with guitar sounds, together with his final mixes in particular, were stellar.

To hear an outstanding example of his production, just check out our album Number the Brave, where he worked in Miami's Criteria Studios - an unfamiliar work place for him - bringing forth stellar work from us and translating our ideas into a very contemporary sound at that time. Pauline and I fondly remember times spent with Nigel, his wife and three sons in Miami during these recording sessions.

Nigel - you will be sorely missed.

~ Andy Powell.

Interview With Andy Powell

Check out this new interview with Andy from "The Progressive Room"

Click here to read the interview

Ashcon 2016 Update

As promised I can now bring you more information about our special event and climax of the Autumn UK tour “Ashcon 2016” to be staged at the Grand in Clitheroe on Saturday November 19th.

Doors will open at midday and will kick off with a session from Wishbone Ash Tribute band The Flying V’s. I’m pleased to be able to invite Jeff Grant and his band back to entertain you again as I know that you enjoyed their set at our convention a couple of years ago.

I’m also very pleased to announce that Doris Brendel has accepted an invitation to perform during the afternoon show. Some of you may have seen Doris support Wishbone Ash on part of last year’s tour and I’m sure that you will enjoy her set. Please see www.dorisbrendel.com

The afternoon convention will then reach its high point with a performance by Wishbone Ash. As usual Andy and the boys will try to make this informal session a relaxing prelude to the main event later in the evening.

Doors will re-open at 7pm and I am excited to announce that I have arranged for the evening support to be performed by Xander and the Peace Pirates. Combining soul, blues and rock, their pervasive blend of inspired song writing and memorable performances has already seen them enrapture audiences from around the world. Please see www.xanderandthepeacepirates.com

Then the highlight of the year and climax of the UK tour a full extended set by Wishbone Ash. As usual the band will pull out all the stops to make this show one not to miss. We are hoping to invite a special guest to join the band on stage details to follow.

Tickets are now on sale in the store on www.wishboneash.com or directly from the venue by telephone 01200 421599 or http://www.thegrandvenue.co.uk

Please note that there are a limited number of seats available for the evening show. These will be only on sale by contacting the venue. Anyone wanting a seat I would urge you to book as soon as possible as they are sure to sell out quickly.

Also don’t forget if you are planning on being in Clitheroe on the Friday evening that there will be a performance by Wishclone Ish at the Rose and Crown Hotel on Castle Street organized by our old friend Mike Day.

Finally if anyone is still planning on booking accommodation for the Friday and or Saturday Evening and needs any help or suggestions please contact me at guyroberts@wishboneash.com

See you on the Road

Guy

Ash News

It’s been a while since my last news letter so I thought I’d get everyone up to speed with the events happening behind the scenes.

Our 2 month European Tour is slipping into distant memory along with the cold winter nights and grim weather.

The tour itself was another resounding success. The band even ventured down into Italy and Poland again, along with six other countries.

Believe it or not, we are actually already rebooking dates in a good number of European countries for January, February and March of 2017.

 

2016 Touring Schedule
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The USA fall tour dates will be posted soon on our wishboneash.com website.

This time we’ll revisit the midwest in September and travel back from there to the East Coast.

Hopefully, we’ll be trying for the south and west a little later on.

The UK will follow hot on the heels of this tour in October of 2016 and roll on into November.

Our annual fan convention, AshCon, will conclude this tour on November 19th.

This year the venue will be The Grand (a firm band favourite) in the charming northern town of Clitheroe.

 

In the web store
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We have new stock of the very popular Roadworks box set. This 4 disc set contains live recordings from recent years and is a great representation of the current line up.

For the first time ever, the 2002 album Bona Fide is available on vinyl!

It can said that the modern resurgence of Wishbone Ash over the last 15 years or so started with this album.

The Live in Paris DVD has also been repressed and that is also available at the store in a dedicated PAL version.

For those that missed out on this event, we recorded 3 live shows at the intimate Le Triton Theatre in Les Lilas last year.

The best recordings were taken for the DVD produced by Christian Guyonnet.

These are all available from the web store

Note: If you’re in the U.S. and want a copy of the Live DVD you can order it with the PayPal button here : http://wishboneash.com/blog/post/live_in_paris_dvd_-_available_here_us_only/

 

At home
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Personally speaking, I’m recharging my musical batteries, taking in some shows by artists that I like throughout the summer.

Recently, I saw a great show by Vince Gill and the the Time Jumpers.

Vince is a seriously great guitar player and singer and the show superseded my expectations with plenty of twin guitar harmony work as well as guitar and fiddle duets.

I know Joe has booked tickets to see Steely Dan at Redrocks Amphitheater in Colorado. I was lucky enough to catch them last summer.

We’ll all be looking forward our dates in September with a revamped setlist and perhaps we’ll publish that ahead of time so people will get an idea of what to expect.

Have a great summer of music and we’ll catch you on the road when the nights draw in.

Best Bones,

Andy Powell

Ashcon 2016

It is with great pleasure that I can bring you some details of Ashcon 2016. This year’s event will take place on Saturday November 19th at The Grand Clitheroe in the Heart of the Ribble Valley. Some of you may already have seen the band perform at this superb venue and I’m sure will agree that it is really suitable for our special day. I will bring you further information including a list of hotels in and around Clitheroe within the next few days. I also can confirm that a venue has been booked for the Friday night party with Wishclone Ish. As usual Mike Day will be in touch with our talented fans to arrange the evening’s entertainment. More details to follow.

Guy Roberts