New tees and caps

Check out our new tee shirts and trucker caps available at shows on tour, featuring our updated classic logo from the early '70s. Big thanks to Jon Case for the redesign.

New custom built axe.

New photos available of a guitar I'll be featuring on tour shortly. Check it out: http://www.caseguitars.co.uk/new-gallery-43/

Ashcon 2017

Plans have now been finalised for our special event and finale to the Autumn UK tour “Ashcon”. The event will take place on Saturday November 18th at the Grand in Clitheroe.

Doors will open at midday and first on stage will be a tribute set by newly formed band Strange Testing. I am reliably informed that the band will contain some familiar faces from previous events and they are sure to present us with an entertaining set.

I am also very pleased to announce that Montreal Bluesman Steve Hill has accepted an invitation to perform during the afternoon event. “When it comes to one-man bands, guitarist and singer extraordinaire Steve Hill has no limits. The truest definition of a one-man band”.

The afternoon convention will then reach its highpoint with a performance by Wishbone Ash. This informal session will be a relaxing prelude to the evenings full on show.

Doors will re-open at 7pm and I am pleased to announce that I have arranged for the evening support to be performed by the Pat McManus Band. Pat was such a success at Ashcon 2013 that it will be really good to see him perform again and add a little Gaelic flavour to proceedings.

Then the highlight of the year and climax of the UK tour a full extended set by Wishbone Ash. As usual the boys will pull out all the stops to make this show one not to miss.

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 only be for 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.

Guy Roberts

Tickets to Leeds Irish Center show on sale at Vision Guitars!

Mark Abrahams has some news to share:

Being a Leeds lad, ever since the show at the Leeds Irish Centre on Wednesday 8th November was announced I’ve received lots of messages from friends and fans of the band asking when and where tickets will be available. I’m pleased to announce that as well as from the venue itself, I now have tickets on sale at my guitar shop in Castleford, ‘Vision Guitars’.

Advance ticket price is £17.50 (£20 on the door) and I have just 100 tickets available in store available to collect now. If you’re in the area and would like to buy tickets for this show, call in, say hello and have a cuppa (or something stronger) at the same time!

Vision Guitars, 12 Albion Street, Castleford, WF10 1EW

Leeds Irish Centre, York Road, Leeds, LS9 9NT

Slippin’ and a Slidin’

I bought a new pair of topsider style deck shoes recently. They are boat shoes actually. I’ve been buying the same brand for 20 years - Sperry. They work great in the summer, being both dressy and casual and can be worn with or without socks at the beach, at a restaurant, or even on an actual boat deck with jeans or shorts. Easy. The most important thing is that the soles of this casual footwear are designed for the wet decks on boats. They are non slip. When you get to be in your 60s, or any age, that’s a useful thing.

However, this time I saw a cheap deal for a generic pair at a J.C. Penny store and bought them, figuring I’d save $30. Epic fail! I put them on at home, took a few steps and promptly skidded across the wooden floor in our house. Then I tried navigating the stairs. Same thing, but this time almost broke my neck. These things were actually totally skid-worthy. In fact, the absolute opposite of the non skid function was exhibited. In all other respects the footwear looked identical to the real deal, but that one fundamental principal of the world famous deck shoe, the non-slip sole, had been side stepped, literally. Needless to say they ended up in the bin.

What has this to do with Wishbone Ash or music in general you might ask? I was at a gig the other day and the sound man was laughing with me at how, despite the rebel nature of rock & roll, guitarists, to a man, are generally extremely conservative types, even the heavy metal dudes with their tattoos and piercings. This sound man pointed out to me how they / we often play the same instrument for decades, dress as we always did, and are generally personable fellows, revering old blues artists and classic rock guys for their tonal abilities on the instrument ..... and so on. Then, as we were both remarking on this, I suddenly I thought of my deck shoes. Certain things just work. They are classic designs, like the Gibson Les Paul, The Flying V, The Stratocaster, Fender amps, Marshall amps. Often imitated but rarely beaten.

So two things come together here. Always pay a little more for something that is road-tested and design-proven, whether it's a piece of kitchen equipment, a pair of Raybans, Levis or an instrument of your choice. I know a lot of our fans are the same with bands and music. They trace the lineage of music back and often look for the roots of a style. I guess the theme here is that old is not always great, but give it the classic design test….and generally if it's hung around that long, it’ll hold up and serve you well.

Don't get me wrong, I’m always checking out new musical acts but I’m also continually revisiting the catalogs of my favorite artists and assessing why it was that THEY became well loved in the first place and I’m totally interested to hear if they still stand the test of time.

The classic popular music of our youth, probably served a purpose whether to protest events at that time in society, to push an accepted musical boundary further, to enhance an emotional event or memory. In fact, no matter what happens with the delivery of music and whether musicians can make a living off it, there will always be a need and a love for it, it seems to me.

And you know what? It’ll keep you young at heart and on the right track, much like those carefree deck shoes. It’ll anchor you and it’ll stabilize and enhance your life, especially when things are are changing and fluid all around you.

Stay safe out there ~ A.P.

Families

I’m having a pretty interesting week since returning from Sweden Rock. (Fantastic festival by the way, and we played a great show). I’d managed to stop off in the U.K. and stabilize some rather alarming occurrences with my 96 year old mother Ruby. It was all to do with how the ‘care business’ for the aged, which I’ve now found out, sometimes works against the greater good, exploiting the interests of people in care, as well as those of their families.

You see, my dear old mum decided to take a week’s respite in a nice care home but was ‘encouraged’ by an administrator to simply stay on (at great personal cost), which she wasn’t fully cognizant of, having just received a diagnosis for vascular dementia. The administrator of this facility, gave me a hard-core and alarming sales pitch telling me that my mother only had ‘weeks to live.’ After this jaw dropping piece of news, I was then informed that should my mother’s finances be depleted before she herself expired, this illustrious facility “would never throw anyone out on the streets.” Their exact words, not mine. Yeah, right. There are some pretty manipulative and coercive people running what is now a huge industry in the U.K. and U.S.A. no doubt.

Anyway, Ruby is now rocking on, and way more happy back in her brand new apartment with some real professional and honest caring folks, together with frequent visits by yours truly as well as other family members. I know this is an issue for many of our fans out there, as their own parents are aging or dealing with diseases like Alzheimers and dementia, so that’s why I mention it. On the positive side, we also had a big family reunion in the U.K. around this time, with family members coming from as far afield as Australia. That was a tonic for dear old Ruby, I can tell you. At the end of the day, nothing beats, or is a substitute for family.

I also had another reality check. This time from two dear fans of ours, twin sisters in the States, who've followed the band in all its incarnations, since the early 1970s. We’d kept in touch over the years but recently they let me know, in no uncertain terms, that they were suddenly deeply upset by some political posts I’d been putting on my OWN personal Facebook page. It made me sit up and think about how the current political climate is dividing friends, families and now fans, it seems.

Everyone by now, knows that I’m a dyed in the wool social democrat with capitalistic leanings. My dad was a total socialist, verging on communist, going so far as to believe that money was the root of all evil (he had a point). So naturally, in my early twenties, wanting to rebel against all of this, as you do, my politics became slightly right of Attila the Hun, figuring that each man or woman was a self realized entity in charge of their own outcome with no need of a social parachute or ‘nanny state’ to help weather the storms of life. In fact, I’ve never even particularly bought into the idea of national boundaries and phony patriotism, to be honest. However, after building a family and a business and learning a bit more about the ways of the world, I’ve become much more of a centrist. People change, I guess.

Most people will know that the current Trump administration just nauseates me BUT of course I realize the huge divide and disconnect between the educated liberal elites and what used to be called the middle class in this country (the USA) and how the Trump phenomenon has come about. We also shouldn’t forget the role that technology and globalization has played in all the disenfranchisement that people are now feeling. Big forces are currently in play and just don’t get me going on Brexit.

These aforementioned fans are not the only folks I’ve fallen out with by having the temerity to air my beliefs. I’ve ceased relations with in particular, two non music-related, so-called friends, because they felt it wasn’t my place to speak out. Hey, I KNOW it’s been the same for many of you out there too. This is big stuff! On the other hand, I’m also in the ‘business of music’ and I simply had to take on board the fact that many people don’t have the same political beliefs as me and in this case, with my ‘sisters of mercy’, who are delightful people btw, I was told in no uncertain terms, that our music would never again be listened to by one of them. O.K. fair enough - c’est la vie. I have broad shoulders. Your choice, BUT in thinking on it, Wishbone Ash has numerous social media sites and at least two websites where the commentary really IS just about the music. Please go there.

So, unless I’m gonna be a Leonardo DiCaprio or someone, and dedicate all my waking hours to the environment, politics and the state of the world (which I’m not), I’ve decided to take the advice of my sisters and back off with the political rants. I don’t want to take on these battles. My views will always be my views but my real focus has to be the band and our music. To that end, this week I’ve been working on some new material and building up a little home studio in order to get some ideas recorded. I’ll just let the music do the talking. Politics can take a back seat for the time being - until it just won’t. I certainly enjoy healthy debate and in this particular case, with the old ‘friends' not the sisters, things got very personal and unnecessarily ugly and I realized that ultimately, these are some friends that I could do without.

Good thing too, because I’m now at working with my son Aynsley on 4 or 5 songs for a solo project. (You can hear some of his input on Ash tunes from the Blue Horizon CD like Take It Back and American Century). I’ll vent my spleen in these new songs. Just joking - most likely this project won’t be fully realized for a year, since I have to fit it in when the schedule permits. It is inspiring me though, at present.

It was the summer solstice a couple of days ago. I really hope you all can dive into summer with joy and peace. By all accounts it’s already hotter than ever for my friends in the U.K. and most definitely for my friends in Arizona. That’s on another level.

Dates are going up all the while on our website and for those asking about us appearing in the western U.S. states, we’ve decided to work those into our schedule for next Spring. Oh yes, and I’ve been promised some Canadian dates for September 2017 so we’ll let you know when those are firm. I’ve got some fun personal musical events coming up which you can read about on the new andypowellmusic.com website and these will include checking out concerts by Eric Gales, Bill Frisell, Paul McCartney and believe it or not, Rammstein tonight, at Jones Beach. I like variety in my musical diet. A few of my U.K. friends are having a wonderful time at the Glastonbury Festival this weekend. Ain’t music great?

Toodle Pip ~ A.P.

Postcript: I just called Ruby and she was busy trying to find a live broadcast of the Glastonbury Festival on TV. Rock On! She’s going to be just fine.