As myself and Jarred pull over to the shoulder of Auckland's motorway, we are primed after listening to Ash Grunwald's eclectic Blues tunes to interview the man himself. "I hope it was a pleasant experience?", he jokes down the phone line.
The Australian Blues musician sits somewhere between eccentric rocker Hani El Khatib the electric mayhem of Ben Harper while sharing a passion for surfing like close friend, musician Xavier Rudd; albeit without the strong eco leanings, he's certainly not shy of a political cause. "I'm in the most Sharkie bloody area in the world at the moment" he says. "In the Byron Bay area, it's a big issue. It's absolutely beautiful but shark, shark, shark at the moment".
Grunwald's colourful ethnicity is a varied musical tapestry that has him joking about his ‘blackground'. With a slightly disguised Dutch sounding surname it's hard to pick his roots. "Coloured South African" he says. "That's my dad's side and Aussie on the other side. I even have the local mob saying ‘Have you got black brother?' Yeah, I'm boring I'm boring".
Make no qualms about it, Grunwald is all about the Blues. He has released eight albums and in 2005 received an ARIA Award, our equivalent of the Tui's. Grunwald drew attention as a solo artist with the release of 2002's Introducing Ash Grunwald, a collection of originals and blues standards that included a mix of traditional & modern songs 'Smokestack Lightnin' (Howlin' Wolf) 'The Sky Is Crying' (Elmore James) and 'Rolling And Tumbling' (Robert Johnson) recorded live with only acoustic guitar and foot percussion consisting of a stomp box and tambourine. With such a strong musical pedigree, it's no surprise he was destined to sing the Blues.
"You know what? It might have a slight heritage vibe" he concludes. "My grandad use to teach me guitar as well and I grew up in a very Anglo kind of area and I just identified with black music in particular. I love that jive Black American culture and I just really got into Blues music for whatever reasons and I just love its soulfulness".
"Across my career I've always tried to do different things with that which is essentially changing the backing, changing the way that it's made, but I always try to keep it as soulful as I can".
Talk turns to surfing, well the best spots in Auckland courtesy of local yokel Jarred. We think Ash meant Piha Beach on Auckland's West Coast but we can't be sure, all we can think of is ‘that beach that Eddie Vedder nearly drowned in'. "Well I'd love to be surfing every day if possible" he tells us. "That's something I love to do, that's another massive passion I have. I like everything on a board I like to go snowboarding as well which I haven't done in New Zealand yet, I wish I had".
"I think I'm playing Auckland, Wellington and I think and Raglan has been added" he continues. "I can't really indulge too much because I've got this really great opportunity to make an album and I'm just launching my album. This guy in America is flying me out to make this album, I couldn't say no and its kind of stressing me out a bit but I'm stoked. And he's going to get special guests on it, fairy tale business for me. I've never really had anyone do that before".
Grunwald's latest album NOW, sports a photo of Grunwald without his trademark dreadlocks, which he has worn for the past 20 years. The album was released in September but the process around making the album and song writing still remains the same.
"I always regard it as hard, but I do write a bit. It's something that looms over you almost a little bit like home work" he says. "You're not that prolific like some people who just write every single day. And I'm not prolific because I tour a lot. I don't know, that creative thing turns off but as soon as I know I have to do an album it turns back on. People say things or anything happens I'm like ‘that could be in a song' get it down on my notes on the phone quickly -so I'm in that mode now".
The Soundsplash Festival is returning to Raglan in January 2018. Local reggae favourites Katchafire are returning to feature on the bill. We sent a few questions over to lead vocalist Logan Bell ahead of the festival.
Following 2015’s Kitty, Daisy & Lewis'The Third', the sibling trio are back stronger than ever, harnessing their ability to create pop-infused soul, blues, rock n roll and a large mix of genres to perfection, in the shape of their fourth studio album, Superscope.
Kylie Price has just released her new album Bones. Last week she appeared on theNZ Entertainment Podcast, where she sang a new song I Dont Want To Go off the album while talking shop about her dream gig to play with Ed Sheeran and her Philipino roots.
Last week I caught up withPeter Hook ahead of returning down under for Australasian leg of the Joy Division and New Order Substance tour. We had a great chat about the spirit of punk, what it takes to write a book and why shows like the X-factor are so unhealthy…
Long established as one of New Zealand’s finest acts, South Pacific reggae-soul legends, The Black Seeds are set to tour the country in September, following the release of their long awaited 6th studio album Fabric, (out today - Friday September 8th).
Jacqueline Nalpant is a Booking Agent for the Paradigm Talent Agency, and is heading to New Zealand early next month where she'll be one of the speakers for the Going Global Music Summit (Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd September at Roundhead Studios, Auckland).
Since making her musical debut with her song Drift early last year, fast attracting a solid fan base and over 1 million plays across Spotify and Soundcloud in just a few months, Madeline North, better known by her musical moniker So Below, has once again blessed us with a moodier, masterful electro-pop banger, titled Ruin.
Since forming in 1998, the Antwerp, Belgium based trio Triggerfinger have long become a mainstay on the rock scene, building a solid reputation across Europe, the US, Canada and beyond, as one of the hardest-driving and sharpest dressing bands around.
Popular metalcore group Northlane are on their way to New Zealand. The Sydney band are touring North America taking in countries like Chile and Mexico as they head our way down-under next month to play Wellington’s San Fran then Auckland at the iconic Kings Arms.
Returning to New Zealand for the first time in three years, Australian metalcore band In Hearts Wake are on their way to our shores next month for a quick run of shows supporting their label cohorts Northlane.
Courtney Marie Andrews has landed in New Zealand, and set to play two concerts this week with Joe Pug - tonight at San Fran in Wellington (Wed July 19) and tomorrow night at The Tuning Fork in Auckland (Thu July 20).
Auckland two-piece Skinny Hobos, Alex Elvis and Texas Holdom, are heading on a 5 date New Zealand tour with headliners Decades, Bakers Eddy and Dead Favours. Kicking off tonight in Hamilton (July 14), the tour will also take them to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and finishes up in Dunedin.
Have you ever considered sharing your most personal experiences with the entire world? Well come this Friday 14th July, that’s what Emma Cameron, the rocking front-woman of kiwi band Decades is about to do, when they release their long-awaited full length debut album, The Truth And Other People, so we sat down with the cheerful front woman to discover just what truth this album reveals..
Whilst Sonny Landreth is a well known slide-guitar master, zydeco enthusiast and phenomenal blues legend, what you may not know about him, is that he is one of the nicest gentlemen in the entire universe.
He was always the boy next door type energy, that type of person you just always wanted to be around. From day one, Shay Taylor has always been one to break the mold and live life in such a vibrant and contagious manner, that no matter who he spoke to, they walked away feeling great!
One month on from the release of their third album [Wade Waist Deep], American rock band Thomas Wynn & The Believers are back on the road, breaking beyond the southern rock scene with complex, pulsing rhythms and breathtaking harmonies.
Due to significant weekend rainfall, and the forecast of more rain over the next 72 hours, Coffs Harbour City Council, Frontier Touring, John Logan Entertainment and Midnight Oil management have met and reviewed the site for Midnight Oil’s show on Thursday 19 October.
After their 2012 Mercury Prize-nominated debut and 2015’s Top 20 follow-up Born Under Saturn, musical adventurers Django Django are back for 2017, exploring new sounds with their brand new album Marble Skies
After stunning, sold-out concerts across the US, legendary Led Zep drummer Bonzo's greatest legacy - his son Jason - brings his critically acclaimed concert, Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience, to New Zealand for just two performances.
Playing their breakthrough debut self-titled album in its entirety, pop rock sensations We The Kings will return to New Zealand and Australia to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of their breakthrough self-titled debut album.
Instrumentals, imagined soundtracks and cut and paste experimentation sets a bracing, perception-shattering course for Who Built The Moon? - the keenly anticipated, WORLD TOUR-triggering third album from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.