Ash Grunwald

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Ash Grunwald (born Ashley Groenewald, 5 September 1976, Melbourne, Australia) is an Australian blues musician. He has built a strong reputation in Australia and Internationally based on his live shows and festival performances.

Ash GrunwaldSolo career

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 "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.

The album also includes "Dolphin Song," which is based on an actual encounter Grunwald, a devout surfer, had with a shark and the pod of dolphins that came to his rescue.

The positive response to Grunwald's debut resulted in two Australian Blues Awards (The Chain Awards) for 'Best Emerging Talent' and 'Male Vocalist of the Year' in 2003.

In 2004 Ash released his follow up album I Don't Believe, once again recorded solo and live. Since his initial release he had been made aware of two Tom Waits albums, Swordfishtrombones and Bone Machine. As a result, he emulates Waits' experimental bang and clang percussion using hammers, spanners, pots etc., in addition to a boss loop station as a bed for his lap steel, dobro and acoustic guitars. The album included six originals, two Waits compositions, "Going Out West" and "Jesus Gonna Be Here" (a cappela with hand claps) and blues standards "Walking Blues" and "Cross Roads" (Robert Johnson), "Empire State" (Son House) and "How Many More Years" (Howlin' Wolf).

On the strength of this release Grunwald received an ARIA Award nomination for 'Best Blues And Roots Album' in 2004, and the Victorian Blues award for 'Male Vocalist Of The Year' (equal with Lloyd Spiegel) and in 2005 the MBAS Vic / Tas award for Solo / Duo Of The Year (equal with Dave Hogan).

For the Live At The Corner album (songs from his first two releases plus Willie Dixon's "Spoonful" featuring Ian Collard on harmonica) Grunwald won the 2005 MBAS Vic / Tas and Australian Blues awards Album Of The Year in addition to being nominated once again for the 'Best Blues And Roots album' at the 2005 ARIA Awards.

In May 2005, Grunwald was invited to take over as host of Triple J's Thursday night show 'Roots N All'.

In August 2006 Grunwald released Give Signs recorded on his own record label, Delta Groove Records. As with preceding albums it was recorded live and solo which received another ARIA Award nomination for 'Best Blues and Roots Album'. In 2006, Grunwald supported James Brown at his Tasmanian concert.

On 21 December 2006 Grunwald finished his role as a Triple J presenter. In September 2007 he was nominated for another ARIA award for Best Blues and Roots Album.

Ash released his next studio album, Fish Out Of Water on the 30 of August 2008, with the album reaching #43 on the ARIA charts. The new album was greeted with positive reviews with many of the critics saying it is one of the best blues/roots albums of the year and a career highlight for Ash. The new album which was written with TZU's beatsmith Phillip Norman (aka Countbounce) enters new territory for Grunwald with many of the songs gaining a hip hop edge to Ash's traditional Delta blues. Several tracks gained significant airplay on the national youth broadcaster Triple J some of these included "Breakout", "Devil Called Me A Liar" and "Joke On Me". The album was also nominated 'Best Blues and Roots Album' at the 2009 ARIA Awards.

Grunwald appeared for the first time in a Triple J Hottest 100 with one entry in the 2008 countdown, with "Breakout" reaching number 50.
In October 2009 Grunwald recorded a performance at Fremantle's Fly By Night club for a release as a live album in early 2010. He also revealed in an interview with Sarah Howells of Triple J that he has started work on a new studio album.
On my way over to WA I stopped in and did some recording in the Adelaide Hills at the Hilltop Hoods' studio with Mr Trials from Funkoars. I did about six songs with him. I don't know when it will be finished, probably ages but it's the fun bit at the moment of just going in and going hey roll a beat, something like this, and just making up stuff.

Ash Grunwald’s fifth studio album, Hot Mama Vibes was released 4 June 2010. It was recorded at Alchemix Studio in Brisbane, DJ Debris Studio in the Adelaide Hills and The Container in Melbourne. The Album features contributions from Mr Trials, Countbounce, Chasm, Fingers Malone, Benny Owen and Kanchana Karunaratna. "Mixing electronica with the blues was always a dream of mine," said Grunwald. "On the first album I was really trying to strip it back to raw elements, just be as soulful as possible. I guess every album since then has been a gradual move towards this point." "It's not something I would have put out there in the past. I would have constrained myself; I wouldn't have felt comfortable. This is my fifth album so it was time to just launch in there, do whatever I felt like." The first song taken from the album, "Walking" has gained coverage on Triple J, also featuring in the film Limitless and on its soundtrack.
Hot Mama Vibes was nominated 'Best Blues and Roots Album' at the 2010 ARIA Awards.

Early career


The Blue Grunwalds, one of Grunwald's first bands, released the album Groove Cave, which enjoyed healthy sales, local community radio airplay and favourable reviews in the local press.

In 2001 Grunwald formed a trio called the Groove Catalysts. The Groove Catalysts have played every major blues venue in Melbourne and have enjoyed popular residencies in many of them. In 2001 through 2002, the Groove Catalysts played at several major outdoor festivals, sharing the stage with Australian blues acts such as Geoff Achison, Harper, Collard Greens And Gravy, Chris Wilson and Lloyd Spiegel.

As a solo artist, Grunwald has maintained several residencies over the past few years and has toured throughout Victoria and the east coast of Australia.

Throughout 2001 Grunwald played in a duo with Lloyd Spiegel, and played several concerts with Ian Collard (of Collard Greens And Gravy).
Personal Life

Ash is married to long time partner and musician Danni Carr, and they have a daughter, Sunny.

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