Ash Grunwald is one of those journeyman musicians who are the lifeblood of the blues, keeping in touch with his audience by playing constantly, always creating and evolving, and regularly releasing material to snapshot his state of play.
Now is his latest album, and, once again, it’s absolutely first rate, as expected from this dual APRA award winner.
Living up to the title, he and his two bandmates, Ian Peres on keyboards and drummer Pete Wilkins, play as if “now” is the only thing that exists, fully present in the music and their expression.
Grunwald’s vocal and guitar tones twin each other, both full-bodied and mud spattered, and when he sings that The Worst Crimes Are Legal, you know he means it.
Listening to this, you can’t help but get caught up in the electricity and energy of it all, with the notes dripping like sweat from the guitar, the unleashed beast vocals snarling, the drum beats kicking like revving motorcycle engines, the keyboards swirling the pot like a giant wooden spoon.
The grooves on display here are simply stunning, from the loping rumble of Evening to the restrained blues/funk of Second Guess or the footstomping boogie of It Don’t Belong To You.
Not for the faint hearted, this is music that insists that you listen, or, if that doesn’t work, simply grabs you by the dance bone and shakes it.
Coloured by dazzling musicianship and anchored with pulsing rhythms, Now is an album that lunges out at you, making it very hard to ignore indeed once those first notes are struck.
It might be a long way from the Delta, but it’s still the blues.
Fiery and intense.
Musician, actor, singer, music reviewer, Phil’s interests cover a lot of bases and this is reflected in the music he writes about. From blues to soul, ambient to electronic, Phil writes about artists he feels are interesting, true to their craft and worthy of your ears.