Rich’s Rapidfire Recommendations – bite-sized metal morsels to let you know about albums that have grabbed Rich Davenport by the ears, that we hope you’ll enjoy too! ROCK ON!
Artist: Martin Turner
Album: “Written In The Stars”
Label: Dirty Dog Discs
Released: 4th September 2015
1. THE BIG BANG (OVERTURE)
2. THE BEAUTY OF CHAOS
3. WRITTEN IN THE STARS
5. VAPOUR TRAIL
6. THE LONELY STAR
7. FOR MY LADY
8. PRETTY LITTLE GIRLS
9. FALLING SANDS
10. MYSTIFY ME
11. INTERSTELLAR ROCKSTAR
Martin Turner – Written In The Stars. Founding original member of Wishbone Ash returns with his first studio album in way too many years. Martin’s contributions to the hallmark sound of Wishbone Ash’s classic Mark I and Mark II line-ups were many; his vocals, his songwriting, those resounding bass lines, and, equally important, his input into the way the band’s signature harmonies were written and orchestrated. No-one would doubt the wealth of talent found among the three key Ash guitar heroes back in their halcyon era, Ted Turner, Andy Powell and Laurie Wisefield, all of whom are worthy of inclusion in any list of their more lauded peers, but those twin guitar lines also sprang regularly from the musical imagination of Mr Turner, who would channel his classical influences into the melodies and harmonic structures that rang out across that run of much loved albums from the self-titled debut in 1970, to “Just Testing” in 1980.
“Written in the Stars” shows that Martin Turner is still more than capable of delivering the goods as a songwriter and performer, and gives an insight into how those key musical aspects he brought to Wishbone Ash sound in a contemporary setting, with a modern production and a new band of stellar musical compatriots. It flows well when listened to in one sitting, the material is memorable and enjoyable throughout, and I’ve found myself hitting “repeat” to listen through again on more than one occasion. And although it’s not a retro album, “Written in the Stars” is about as close as you’ll get to the classic sound of Wishbone Ash.
WISHBONE ASH, one of the most influential guitar bands in the history of rock, returns to these shores in September with the Road Warriors North American Tour. The tour begins in Colorado and moves eastward through the month, passing through 12 states and Ontario, Canada. Longtime fans and new converts alike will revel in the group’s signature twin-guitar mastery and powerhouse rhythm section as they present classics spanning their career and showcase selections from their latest studio release, “Blue Horizon.”
True road warriors, each year WISHBONE ASH logs around 30,000 miles, roughly equivalent to circumnavigating the earth; but this year may just set an all-time record with a series of July performances in South Africa. “We are looking forward to reconnecting with fans from the past who are just catching on that we’ve been touring non-stop for 46 years, to see and hear how we’ve grown while carrying the torch,” says founding member Andy Powell “And for our faithful fans who have walked with us consistently through the years, we have some special things in store to reach new heights in our relationship.”
The Road Warriors North American Tour also comes on the heels of two live recording projects in May, including a direct-to-vinyl performance at renowned Metropolis Studios complex in London slated for a fall release, expected to be available on both vinyl and CD. “Recording live in a studio and going straight to acetate is rarely done,” says Powell. “The conditions have to be just right, because you only get one shot. Everything has to be in sync.”
Immediately following the Metropolis session, the band did a three-day residency at Le Triton Theatre in Les Lilas, Paris that was recorded for a DVD release in October. Powell says, “We recorded three nights of material, including current versions of some classic songs, plus some deep tracks that people won’t necessarily expect.”
Formed in 1969, Wishbone Ash is led by Powell on guitar and vocals, trading licks with Finnish guitar master Muddy Manninen. Bassist Bob Skeat, an 18-year veteran of the band, sets the pace with Joe Crabtree, one of the best of Britain’s new breed of drummers whose performance credits include Pendragon and David Cross of King Crimson.
Through the years the band has delved into various musical genres, from folk, blues and jazz to pedal-to-the-metal rock and electronica. Whatever the style, Wishbone Ash’s hallmark is the distinctive twin-melodic lead guitar interplay that has influenced such bands as Thin Lizzy, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Iron Maiden and, more recently, Opeth. Wishbone Ash has to its credit 24 original studio recordings, 11 live albums and five live DVDs along with a DVD rockumentary (“This is Wishbone Ash”).
In 2014, the band released “Blue Horizon” (Solid Rockhouse Records) to international acclaim. Praised for its stylistic variety and powerful performances, the album features guest artist, Ireland’s Pat McManus, on fiddle for two tracks. “Blue Horizon” also includes two songs written by Aynsley Powell (Andy Powell’s son) and one by former Wishbone Ash guitarist Roger Filgate.
According to Powell, the album’s diversity reflects the culmination of several factors. “The band basically lives together year-round, so we have a very strong level of communication that translates in our performances and recordings,” he says. “We’ve come to an era where the industry has to pigeonhole a band as Classic Rock, Prog Rock, Heritage Rock and so on. The truth is that we have always kept our options open and always relied on the musicianship of the players to lead the way. It’s fun to be stylistically diverse and this has, in its way, contributed to our longevity.”
Powell has been working on his autobiography, “Eyes Wide Open: True Tales of a Wishbone Ash Warrior,” which is slated for October publication and will be available through Amazon. “It’s quite an undertaking to put 46 years of being a touring musician in this one band into book form,” he says. “I’ve seen a lot of changes in the music business and the world in general, as you can imagine.”
There is no other rock band in history that has done more with the twin guitar concept than The Ash. Be sure to catch them on the Road Warriors Tour this September. Tour dates and more information can be found at http://www.wishboneash.com.
WISHBONE ASH ‘ROAD WARRIORS NORTH AMERICA’ SEPTEMBER 2015
SEPT. 3 DENVER CO SOILED DOVE
SEPT. 5 WICHITA KS CROWN UPTOWN THEATRE
SEPT. 6 KANSAS CITY MO KNUCKLEHEADS
SEPT. 8 MINNEAPOLIS MN FAMOUS DAVE’S
SEPT. 9 DAVENPORT IA REDSTONE ROOM
SEPT. 10 MILWAUKEE WI PABST THEATRE
SEPT. 11 WOODSTOCK IL WOODSTOCK OPERA HOUSE
SEPT. 12 EDWARDSVILLE IL WILDEY THEATRE
SEPT. 13 EDWARDSVILLE IL WILDEY THEATRE (featuring “Argus Live”)
SEPT. 15 AUBURN HILLS MI CALLAHAN’S
SEPT. 16 CLEVELAND OH BEACHLAND BALLROOM
SEPT. 17 BUFFALO NY SPORTSMEN’S TAVERN
SEPT. 18 BARRIE ONT VIOLET’S VENUE
SEPT. 20 BEACON NY TOWNE CRIER CAFE
SEPT. 21 NEW YORK NY B.B. KING’S
SEPT. 22 FAIRFIELD CT FAIRFIELD THEATRE
SEPT. 23 SELLERSVILLE PA SELLERSVILLE THEATER
SEPT. 24 SHIRLEY MA BULL RUN
SEPT. 25 ALBANY NY VAN DYCK
SEPT. 26 JIM THORPE PA MAUCH CHUNK OPERA HOUSE
SEPT. 27 BORDENTOWN NJ RECORD COLLECTOR
Cambridge Rock Festival returns to Haggis Farm Polo Club on 7-10th August 2014.
Top of the bill for the Saturday night is FM who will be celebrating their 30th anniversary, with Snakecharmer and Wishbone Ash headlining on the Friday and Sunday.
A recent and very welcome addition to the bill is the former Masterplan vocalist, Norwegian Jørn Lande, who will play his only UK gig at this event.
For Prog fans, the York-based Cloud Atlas are confirmed, and the acclaimed and ever-popular Mostly Autumn will also return.
There is an impressive pedigree of blues-rock acts, including the incendiary Chantel McGregor and the high-energy hard-rocking Larry Miller.
The Hard Rock and psychedelic combo that is Pearl Handled Revolver are also returning after their 2013 triumph.
Cambridge Rock Festival is renowned for having a wonderful mix of Rock, Metal, Prog and Blues, and with over 100 more acts still to be revealed 2014 is shaping up to be another classic already.
Outstanding value tickets are available now at £105 for the full four days of the festival at http://cambridgerockfestival.co.uk.
Classic rock legends WISHBONE ASH have issued the following update:
“Happy New Year to all our friends, fans, benefactors and business associates! May your year be happy, healthy and your days filled with Blue Horizons.
Our new album is in the can, as they say, with release slated for late February.”
Founding member Andy Powell, Muddy Manninen, Bob Skeat and Joe Crabtree will perform the entire Live Dates double album as part of their set in Holland on these dates:
16 – Patronaat – Haarlem
17 – Boerderij -Zoetermeer
18 – DePul – Uden
19 – Burgerweeshuis – Deventer
Don’t miss these exclusive performances.Meet the band after the show and experience an unforgettable evening with Wishbone Ash. Celebrate 40 years of Live Dates.
The music remains as popular as ever. See you on the road that never ends.”