Grunwald goes for life in slow lane

Francesca MannGeraldton Guardian
Ash Grunwald last played in Geraldton in 2012 and has since released two studio albums.
Camera IconAsh Grunwald last played in Geraldton in 2012 and has since released two studio albums. Credit: Tree Faerie Fotos/Tree Faerie Fotos

It has been nearly six years since blues and roots musician Ash Grunwald last played in Geraldton, but tomorrow he will finally return to the Mid West for the 13th Nukara Music Festival.

The five-time ARIA nominee will headline the festival, bringing his three-piece set and an army of new songs to the picturesque Chapman Valley.

Grunwald first burst onto the music scene in 2001 as part of the blues trio Goove Catalysts and the duo Lloyd Spiegel.

In 2002, he released his debut album, Introducing Ash Grunwald, and began touring relentlessly, releasing album after album in between gigs.

But with a family and two children under the age of 10, Grunwald said it was finally time to slow down.

“I’ve been going pretty hard — touring and recording a lot for a decade-and-a-half,” he said.

“About two years ago, I came up for breath and started to pull back; I probably needed a little break from it.

“I don’t think I would take any of it back but as time moves on, it’s good to evolve and approach it a different way.

“I plan to be playing for the next 20 to 40 years hopefully, so I am going to tour less and concentrate on recording and living life to the fullest.”

Originally from Melbourne, Grunwald is now living in Bali.

Despite the constant temptation to jump in the ocean and go for a surf, the 41-year-old said he was enjoying getting back into the studio and writing songs again.

As Grunwald’s ninth album, NOW, approaches its third birthday, his 10th release is just on the horizon.

Although his latest single, You Ain’t My Problem Anymore, still features Grunwald’s distinctive characteristics, the muso said his sound has come full circle.

“When I first started, before my first album, I used to play this sort of blues rock music,” he said.

“I avoided it for a long time because I thought nobody wanted to listen to long solos and we’d already had a good 20 to 30 years of dudes shredding.

“By the time I’d started to put albums out, I was like ‘I’m just going to do really simple, meaningful stuff and get my message across that way’.

“I feel like I’ve done plenty of that stuff, so now I can let myself have a bit of fun every now and then.”

Later in the year, Grunwald will head to Europe and Canada for a handful of gigs.

Unsure of when he will get the chance to return to the Mid West, Grunwald encouraged his fans to head down to Nukara.

“You probably won’t see me again for another four or five years,” he said.

“Come and support what seems like a really cool festival; it makes your town better, so just turn up and support it.”

Grunwald will be joined on the Nukara main stage by Wheatbelt blues band Blue Shaddy, soul muso Shaun Kirk, Melbourne duo This Way North, Fremantle-based The Justin Walshe Folk Machine and local trio Songbird.

Tickets can be bought via Ticketbooth or by visiting the Nukara Music Festival Facebook page.

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