Live Review: Ash Grunwald

Ash Grunwald
The Ravenswood Hotel
Sunday 23 October 2005
Review by Susan Clark

A Sunday Session – it’s the great Aussie tradition that brings together hot summer days, cheap cold beer, music and friends.

This week at the Ravenswood (The Ravo) saw Ash Grunwald take the stage to supply the music with the weather perfect for the occasion. And what a great combination it was, with the crowd all sitting in the beer garden, on the banks of the Murray River, listening to some Delta blues.

The gig started early- 6pm- Andrew Winton was first up in support. Winton is more of a traditional blues player with his amazing grungy and powerful voice; he managed to hit those all important high and low notes, and kept a sense of humour about it. The crowd really warmed up to Winton’s acoustic slide, and as a reward he covered Aka Daka’s version of ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ to roaring approval. ACDC is a pretty safe bet with the surf and thong clad Ravo crowd.

2005 has been a stellar year for Grunwald– everything has just fallen into his lap. His debut album, ‘I Don’t Believe’ bagged Album of the Year at the 2005 Australian Blues Awards in February. In May he scored the chair to present JJJ’s Roots ‘n’ All program. More recently he was acknowledged by the mainstream with an Aria nomination (in the Best Blues and Roots category). Other nominees included The Beautiful Girls, Jeff Lang, The Waifs and Mia Dyson- pretty stiff competition.

But that didn’t hold Grunwald back tonight. Sitting on his bass drum, Grunwald pulled out a beautiful Dobro guitar and quietly plucked away. The crowd paused to listen, and then abandoned their conversations- how Johnno’s ute had a more powerful engine in the 70s than Stew’s piece of crap he brought brand new the other week- and the girls comparing truckers caps, flannies and the colour of their supermarket bought thongs (I’m not joking)!

All the critical acclaim and awards heaped upon Grunwald is warranted. He is an amazing talent, and is a generous stage performer- he fed off the audience. It was a stompin’ old night. It was delta blues with a whomping beat.
Between each song Grunwald would talk to the audience, goading us, bantering with us, loving us. And we all loved him back.

He played for an hour and a half and still had the crowd screaming for more. We were lucky, he came back to the stage for an encore. Grunwald apologised if at all he seemed a little distracted tonight. He’d been hoping for a phone call that didn’t come; The call to tell him who’d won the Aria tonight.

“Who needs a stinking ARIA when I’ve got such a lovely audience,” he crooned.

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