After returning from a massive tour of Canada including shows at the Winnipeg and Vancouver Folk Festivals alongside the likes of Wilco and Jose Gonzalez, Ash Grunwald has just released his new album NOW.
Produced by Nick Didia (Pearl Jam/Springsteen/Rage Against the Machine) from studio 301 in Ash’s home town of Byron Bay, NOW is set to stand as a sonic landmark in Ash Grunwalds career as a respected Australian roots musician.
To celebrate is stunning release, Ash has given us a track by track run down of the record which you can check out below. If you like what you’re hearing be sure to catch Ash on the road, tour info on his Facebook page.
“Lyrically this was influenced by the line ‘we all live downstream’, coined by David Suzuki highlighting the reality that we are all in this together. The perpetrators of corporate crime will still experience ramifications further down the line, if not them directly, then their progeny.
This is little comfort to those of us though that can see what is happening now and whom are not prepared to turn a blind eye. At the moment, many intelligent, compassionate, free-thinking individuals still have no time to contemplate alternative viewpoints. What do I mean by alternative in this context? Well that’s the central message of this song. It has become alternative in modern society to question the bullshit that we are handed. This is our undoing as a society. The average citizen is so constantly adrenalized, mentally awash with worries of money and debt, add to that obsessive desires and there’s little room for open minded reflection.
This is the climate we’re in, a climate where a reasonable request to protect our drinking water (a diligence that government had previously held in high regard as a foundational key to survival), has become a radical act. Or that forcibly sabotaging a piece of equipment that is being used to wreck this country’s future, is seen as an act of terrorism. With the controversy of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars rose the expression “one mans terrorist is anothers freedom fighter’, when I first heard those sentiments I felt that it would always refer to foreign lands yet here we are – fighting to protect our very land that is an absolute requirement for survival and in doing being referred to in the same light.”
It Don’t Belong to You
“I wrote this based entirely around the groove and I’m happy to say, that yes, it does work on the dance floor! Lyrically it deals with the same themes that sit at the heart of the whole album but this one’s got a weird falsetto delivery – a first time thing for me!”
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“Imagining a sexy devilish femme fatal who’s got me in a debauched haze. I would say it was written about my wife (which is the actual truth) but you wouldn’t believe me…”
“This is about the travels of Jack Kerouac in On the Road, a book that has truly stood the test of time. It calls into question what we’re doing by giving us an alternative (in the same way as the film ‘into the wild’). It just makes me want to hit the road and explore the boundaries of the world and the boundaries of me. Musically, it’s juxtaposed against a completely non Karouacian funk beat! It’s a mega fun song to play.”
“This is a rock song about mother nature – not something you hear a lot of but you don’t get much more rock than the earth right?! It’s got the halftime thing over the chorus ‘While it’s left” and it’s a bit of a call to get the hell out there and experience it now whilst you still can.”
In The Middle
“Recently I had a meeting with my publishers in L.A and they informed me that some of my music is in the genre of ‘Swagger Rock’. This is my swagger rock tune for ‘Now’. It’s a song about a booty call! It features a heavy half time motif that we return to 3 times in the song and then that blends into a rock boogie. I love the push and pull of that.
The half time thing features heavily on this album which is weird because there was once a time when I was totally anti half-time drops….I guess the half-time drop is the dark stain that my guilty dalliance into the world of dub step has left on me…”
The Worst Crimes Are Legal (Revolution)
“Influenced by my work to stop csg, where I was confronted by the reality that our police, who we employ as the taxpayer, will throw us in jail because we want to exercise our democratic right to keep a foreign company from ruining our present and future.
We pay for the roads for the private company to drive in on and screw us over and when its finished, the burden is on the taxpayer to fund the clean-up. A clean-up which is impossible in any practical terms due to the fact that once the water aquifers are drilled through, mountains of salt dumped onto the surface, a list of chemicals as long as your arm pumped into the ground, then the gas freed so that methane spills into the atmosphere (in some cases 24/7)…it cannot be simply put back together like a jigsaw puzzle.”
“This song deals with trusting yourself first. There’s many times when I’ve known the truth but I’ve allowed those around me to influence me to think or behave in a way that suits them. This applies at both personal and societal levels.
In the verses I question our freedom within this society. I tried to put a few catchy vocal hooks in there for the ol’ singalong factor – I love jamming out that ending!! That’s something we were proud of on this album – good live performances. Jamming in the studio. Old school. No cutting and pasting on computers. I think we’re in need of a bit of an antidote to all that these days. I used to froth on digital tech (well, still do a bit) but I’m appreciating analogue sound and tactile things a hell of a lot more as I see the digital world consume our every waking moment.
I find it easier to still my mind when I grab a guitar rather than making a beat on the computer and getting stuck fiddling with a plugin and then “ding’ I’ll just check that email!”
“This song I wrote after having an outburst when I was a little…ahem…under the weather at a party. I let the drunken monkey, who is always rattling the bars of the cage in my mind, out!!! He had been giving me a fair bit of stick for a while.
I’ve written a lot of songs about the voices and thoughts that can rattle around in your head and cause endless suffering, worry and paranoia; thoughts that are all part of the same disease: repetitive negative thinking. I think we’re all sufferers to some extent. I’m now on a path to end that suffering by living in the here and now.
Not projecting into the past or future apart from when it is necessary for practical purposes. Well that’s what I’m trying to do. The good thing is, every time you try to be mindful, get into the now, be present (or however you put it) you get the reward, instantly.”
“This is a song I wrote for a long term fan Bec Allen who had been to over 15 of my gigs all over the country. She was terminally ill when I visited her in hospital and played for her. I was on a family holiday when she passed and her family asked for my recommendation for one of my songs for them to play at the funeral.
I was deeply moved but didn’t really have any song that would do her or the occasion justice. My wife Danni Carr, an accomplished songwriter and musician, offered to lend me a hand and co write something that would be a fitting testament to Bec. They played it at the funeral and they said it meant a lot to them. I was touched and honoured to be involved in so much of this transition into the next realm for Bec.”
The Least Among Us
“I’m imagining hiking in Canada surrounded by natures magnanimous glory and just freaking out! I’m out there because I want to take the shackles of society and self off (which is what the chant at the start is about). Don’t believe the victors story.
Question authority. The one in charge is unlikely to be telling the truth. There is truth to be found in nature, but very little truth in the news, Hollywood or on the signs that tell us what to do. In nature – that’s where we find who we really are. We are by definition not workers, customers or taxpayers. We are people. Human 1.0. We were people before money was invented and we will be after its inevitable demise.
With the current climate of the music industry making it difficult for independent musicians to record, release and market music to the standard of major commercial recording artists, Ash Grunwald’s forthcoming release would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the support of his fans through crowd funding phemononem ‘Pledge Music’.
The campaign will continue to run until the album release on September 25th giving fans the opportunity to pledge on unique experiences and exclusive offers including meet & greets, music lessons, VIP packages, intimate house concerts and more! With a desire to be socially and morally responsible and conscious, Ash Grunwald will donate 5% of all profits raised from his Pledge Music campaign towards 350.org, an organisation working towards building a global climate movement to eradicate the use of fossil fuels and to create a sustainable future.”
Upcoming Tour Dates
1st October | Wickham, Newcastle, NSW
2nd October | Yours and Owls Festival, Wollongong, NSW
3rd October | Caloundra Music Festival, Caloundra, QLD
8th October | Newtown Social, Newton, NSW
9th October | Entrance Leagues, Bateau Bay, NSW
10th October | Gearins Hotel, Katoomba, NSW
16th October | Triffid, Brisbane, QLD
17th October | Hotel Metropole, Ipswich, QLD
18th October | Miami Marketta, Gold Coast QLD
21st October | Sugarland Tavern, Bunderberg, NTH QLD
22nd October | Flamingos on Quay, Rockhampton, NTH QLD
23rd October | Magnums Hotel, Airlie Beach, NTH QLD
24th October | Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville, NTH QLD
25th October | The Jack, Cairns, NTH QLD
31st October | Wangaratta Jazz Festival, Wangaratta, VIC
4th November | Fresh On Charles, Launceston, TAS
5th November | Tapas Bar, Devonport, TAS
6th November | Republic Bar, Hobart, TAS
7th November | The Gov, Adelaide, SA
13th November | Blues At Bridgetown Festival, Bridgetown WA
14th November | The Boston Brewery, Denmark WA