Ash Grunwald (born Ashley Groenewald, 5 September 1976,
Melbourne, Australia) is an Australian blues musician. He has built a strong
reputation in Australia and Internationally based on his live shows and
Grunwald drew attention as a solo artist with the release of 2002's
Introducing Ash Grunwald, a collection of originals and blues standards
that included "Smokestack Lightnin'" (Howlin' Wolf) "The Sky Is Crying"
(Elmore James) and "Rolling And Tumbling" (Robert Johnson) recorded live
with only acoustic guitar and foot percussion consisting of a stomp box and
The album also includes "Dolphin Song," which is based on an actual
encounter Grunwald, a devout surfer, had with a shark and the pod of
dolphins that came to his rescue.
The positive response to Grunwald's debut resulted in two Australian Blues
Awards (The Chain Awards) for 'Best Emerging Talent' and 'Male Vocalist of
the Year' in 2003.
In 2004 Ash released his follow up album I Don't Believe, once again
recorded solo and live. Since his initial release he had been made aware of
two Tom Waits albums, Swordfishtrombones and Bone Machine. As a result, he
emulates Waits' experimental bang and clang percussion using hammers,
spanners, pots etc., in addition to a boss loop station as a bed for his lap
steel, dobro and acoustic guitars. The album included six originals, two
Waits compositions, "Going Out West" and "Jesus Gonna Be Here" (a cappela
with hand claps) and blues standards "Walking Blues" and "Cross Roads"
(Robert Johnson), "Empire State" (Son House) and "How Many More Years"
On the strength of this release Grunwald received an ARIA Award nomination
for 'Best Blues And Roots Album' in 2004, and the Victorian Blues award
for 'Male Vocalist Of The Year' (equal with Lloyd Spiegel) and in 2005 the
MBAS Vic / Tas award for Solo / Duo Of The Year (equal with Dave Hogan).
For the Live At The Corner album (songs from his first two releases plus
Willie Dixon's "Spoonful" featuring Ian Collard on harmonica) Grunwald won
the 2005 MBAS Vic / Tas and Australian Blues awards Album Of The Year in
addition to being nominated once again for the 'Best Blues And Roots album'
at the 2005 ARIA Awards.
In May 2005, Grunwald was invited to take over as host of Triple J's
Thursday night show 'Roots N All'.
In August 2006 Grunwald released Give Signs recorded on his own record
label, Delta Groove Records. As with preceding albums it was recorded live
and solo which received another ARIA Award nomination for 'Best Blues and
Roots Album'. In 2006, Grunwald supported James Brown at his Tasmanian
On 21 December 2006 Grunwald finished his role as a Triple J presenter. In
September 2007 he was nominated for another ARIA award for Best Blues and
Ash released his next studio album, Fish Out Of Water on the 30 of August
2008, with the album reaching #43 on the ARIA charts. The new album was
greeted with positive reviews with many of the critics saying it is one
of the best blues/roots albums of the year and a career highlight for Ash.
The new album which was written with TZU's beatsmith Phillip Norman (aka
Countbounce) enters new territory for Grunwald with many of the
songs gaining a hip hop edge to Ash's traditional Delta blues. Several
tracks gained significant airplay on the national youth broadcaster Triple J
some of these included "Breakout", "Devil Called Me A Liar" and "Joke On
Me". The album was also nominated 'Best Blues and Roots Album' at the 2009
Grunwald appeared for the first time in a Triple J Hottest 100 with one
entry in the 2008 countdown, with "Breakout" reaching number 50.
In October 2009 Grunwald recorded a performance at Fremantle's Fly By Night
club for a release as a live album in early 2010. He also revealed in an
interview with Sarah Howells of Triple J that he has started work on a new
On my way over to WA I stopped in and did some recording in the Adelaide
Hills at the Hilltop Hoods' studio with Mr Trials from Funkoars. I did about
six songs with him. I don't know when it will be finished, probably ages but
it's the fun bit at the moment of just going in and going hey roll a beat,
something like this, and just making up stuff.
Ash Grunwald’s fifth studio album, Hot Mama Vibes was released 4 June 2010.
It was recorded at Alchemix Studio in Brisbane, DJ Debris Studio in the
Adelaide Hills and The Container in Melbourne. The Album features
contributions from Mr Trials, Countbounce, Chasm, Fingers Malone, Benny Owen
and Kanchana Karunaratna. "Mixing electronica with the blues was always a
dream of mine," said Grunwald. "On the first album I was really trying to
strip it back to raw elements, just be as soulful as possible. I guess every
album since then has been a gradual move towards this point." "It's not
something I would have put out there in the past. I would have constrained
myself; I wouldn't have felt comfortable. This is my fifth album so it was
time to just launch in there, do whatever I felt like." The first song taken
from the album, "Walking" has gained coverage on Triple J, also featuring in
the film Limitless and on its soundtrack.
Hot Mama Vibes was nominated 'Best Blues and Roots Album' at the 2010 ARIA
The Blue Grunwalds, one of Grunwald's first bands, released the album
Groove Cave, which enjoyed healthy sales, local community radio
airplay and favourable reviews in the local press.
In 2001 Grunwald formed a trio called the Groove Catalysts. The
Groove Catalysts have played every major blues venue in Melbourne and have
enjoyed popular residencies in many of them. In 2001 through 2002, the
Groove Catalysts played at several major outdoor festivals, sharing the
stage with Australian blues acts such as Geoff Achison, Harper, Collard
Greens And Gravy, Chris Wilson and Lloyd Spiegel.
As a solo artist, Grunwald has maintained several residencies over the past
few years and has toured throughout Victoria and the east coast of
Throughout 2001 Grunwald played in a duo with Lloyd Spiegel, and played
several concerts with Ian Collard (of Collard Greens And Gravy).
Ash is married to long time partner and musician Danni Carr, and they have a