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35 years … and still taking it to the streets
It’s a milestone year for Wishbone Ash as they tear up the highway and cut loose in the studio.
In 2005, British twin-lead guitar band Wishbone Ash celebrates 35 years of rock ’n’ roll in true Ash fashion: touring, touring and more touring – in Turkey, Germany, Holland the United States, the United Kingdom and France. Plans are also under way to record a new studio album and to release a live CD.
Formed in October 1969, Wishbone Ash was gigging by 1970. The band garnered notice in the early days for a unique blend of blues, jazz and English folk. But it was the way the guitars played melodic leads together that would become Wishbone Ash’s trademark, inspiring such bands as Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden. Throughout the years, many notable musicians have contributed their talents to the band, including Asia’s John Wetton, Trevor Bolder from Uriah Heep and Laurie Wisefield, who would later play guitar for Joe Cocker and Tina Turner.
Late in 2004, founding guitarist Andy Powell, bassist Bob Skeat and drummer Ray Weston were joined by Finnish guitar slinger Muddy Manninen, who replaced fellow Finn Ben Granfelt. Wishbone Ash introduced Manninen to a receptive crowd at the annual UK AshCon in October, and US fans came out to get a look at the new guitar duo in action on a late fall tour.
One of Helsinki’s top players, Manninen is a natural fit with the Ash. He played alongside Granfelt in the acclaimed ’80s outfit Gringos Locos, something of a twin-lead guitar band itself. He and Powell share musical influences such as John Renbourn, Peter Green and Albert King. With Manninen, Wishbone Ash regains a slide guitarist; he is also an accomplished acoustic player and songwriter.
With a new band member comes a new dynamic that Wishbone Ash fans have embraced enthusiastically. It is this synergy that the band hopes to capture in the studio this summer. Writing is scheduled to begin in May. There are also plans to release an XM Satellite Radio show, recorded in December 2004 and broadcast in February 2005, as a live CD in the US.