Grunwald Krams in the jam sessions

Ash Grunwald plays the Beach Hotel, Byron Bay.
Ash Grunwald plays the Beach Hotel, Byron Bay. Contributed

AT BLUESFEST this year Ash Grunwald was joined by Mark Maher (aka Kram of Spiderbait fame) on stage for a blues-infused jam.

The two have continued to jam as they live not far from each other.

“We haven’t actually got together and recorded anything,” Grunwald tells Pulse, “but when we do we’re going to call the duo Krash.”

The pair’s sessions are always unplanned jams and when they do get together to record, Grunwald predicts it will be fluid.

“Kram will be coming along to most of the capital city gigs ... and possibly the Byron gig too,” Grunwald says.

The pair live in the Byron Bay area and return tonight as part of Grunwald’s Road Dog Diaries national tour.

This run of shows isn’t only about spreading the APRA award-winning roots and blues musician’s love for a thumping set. He’s also filming a documentary with the aim of showing what really happens on the road.

The band took off in the van in July and Grunwald has already managed to post clips on his YouTube channel.

In the first episode they delve into a jam in the middle of a roadside diner. Grunwald recounts how they ended up there.

“It was really weird,” he said.

“We’d left Byron Bay and driven 16 hours. We’ve pulled into this roadside truck stop and a woman starts asking us,

‘What are you guys? You look like you’re in a band. Are you famous?’. One of the guys ran out to the van and grabbed a guitar and we went from there.”

It’s those moments Grunwald wants to share with his fans – the random life of a musician on the road.

Like standing in the middle of a paddock doing phone interviews with journalists or surfing as many breaks as possible.

Grunwald released Hot Mama Vibes last year, his fifth studio album, but before a recent tour abroad he spent four days in The Resin Dogs’ studio in Mullumbimby, where he recorded 20 tracks.

Samples from those sessions are used on the aforementioned clips, but Grunwald hopes to have an album out by the end of the year.

“I feel like I’m in a really creative time in my life,” he says.

“I think after doing it for a decade I’m just getting used to it. It’s a type of creative fitness; I’m not so blocked up now.”

While on stage you’ll see any- thing from a bin, to pots and pans, but when it comes to recording, Grunwald embraces technology like an old friend.

“I think I’ve always been straddling the line between organic music and technology,” he says.

“On the first album I wasn’t because it was just me and my guitar. The second I was using a loop and every subsequent one after that. I like plugging it in and then chopping it all up.”

If anything Grunwald says he never wants to be one of those people who doesn’t use something because it has to be organic and rootsy.

“I’d rather be on the forefront more than anything else,” he says.

His previous albums are aimed at creating foot-stomping vibes. However this one comes from the heart.

“It’s more about where we’re heading,” he says.

And where is that exactly?

“It’s complicated,” he says. “A bizarre mish-mash of optimism and frustration.”

Ash Grunwald plays the Beach Hotel, Byron Bay Thursday, August 25 in a free gig.

Topics:  northern star pulse

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