Ash Grunwald (born Ashley Mark Groenewald, 5 September 1976) is an Australian blues musician. He has released nine studio albums and has received five nominations for ARIA Music Awards. Five albums have peaked in the ARIA Albums Chart top 50; Fish out of Water (2008), Hot Mama Vibes (2010), Trouble's Door (2012), Gargantua (2013) and Mojo (2019).
Grunwald performing live at Queenscliff Music Festival 2019
|Birth name||Ashley Mark Groenewald|
|Born||5 September 1976|
|Origin||Melbourne, Victoria, Australia|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, songwriter, author|
1976-2001: Early Years and early bands
Under the guidance of his grandfather, Ash learned to play guitar and bass as a young child and together they recorded his first ever song – a cover of Howlin' Wolf's "Going Down Slow". Grunwald began listening to the blues shows on Melbourne's community radio stations as a teenager. By his early 20s, Grunwald had been in and out of several bands including the Blue Grunwalds and the Groove Catalysts, as well as playing in a couple of duos. The Blue Grunwalds, released the album Groove Cave, which generated some local interest. The Groove Catalysts played a number of blues venues in Melbourne and at several festivals throughout 2001 and 2002.
2002-2005: Career Beginnings with Head Records - Introducing Ash Grunwald, I Don't Believe & Live at the Corner
Grunwald drew attention as a solo artist with the release of his debut studio album, Introducing Ash Grunwald, a collection of blues standards and originals, including "Dolphin Song," which is based on a real life encounter Grunwald experienced 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, released his follow up album I Don't Believe, On the album, Grunwald emulated Tom Waits experimental bang and clang percussion using hammers, spanners and pots. The album included six originals, two Waits compositions, "Going Out West" and "Jesus Gonna Be Here" and blues standards. 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).
In June 2004, Grunwald recorded Live at the Corner, an album of songs from his first two releases. 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'.
2006-2009: Delta Groove Records - Give Signs, Fish Out of Water
In August 2006 Grunwald released Give Signs recorded on his own record label, Delta Groove Records. The album received another ARIA Award nomination for 'Best Blues and Roots Album'. In 2006, Grunwald supported James Brown at his Tasmanian concert. 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 Roots Album.
Grunwald released his fourth studio album, Fish Out of Water on 30 August 2008, with the album reaching No. 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. 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". Grunwald appeared for the first time in a Triple J Hottest 100 with one entry in the 2008 countdown, with "Breakout" reaching number 50. Fish Out of Water was nominated 'Best Blues and Roots Album' at the 2009 ARIA Awards, Grunwald's fourth in this category.
In October 2009 Grunwald recorded a performance at Fremantle's Fly By Night club for a release as a live album in early 2010.
2010-2018: Hot Mama Vibes, Trouble's Door, Gargantua & Now
Grunwald's fifth studio album, Hot Mama Vibes was released 4 June 2010. The Album featured contributions from Mr Trials, Countbounce, Chasm, Fingers Malone, Benny Owen and Kanchana Karunaratna. Grunwald said "Mixing electronica with the blues was always a dream of mine. 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." Hot Mama Vibes was nominated 'Best Blues and Roots Album' at the 2010 ARIA Awards.
By the end of 2010, Grunwald relocated with his family to Byron Bay and it was here he began recording his sixth studio album, the 2012 release Trouble's Door. The album was well-supported by Triple J, particularly lead single "Longtime" which spent many weeks in high rotation. Grunwald went on to win an APRA Award for "Longtime" for Blues Song of The Year.
In early 2013, Grunwald teamed up with Scott Owen and Andy Strachan (from The Living End) and recorded a version of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" which was released as a free download through Grunwald's website. "Crazy" was picked up by Austereo's Triple M network and lead to a live performance on the Seven Network's program The Morning Show. The unplanned success of the single took the three back into the studio where they re-recorded some of Grunwald existing tracks; adding a driving rhythm section. The collection of tracks was released in June 2013 under the title Gargantua. The album peaked at number 46 on the ARIA Charts.
Throughout 2014, Grunwald toured rigorously overseas, most significantly supporting Xavier Rudd throughout the United States. During that trip Grunwald was awarded the LA Music Critic Award for Best International Act.
In late 2014, Grunwald returned to the studio and in February 2015, The title of his eighth studio album was unveiled as Now. The album was subsequently released on 25 September 2015 and peaked at number 52 on the ARIA Charts.
In June 2019, Grunwald released "Whispering Voice" with Kasey Chambers, the lead single from Grunwald's ninth studio album Mojo. Mojo was released in August 2019 and peaked at number 40 on the ARIA Charts. "Mojo" was produced by Brian Brinkerhoff, Carla Olson and Ash.
Also in August 2019, Grunwald published his first book Surf by Day, Jam by Night. In the book, Grunwald interviews 15 of the world's top surfer-musicians; including Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore, Jack Johnson, Dave Rastovich, Pete Murray, G. Love and many more. It was published by Pantera Press on 19 August 2019.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|Introducing Ash Grunwald||
|I Don't Believe||
|Fish Out of Water||
|Hot Mama Vibes||
|Gargantua (with Scott Owen and Andy Strachan)||
|Live at the Corner||
|Live from the Factory||
|Live at the Fly by Night||
Awards and nominations
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2010||"Breakout" (Ashley Groenewald, Pip Norman)||Blues & Roots Work of the Year||Won|
|2011||"Walking" (Ash Grunwald)||Blues & Roots Work of the Year||Nominated|
|2013||"Longtime" (Ash Grunwald)||Blues & Roots Work of the Year||Won|
The ARIA Music Awards are presented annually from 1987 by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Ash Grunwald has had five nominations, all in the category of ARIA Award for Best Blues and Roots Album.
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|2004||I Don't Believe||Best Blues & Roots Album||Nominated|
|2005||Live at the Corner||Best Blues & Roots Album||Nominated|
|2007||Give Signs||Best Blues & Roots Album||Nominated|
|2009||Fish Out of Water||Best Blues & Roots Album||Nominated|
|2010||Hot Mama Vibes||Best Blues & Roots Album||Nominated|
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- "APRA History". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). Archived from the original on 20 September 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
- "2010 Winners – APRA Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). Archived from the original on 1 July 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
- "Nominations : Blues & Roots Work of the Year – 2011". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). 2011. Archived from the original on 19 April 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
- "2013 Winners – APRA Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). Archived from the original on 28 June 2013. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
- "ARIA Award winners & Nominees – Ash Grunwald". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 29 May 2010.
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