Wishbone Ash, one of the most influential guitar bands in the history of rock, will be coming to the States in April 2018 on the Open Road Tour. True to its name, the tour will see the band clocking some serious miles as they return to America's Southern swath, from North Carolina and Florida to California. Longtime fans and new converts alike will revel in the group’s signature twin-guitar mastery and powerhouse rhythm section as they present classics spanning their career.
Formed in 1969, Wishbone Ash is gearing up for its 50th anniversary on the heels of a limited-edition deluxe 30-disc box set, “Wishbone Ash: The Vintage Years,” available April 2018 through Madfish Records while supplies last.
True road warriors, each year these British rock legends log around 30,000 miles, roughly equivalent to circumnavigating the earth. “We are breaking with our usual U.S. tour schedule and hitting the road early in 2018 to take in some cities that we haven’t been to for quite some time,” says founding member Andy Powell (guitar/lead vocals). “The tour will be heavy on Southern dates like North Carolina, Georgia, Florida and then into Texas, Arizona and, finally, California.”
In the fall, the band will return to North America for some Canadian shows. “Everyone is rested and fighting fit, and looking forward to introducing new audiences to wunderkind Mark Abrahams on guitar, while hopefully surprising folks with some tunes from the vaults,” Powell says.
Abrahams, who replaced 12-year veteran Muddy Manninen last summer, will be trading licks with Powell; he’s already been earning rave reviews from fans on both sides of the Atlantic. Longtime rhythm section Bob Skeat on bass and Joe Crabtree on drums continue to provide the solid groove that is their hallmark.
Through the years the band has delved into various musical genres, from folk, blues and jazz to pedal-to-the-metal rock and electronica. Whatever the style, Wishbone Ash’s hallmark is the distinctive twin-melodic lead guitar interplay that has influenced such bands as Thin Lizzy, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Iron Maiden and, more recently, Opeth.
“The band basically lives together year-round on the road, so we have a very strong level of communication that translates in our performances and recordings,” says Powell. “We’ve come to an era where the industry has to pigeonhole a band as Classic Rock, Prog Rock, Heritage Rock and so on. The truth is that we have always kept our options open and always relied on the musicianship of the players to lead the way. It’s fun to be stylistically diverse and this has, in its way, contributed to our longevity.”
Wishbone Ash has to its credit 24 original studio recordings, 11 live albums and five live DVDs along with a DVD rockumentary (“This is Wishbone Ash”). Released April 2018, “The Vintage Years” 30-disc box set, three-and-a-half years in the making, is a special collection dedicated to the band's output from 1970 to 1991, including all 16 studio albums, three live albums, eight previously unreleased live shows from 1973 to 1980, a 156-page coffee-table hardcover book and an assortment of memorabilia. Also now available are the first official re-releases in decades of “Twin Barrels Burning” from 1982 and “Raw to the Bone” from 1985, plus definitive editions with all new 2017 remasters.
In 2015, Powell released his musical memoir, “Eyes Wide Open: True Tales of a Wishbone Ash Warrior,” co-written with renowned Irish music journalist Colin Harper and now available in Kindle and Apple iBook formats. “It’s quite an undertaking to put 46 years of being a touring musician in this one band into book form,” he says. “I’ve seen a lot of changes in the music business and the world in general, as you can imagine.”
There is no other rock band in history that has done more with the twin guitar concept than The Ash. Be sure to catch them on the Open Road US Tour in April 2018. Tour dates and more information can be found at www.wishboneash.com.
Wishbone Ash US Tour Dates
03 - Harvester Performance Center - Rocky Mount, VA
04 - Neighborhood Theatre - Charlotte, NC
06 - City Winery Atlanta - Atlanta, GA
07 - Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts - Melbourne, FL
08 - Skippers Smokehouse - Tampa, FL
11 - House of Blues - New Orleans, LA
13 - Keys Lounge - Fort Worth, TX
14 - Sam's Burger Joint - San Antonio, TX
15 - One World Theatre - Austin, TX
18 - Rhythm Room - Phoenix, AZ
19 - Railhead, Boulder Station Hotel Casino - Las Vegas, NV
20 - Canyon Club - Agoura Hills, CA
21 - The Rose - Pasadena, CA
22 - The Coach House - San Juan Capistrano, CA
25 - Yoshi's Jazz Club - Oakland, CA
26 - The Fox - Redwood City, CA