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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Gwyn Ashton - Aussie blues

Ashton002Gwyn Ashton was born in Wales and migrated to Adelaide, South Australia in the mid-sixties. In 1972 he began playing the guitar, inspired by many musicians on the Australian scene. Some of those artists were The Master's Apprentices, The Easybeats, Chain, Blackfeather, Billy Thorpe, Kevin Borich, Mickey Finn and Chris Finnen. It didn't take long for Gwyn to discover Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and then later on Johnny Winter, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, and Rory Gallagher to name a few.
After playing around Adelaide for several years, he moved to Sydney in 1983. In 1985 Gwyn joined Swanee, which was fronted by John Swan (brother of ex-Cold Chisel vocalist, Jimmy Barnes). In 1986 Gwyn joined forces with ex-Easybeats vocalist Stevie Wright along with members of Sherbet and Jimmy Barnes' band. Gwyn played consistently in Sydney with his own band. Always a three piece, his rhythm sections included ex Richard Clapton, Divinyls, Dragon, Sherbet, Kevin Borich Express, Australian Crawl, James Reyne and Daryl Braithwaite members.
Ashton002Gwyn was asked to sit in on various occasions with artists such as Jeff St John, Kevin Borich and guitar virtuosos Phil and Tommy Emmanual, two of Australia's finest musicians. Phil years later related that he considered Gwyn to be the best blues guitarist in Australia.
After seven years in Sydney, Gwyn returned to Adelaide with New Zealand drummer Rick Tredrea. Picking up bassist Laurie Height (of The Fools), they blitzed the Adelaide scene for 12 months, being noticed along the way by touring artists such as Cheap Trick's vocalist Robin Zander and Mick Fleetwood, who sat in with Gwyn one night. At around this time Gwyn opened for Rory Gallagher at The Old Lion in North Adelaide.
In 1991, Gwyn moved to Melbourne. He was immediately asked to open for Junior Wells, recruited ex-Madder Lake bassist Ian Holding and ex-Arial drummer Trevor Courtney to fill out the usual trio. In 1993 Gwyn conducted blues clinics at the Melbourne Guitar Show and Melbourne Music Expo and recorded his first CD, Feel The Heat with Rick Tredrea and bassist Geoff Brown. The day it was released, they toured Victoria and South Australia with Albert Lee and Steve Morse. Gwyn again opened for Steve Morse 2 years later, after which he then joined up with Dutch Tilders for a few months.
Ashton003In March 1996, Gwyn recorded his second CD, Beg, Borrow and Steel. After touring Australian venues and festivals, Gwyn again packed his bags and this time headed for the UK, via New Zealand and North America with gigs in Auckland, Wellington, LA, San Francisco, Austin Texas, and New York. Setting up base in England, Gwyn recruited another trio and performed at North Bucks Folk and Blues Festival and the Great British R 'n' B Festival in Colne.
Since residing in the UK, Gwyn has appeared with Peter Green, Dr. Feelgood, Wilko Johnson, Nine Below Zero, Sam Brown, Bernie Marsden, Micky Moody, Dave Hole, and has been known to share the stage with Mick Abrahams (Jethro Tull, Blodwyn Pig.)
Summer performances included the Bospop Festival (Netherlands), Skagen Festival (Denmark), headlined the Wolluk Stock '98 festival (Netherlands) and supported Buddy Guy in France at the Montreau Blues Confluences in July.

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