By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Touring in support of his most recent album release entitled, Radiogram, Australian guitarist and singer-songwriter Gwyn Ashton returns to Rio de Janeiro in July and August to play multiple shows. Last in the city for the 2011 Rio Rock & Blues International Festival, Ashton is known for his skilled delivery of eclectic blues and heavy rock melodies filled with killer riffs.
“Radiogram is a rock-blues album, with the emphasis on the songs, more than just an excuse for another guitar solo,” Ashton told The Rio Times. “I wanted to recreate a sound from the records that I bought when I was young, hence the title bringing back the analogue world and the old ways of doing things.”
Influenced by Chuck Berry, George Harrison, Johnny Winter, Rory Gallagher, Muddy Waters and “just about anyone else who was good at it and made records,” Ashton has released six studio albums to date and performed with musicians and bands including; BB King, Mick Fleetwood, The Yardbirds, Marc Ford, Canned Heat and Status Quo.
To kick off his current tour in the country, Ashton will hold the official Brazilian launch of Radiogam on July 31st at Scheherazade at Vitrine da Tijuca. Following the launch party, Ashton will perform at Botto Bar in Praca da Bandeira.
Next, Ashton will head to SESC Barra Mansa located in Centro, to perform on August 1st. Then after two stops in São Paulo state and two stops in Minas Gerais, Ashton will return to play at Rio’s Bar do B, a venue in Laranjeiras, well known for its live blues shows.
“This type of guitarist is rare, it’s one you recognize from the first chords,” Renato Lima, a Rio DJ who will spin during the night of Ashton’s show at Bar do B, told The Rio Times. “For me to be able to participate as a DJ during one of the shows on this tour of Brazil, is an honor.”
Born in Wales, UK in 1961, Ashton moved to Adelaide, Australia later during that decade. He began playing the guitar at age twelve and by age sixteen was touring the country performing in bars and festivals. “I knew early on that it was the only thing I wanted to do and playing the guitar was the only real important thing in my life,” Ashton explained. “The guitar was my best friend and my source of social acceptance. Finally I belonged somewhere and I had a reason to be here.”
Ashton recorded his first album, Feel The Heat, in 1993 in Melbourne. His sophomore album, Beg, Borrow & Steel followed in 1996. Following performances with B.B. King, Johnny Winter, The Yardbirds and Status Quo, among others, Ashton released his third album, Fang it! in 1999. The album Prohibition followed in 2005 and 2009 saw his fifth studio release, Two-Man Blues Army.
“For me, Gwyn Ashton’s sounds revitalize the blues,” Lima who is also the author of Pockets Comix said. “I believe he is one of the few artists who manages to win both critical acclaim and public acceptance with every album released. It’s probably because he can honor the great masters of the genre while giving the music his own modern, personal touch.”
With nine original tracks and an included cover of Willie Dixon’s “I Just Wanna Make Love To You,” Radiogram was recorded mostly in a friend of Ashton’s farmhouse located in the midlands of England. The ten tracks feature Ashton on guitar, as well as, on bass, harmonica and providing vocals.
Additionally, for the album Ashton was joined by numerous special guests. “One by one, I gathered the other people to play on it,” said Ashton. “Don Airey (Deep Purple, Rainbow, Whitesnake, Black Sabbath), Robbie Blunt (Robert Plant), Mark Stanway (Magnum, Phil Lynott, Robert Plant) and Kim Wilson (Fabulous Thunderbirds). All contributed and played their hearts out.”