Blue Horizon - Wishbone Ash
Any fan of classic rock, guitar-based rock, or even progressive music will rejoice at this latest offering from the legendary twin harmony act. Andy Powell has really made this lineup more than just a cover band of what once was. The glory days when Ash had Steve Upton on drums, Martin Turner on bass/vocals, and Ted Turner to trade licks with Powell are revisited quite nicely on this record. Songs like “Take It Back,” “Tally Ho!,” and “American Century” all have that signature guitar sound that separates Wishbone Ash from its peers, but it’s “All There Is To Say” that gives the biggest nod. The riff that opens “All There Is To Say” is eerily similar to “Throw Down The Sword” from the classic Argus release. The tune changes its pace and ends up being one of the most progressive pieces on the album.
People that put this record on are hoping to hear some great guitar work; that’s what Wishbone Ash fans have come to expect. This record doesn’t disappoint. Powell and guitarist Muddy Manninen provide six-string strength throughout the majority of these songs, with “Deep Blues” being the tune that exploits that concept more than any other. “Deep Blues” is a little bit ZZ Top with its sharp foot-stomping riff, but it’s all classic ash for the solos. As Powell and Manninen trade lick after lick, you can consider this musical pornography, complete with bone rattling climaxes.
There are songs on Blue Horizon that bring the Ash sound into the modern world, as well. “Way Down South” is unique in this set because of its more simplistic pop structure. With a wicked bass line from longtime bassist Bob Skeat, “Way Down South” is one of the catchiest tunes in the band’s entire catalog. The vocal part is airy and light with great melody. The guitar sound in the song is really unique, too - almost as if it has a southern drawl to it. The tune winds down with one of the most passionate guitar solos you’ll ever find, too. “Way Down South” is 6:45 of pure bliss. “Being One” is a song that sounds a bit like a Rush song in the same vein as that band’s “Time Stand Still,” perhaps. Drummer Joe Crabtree really shines on this tune with a shifty, progressive rumbling that adds great flavor to the album. “Strange How Things Come Back Around” is another unique track with its reggae-like beat and full on guitar harmonies that close out the tune. But it’s a song called “Mary Jane” that gets the distinction of being the biggest surprise on the record, mostly due to the vocal part being handled by guitarist Muddy Manninen. It’s kind of a simple little number that has a bit of a bluesy sway to it. Manninen’s voice is nothing special but the vocal variety gives the set a nice, fresh feel. Oddly enough, it’s a tune called “American Century” that follows Mary Jane, and it has a female voice accompanying Powell and the most pleasant vocal arrangement on the record.
There are a couple more songs here that touch quite heavily on the band’s more progressive side. Songs like “Blue Horizon” and “All There Is To Say” are great examples of how deep this band can go. I think Blue Horizon really is the ultimate package for the hardcore Ash fan.
The Andy Powell Interview
Dr. Music talks with Wishbone Ash's Andy Powell about Blue Horizon, the top spot on his bucket list, and his appetite for a Rubin.
Any fan of Wishbone Ash music or great guitar rock will not want to miss this interview with the legendary Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash. For more than 45 years, Powell has carried on the name and the legacy of Wishbone Ash. Incessantly touring almost every corner of the world over his long career, he has managed to keep the signature twin guitar harmony sound of Wishboine Ash alive and thriving. In the following interview you will hear Powell discuss the band's latest offering, Blue Horizon, in vivid detail. He also talks extensively about the court case which pitted him against his former bandmate Martin Turner. Many things were discussed, such as music streaming services like Spotify, fans, the possibility of working with superproducer Rick Rubin, and the one thing he'd like to do most before he passes on.
Below you will find the complete conversation with Andy Powell. Feel free to either listen to the clip from beginning to end, or jump to the exact question that you'd like to hear answered. The questions asked are below, with the exact time they appear in the clip in parentheses. (Please allow the clip ample time to load after clicking the play button.)
CLICK PLAY TO HEAR THE ANDY POWELL INTERVIEW!!!
00:00 - 04:25 Greetings, and discussion about the latest album, Blue Horizon.
04:26 - 07:25 How did you record the album? Did you go the ProTools way?
07:26 - 08:30 Who is the female voice on "American Century" from Blue Horizon?
08:31 - 10:45 What guitars did you use for the album?
10:46 - 12:45 This current Wishbone Ash lineup is fixed, aren't they? (Discussion about
current band members,)
12:46 - 13:35 Are you going to tour the U.S.?
13:36 - 22:50 Now that you legally have the rights to the Wishbone Ash name, are there
any plans for any new product, such as recordings from the vaults?
(This portion is largely dedicated to discussing the recent court case.)
22:51 - 28:25 Powell talks about how amazed he continues to be by the dedication of
the fans. He also talks about humility and his thoughts about the gift of
28:26 - 34:35 What could a producer like Rick Rubin do for Wishbone Ash?
34:36 - 38:35 Any desire to pursue Rick Rubin?
38:36 - 41:35 What are you listening to these days?
41:36 - 46:11 What are your thoughts on music subscription services such as Spotify?
46:12 - 47:32 What's at the top of Andy Powell's "bucket list"?