Following up his acclaimed 2009 album, Two-Man Blues Army, blues guitarist Gwyn Ashton returns with new release Radiogram, a ten track feast of thrilling and sizzling guitar passion. With drummer Kev Hickman alongside, Ashton had created an album which shows why he is so highly rated by the likes of Robert Plant, Johnny Winter, and Don Airey. Radiogram is a vibrant slice of blues driven rock n roll, a collection of songs which burst through the ear with enterprise, invention, and mesmerising skill.
Welsh born and an Australian resident since the mid sixties to the nineties, the now European based Ashton has drawn great and eager responses to his music and play since picking up the guitar at age 12 and playing in his first band when 16. Across the past couple of decades he has toured with the likes of BB King, Ray Charles, Buddy Guy, Mick Taylor, Rory Gallagher, Peter Green, Junior Wells, Johnny Winter, Canned Heat, Robin Trower, Jeff Healey, The Yardbirds, Status Quo, and Magnum, whilst recorded with such luminaries as Kim Wilson (Fabulous Thunderbirds), Robbie Blunt (Robert Plant), Chris Glen/Ted McKenna (SAHB, MSG), Don Airey (Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne), and Gerry McAvoy/Brendan O’Neill (Rory Gallagher). It is a CV to ignite the passions, something his new album easily emulates.
The sixth album from Ashton also finds an array of high profile guests involved alongside he and Hickman, those involved including Don Airey, Kim Wilson, Robbie Blunt, Johnny Mastro (LA’s Mama’s Boys), Mark Stanway (Magnum, Phil Lynott), and Mo Birch (UB40, Go West, Culture Club). Radiogram only takes the length of its initial soundbite before enticing the emotions to wake up and pay full attention. Once into its stride opener Little Girl sizzles with heated riffs and forceful rhythms whilst the strong vocals cap the impressive first engagement of accomplished rock n roll. The track saunters and dawdles in turn as Ashton leaves fiery sonic shards across the song for a stirring start.
The album is a release which with great variety continually leaves one excited and wholly satisfied. Songs like the brilliant and best track on the album, Let Me In, with its teasing blues swagger and great mouth organ mastery, the classic sounding Dog Eat Dog, and the smouldering For Your Love to just pick a trio, all lifting one up in irresistible muscular arms to devour with ease their compulsive and rich majestic sounds from full imaginative hearts. The album is a release which you do not have to be a blues enthusiast to draw much pleasure from, even those with harder more abrasive tastes like us cannot avoid being magnetised by the craft and stirring sounds at work.
Also featuring a great version of the Willie Dixon/Muddy Waters song I Just Wanna Make Love To You and the simply hypnotic instrumental Bluz For Roy which closes the album and alone shows why the guitarist is so strongly thought of, Radiogram is one of the best rock albums to appear this year. Gwyn Ashton may still be an undiscovered name for many outside of blues but the album will certainly go a long way to changing that as its impressive sounds reach wider searching ears.
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