Gwyn Ashton has one hell of a bio! Where to start? Maybe here: Gwyn is an inductee into the South Australian Music Hall of Fame for recognition of his contribution of sharing original Australian music with the world. He has been described as “One of the best blues guitarists since Stevie Ray Vaughan” (Krusher Joule BBC/Kerrang). Born in Wales, Gwyn moved to Australia with his family as a child in 1965. He cut his musical teeth in Australia, soon becoming sought after for his guitar playing prowess. He has played alongside Swanee, Jim Keays, Stevie Wright and Mick Pealing, as well as touring with his own bands at festivals and music venues. Gwyn has been hauling his beaten up 1930s National steel guitar around the world for more than 20 years. Usually he is based in the UK these days, from where he can easily nip over to Europe to play to his fan base. (Oh and Robert Plant is apparently a mate who often drops into his gigs. Maybe he’ll drop into Wirrina this year too?!). Gwyn’s Influences include Mississippi Delta blues music, ballads, and eastern music. He is equally at home playing a Hawaiian Weissenborn hollow neck lap slide, resonator and 12-string guitars as he is playing a loud rock & roll set. His website lists his genres as Alt Blues, roots, rock ‘n roll, acoustic blues and world music. In recent years, Gwyn has been a frequent visitor to Australia playing gigs to promote his latest albums. In 2020 Gwyn thought he was in Australia for a 60 day tour before returning to Worcester, his home base for the last couple of decades. With the tour derailed by the infamous events of the COVID era, he’s made the best of things, rolled with the punches and settled in Adelaide to write songs, reconnecting and recording with some of the best, including Chris Finnen, Paul Wheeler (Icehouse), Mark Gable (Choirboys) and producing an album with Andrea Dawson. With a heap of new music which will be released “strategically” once he returns to the UK, we may just be lucky enough to hear some at Wirrina. How lucky are we?! Thanks for playing at our lovely little festival Gwyn Ashton!
We’re very excited to have Glenn Skuthorpe take to the Wirrina stage this year! If you haven’t seen him perform around the traps, you’re in for a delightful surprise. (That voice!!!) “With six highly-regarded albums and music featured in movies and documentaries such as The Emu Runner and John Pilger’s Utopia, Nhunggabarra, Kooma man and international touring singer-songwriter Glenn Skuthorpe is a powerful lyricist and composer who gives voice to those whose stories must be heard. A compelling performer whose playing style is captivating, engaging audiences in the stories behind his journeys. Glenn has performed on stages big and small with some living legends in his long career including Buffy Sainte-Marie, Steve Earle, Tex Perkins, Kev Carmody, Archie Roach, Rory McLeod, Michelle Shocked, Buddy Miller and Mary Gauthier. With his seventh album on the way and a string of highly successful tours (Port Fairy Folk Fest, Adelaide Fringe, Byron Bay Blues Fest, Woodford, Broome Saltwater Festival, Cygnet, Calgary and Edmonton Folk Festivals) prepare for an infusion of genres with vibes of urban street blues to open plains and wide open skies.” (From: https://glennskuthorpe.com/about) This particular writer came across him a while back at The Three Brother’s Arms (iconic Macclesfield SA pub) and pushed hard for the rest of the Wirrina committee to approach him. They did, and he said yes! I’m so happy, and I think you just might be too.
Smith, Allen & Petersen
Visiting from the USA, Beverly Smith, Kellie Allen, and Pete Peterson, are award-winning players of Old-Time Music. They have combined their talents to form Smith Allen Peterson, aka SAP—Beverly (fiddle, guitar, mandolin), Kellie (guitar, bass, mandolin) Pete (banjo, guitar, autoharp). Featuring hot fiddling and banjo-picking, driving guitar, and exciting vocal harmonies, they bring their expertise to old time and early country tunes as well as Beverly’s new songs. Joining us fresh from the Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival, as well as performing at our Festival they will be our featured tutors at the 2022 Wirrina Music Camp—immediately preceding the Festival.
BluGuru are Parvyn, Josh Bennett and Andrew Clermont. “A twisted tale of Indian, Blues, Celtic, Swing, Jazz, Bluegrass, and adventure. Fringe Award nominee Josh Bennett (Best Music) joins the genre-hopping antics of Andrew Clermont and the extraordinary vocals and dance of Parvyn (daughter of the renowned singer Dya Singh) to form BluGuru. All bets are off when it comes to what will happen at each show, with the genre and instrumentation changing from one song to the next, but you can expect soaring vocal harmonies, blistering guitar and fiddle, and then ‘instrument guest appearances’ by such as sitar, tabla, mandolin, banjo, didgeridoo, and of course, Parvyn’s shaker.” (From: https://www.facebook.com/BluGuruMusic/about)
What a treat this will be!
Dave Diprose Trio
Award winning songwriter Dave Diprose has spent over 40 years honing his skills as a story-teller and songwriter. A formidable guitarist, he performs blues, bluegrass, ballads and roots (Americana). Dave’s insightful stories of real experiences and humorous domestic situations appeals to audiences. His song “Hillbilly Radio” was awarded 2019 Bluegrass Song of the Year by the Tamworth Songwriters Salute. We’re looking forward very much to having Dave and the band take to the Wirrina Main Stage!
The South Season
David Lane, Michael O’Flaherty, Harry Baulderstone, David Drummond and Keith McGloin are The South Season. Adelaide locals, these talented lads do regular gigs around town. Featuring beautiful 4-part harmonies, banjo, mandolin, double-bass and guitar, they perform covers from the likes of Bob Dylan, The Band, The Pogues, Johny Cash, and the Old Crow Medicine Show. So looking forward to having them at Wirrina!
Mae Napier-Traeger (fiddle/vocalist) and Gage Stead (multi-instrument/vocalist) are Miss Ohio. Well known and loved by Wirrina audiences, we welcome Mae and Gage back to share their love of the music of the Americas and folk traditions. They will captivate you with an honest musicality, superb vocal harmonies, and stories that will take you on a journey through life, death and the space in between.
The Burning Bridges
The Burning Bridges (from Melbourne) will be joined on stage by Justin Vilchez (from Canada). The Burning Bridges bring you old-school country and bluegrass from the heart of Melbourne’s north. Steeped in the American pre-war country tradition, they breathe new life into brother-style harmony duets, Carter family classics, and an expanding catalogue of soulful originals. The band features the unrepeatable Peter Somerville on banjo, scratch guitar, dobro, and vocals; Fran “Ma” Martin on guitar and vocals; offspring Tom “Junior” Somerville on mandolin, guitar; and wunderkind Justin Vilchez on mandolin. Performing since 2012, The Burning Bridges appear regularly at national festivals including the Kelly Country Pick, MountainGrass Bluegrass Festival, the Great Alpine Pick, and Guildford Banjo Jamboree, and at venues of distinction throughout Melbourne and south-east Australia.
Justin Vilchez is a versatile and deeply committed bluegrass mandolinist. Living in Canada, Vilchez found himself playing shows, touring across the country, and recording as a member of bluegrass outfit The Local Group as well as regularly accompanying acclaimed folk artist Ellen Froese. Show highlights in Canada include Northern Lights Bluegrass and Old Tyme Festival, The Bassment, and All Folk’d Up.
Welcome to Wirrina!
The Cherry Pickers
We always love a Cherry Picker’s set here at Wirrina! They’re back to entertain us with their special brand of contemporary Bluegrass—often playing clever Bluegrass arrangements of pop songs. Along with their love of traditional tunes and their original songs, the Cherry Pickers bring to the stage an exciting and refreshing bluegrass experience.
Mark Bandick – Guitar, vocals Paul Cooper – Banjo, vocals Rob Cooper – Dobro, vocals Lou Evangelistis – Mandolin, vocals Mae Napier-Traeger – Fiddle, vocals Gage Stead – Bass, vocals
Bluegrass Junction have a lifetime’s passion for old-fashioned hard-core three-chord bluegrass and three-part harmonies. They play Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, The Stanley Brothers, Jimmy Martin, Doyle Lawson, JD Crowe, Jim & Jesse—the classics with that ‘high lonesome’ sound. Bluegrass Junction was formed in 1997, however, the band member connections go back decades earlier. Trev, Nick, Geoff and John all have played bluegrass in various Adelaide band configurations for over 30 years. The result is an almost intuitive understanding of one another’s approach to playing and singing. They know where the music comes from. They know why they are playing it and they know what makes it work. They are true veterans in the genre. and Bluegrass royalty at Wirrina festivals. Trev Warner, Nick Cawthorne, Geoff Bridgland, Stephen Loss, and John Bridgland are Bluegrass Junction.
Crooked Road are ‘Festival family ‘ at Wirrina as well as being one of Adelaide’s very finest Bluegrass bands. As well as playing regularly at Wirrina Festivals they are very well known at other festivals around Australia. They host Saturday afternoon sessions at The Gov in Adelaide on the 4th Saturday of the month at 1 pm—well worth attending! Bluegrass, folk, country, and gospel—their influences all come out in their music. Featuring Phill Parker on guitar, Andrew Hook on mandolin, Leonard Cohen on Dobro, David Taylor on double bass, and Richard Tonkin on fiddle. They’re just simply splendid!
Allye Sinclair & Dylan Woolcock
Local Adelaide talent, Allye Sinclair (cello) and Dylan Woolcock (mandolin) typically appear with Rob Wallace on violin, playing original contemporary and trad folk (Celtic) inspired music. The sweet blend of strings delivers a fine mix of melody and rhythmic drive with a dose of subtle humour. Formed in late 2021, this fresh acoustic trio are at home in intimate settings and at close quarters.
High Street Drifters
The Adelaide Scottish Fiddle Club
The Adelaide Scottish Fiddle Club was founded in 2002 to encourage an interest in the musical heritage of Scotland, and to provide a supportive environment for playing this rich repertoire of music. The club has members ranging in age from ‘under-eights’ to ‘over-eighties’ and cater for all levels of playing ability. We welcome this happy band of fiddlers back to the Wirrina stage!
Anne Toner Trio
Anne Toner, fabulous songwriter & performer from Tasmania now settled in Cape Jervis, is bringing her trio to play for us. Catch them on Friday and Sunday at the festival!