IF YOU GO
■ What: Wishbone Ash.
■ When: 8 p.m. Monday, April 21.
■ Where: Rhythm & Brews, 221 Market St.
■ Admission: $20.
■ Phone: 423-267-4644.
■ Website: www.rhythm-brews.com.
1970: "Wishbone Ash"
1973: "Wishbone Four"
1974: "There's the Rub"
1976: "Locked In" / "New England"
1977: "Front Page News"
1978: "No Smoke Without Water"
1980: "Just Testing"
1981: "Number the Brave"
1982: "Twin Barrels Burning"
1985: "Raw to the Bone"
1987: "Nouveau Calls"
1989: "Here To Hear"
1991: "Strange Affair"
1997: "Trance Visionary"
1998: "Psychic Terrorism"
1999: "Bare Bones"
2002: "Bona Fide"
2006: "Clan Destiny"
2007: "Power of Eternity"
2011: "Elegant Stealth"
2014: "Blue Horizon"
Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, Television and Iron Maiden all owe guitarists Andy Powell and Ted Turner a debt of gratitude.
In 1969, English hard-rock band Wishbone Ash advertised an opening for a new lead guitarist. After narrowing down their search to two finalists, founding members Martin Turner (bass) and Steve Upton (drums) couldn't quite decide between Powell and Turner, so they gave them both the job.
The result was a pioneering melding of melodic point and counterpoint that set Wishbone Ash apart and established a sonic standard later adapted by many bands. Forty-five years on, the dual-guitar approach remains a crucial flourish to the band's signature sound, Powell says.
"It's a big part of our legacy," he writes in an emailed response in the midst of Wishbone Ash's European tour. "Someone made a T-shirt for us, and it displayed the legend, 'It's about the guitars, stupid,' but I must say that, in addition, there are some heartfelt songs in our huge catalog."
And what could have been a quirky experiment is just as important and central to their musical framework today as it was in the '70s.
"Once we'd refined this powerful two-for-one approach, using the guitars like a horn section, there was no turning back. We mined it for all it was worth and still do."
Although Powell and Turner helped establish the standard for the dual-lead approach, Powell's six-string counterpart left the band in 1973. Upton and Martin Turner also dropped out of the lineup, leaving Powell as the group's sole founding member.
He now shares lead duties with guitarist Muddy Manninen. Bassist Bob Skeat and drummer Joe Crabtree will fill out the lineup when Wishbone Ash takes the stage at Rhythm & Brews on Monday, April 21.
The band is touring in support of "Blue Horizon," its 25th studio release, which hit shelves on March 18.
Looking back on the development of rock music, Powell says it's hard not to feel a sense of pride at watching the waves made by his and Turner's novel approach. To witness something they pioneered become an accepted practice has been immensely rewarding, he says.
"I listen to the outro in Steely Dan's 'Reeling in the Years' or [Thin] Lizzy's 'The Boys Are Back in Town,' and I hear my guitar constructions from our (1973) song 'Blowin' Free,'" he says. "No question, and it's no problem. It's a tip of the hat, a musical reference. I know it, and they know it."
Contact Casey Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.
Casey Phillips has worked as a features reporter in the Life department since May 2007. He writes about entertainment, consumer technology, animals and news of the weird. Casey hails from Knoxville and earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism and a bachelor of arts in German from Middle Tennessee State University, where he worked as the features editor for the student newspaper, Sidelines. Casey's writing has earned numerous accolades, including first and second place ...