Homegrown blues musician Ash Grunwald is renowned for his chilled-out attitude and smooth sound. He’s just finished a string of performances across the country and his forthcoming album Now is due for release in September, but he still finds time for a surf and a trip to the local farmers’ market.
Here, the singer-songwriter shares his top spots in Byron Bay and why Paris is his preferred city: “You can get a baguette, blue cheese and wine at petrol stations.”
Can you name a Byron Bay spot that everyone should visit?
The amazing Minyon Falls – near Byron Bay in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales.
What’s your all-time favourite restaurant and why?
The Farm Byron Bay. I watched the development of this restaurant and the place truly astounds me. They have an onsite farm where they grow, and serve, all their own produce, while other ingredients are sourced locally.
Where do you go for your morning coffee?
Once a week I visit my local farmers’ market just around from my house and buy (you guessed it) locally sourced coffee. Low food miles and great flavour.
In your opinion, what’s the best bar in Australia?
Kerbside in Fortitude Valley Brisbane makes a great espresso martini. They substitute vodka for Patrón tequila, which was a new concept for me. The place is decorated with recycled furniture and the whole bar is housed in what looks like a mechanic’s workshop.
Where’s the best place you’ve ever travelled to?
I’ve travelled far and wide for music and for my other passion, surfing. My trips to remote areas of Sumatra, though, stand out as some of the greatest experiences of my life.
What’s the most exciting place you’ve ever performed?
Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. I was exposed to the most spectacular views I’ve ever seen and the way people live around the area is amazing. I spent some time with the festival director, Funky Claude [Nobs]. A ski lift took you to the back door of his house – he was a very interesting man. The festival was memorialised in the Deep Purple song Smoke on the Water, which tells of a fire at the festival in 1971.
What’s your favorite city to visit and why?
I’m not much of a city man myself but Paris is always great. I spent a fair bit of time there over the years and I don’t know why but it’s the only place where I think it’s appropriate to eat white bread. I love the fact that you can get a baguette, blue cheese and wine at petrol stations.
What are the top five things you won’t go on a trip without?
I am an extremely light packer. I’ve been known to leave for brief missions with nothing but a toothbrush, a change of underwear, a spare T-shirt, backpack and my phone.
Which songs are on your inflight playlist?
I’ve been listening to a lot of old African American work songs recorded by Alan Lomax from down in Mississippi. The soulfulness of the voices transports me to another world.
The last book you read on a plane?
Revolution by Russell Brand.
Do you get to the airport early or late?
I’m a lazy person who likes to take it easy. I think the best way to relax before a flight is to get to the airport hours early, not late.
The best thing about flying is…
The fact that you are in no man’s land with nothing to do but relax.
SEE ALSO: Insider Tips to Byron Bay