Ross Ward / Wards Xpress

Ross Ward / Wards Xpress

BandBluesRock

As a soloist, Ross Ward plays acoustic slide guitar, explores Blues n Root's, and is always engaging and entertaining. As lead guitarist with Ward's Xpress, he covers a mostly original spicy gumbo of Blues, Rock, Jazz, Funk & Soul with an always 'heady' mix of great players!

Biography

Below is a compacted decade-by-decade bio:

1969-1979
With performance origin’s tracing back to 1968, Ross Ward first appeared on national television’s ‘Uptight’ with The Flying Circus in 1969 (aged 14), as the fill-in bassist for his older brother Warren. The two weeks spent touring with a band who had three records in the top 10 in those days, ruined any hopes of further education, and so a long journey began.

When Warren left the Flying Circus, he formed ‘Stonehenge’ with Ross, Tim Gaze and Nigel Maccara. Ross also later toured with Ronnie Burns, Stevie Wright and Mike Furber, amongst others, then held down a residence at Sydney’s “Whiskey au Go-Go” for a year, before joining ‘Cinamon’, a rock band from Sydney’s inner-western suburb’s, and toured the East Coast consistently for the next two years into 1973.

Ross also played guitar on album releases by John J. Francis and Aiden Nolan in the mid-seventies, made a few guest appearances in later versions of ‘Blackfeather’, worked with rocker Jimmy Taylor, played guitar with Billy Taylor and Gregg Higg’s ‘Broadway Brown’ and then teamed up with old ‘Cinamon’ cohort Phil Doherty, in ‘Nusa’, to round out the 70’s.

1980-1990
When ‘Nusa’ finally morphed into ‘Speed Limit’, the band released a six track mini-album, and two singles on Polygram subsidiary Airborne records in 1981, before a fairly hectic and endless touring schedule for the next few years, along with supports to just about every major Aussie act at the time, plus a share of spots with internationals such as ‘The Cure’, and USA blues-men ‘Canned Heat’.

Ross had spent many hours in his formative years listening to Canned Heat’s albums, and the invitation to jam with (the now late) Henry Vestine, (back in Henry’s motel rooms after the shows on that tour) had a profound effect, and so did the advice Henry passed on:

“Now that you got all those licks together, get back to your blues. Find the stuff that made you take up the guitar in the first place, man…”

In 1984, Ross founded the R & B Band, which for the next ten years, provided a ‘revolving door’ for many of Sydney’s best musicians. The band had a strong blues and blues/rock ethic, and regular guests included drummers Richard Harvey, Rudy Miranda, Bruce Stephens, guitarists Steve Edmonds and Phil Emmanuel, and vocalist/harp player Dave Tice.

1991-2000:
With ‘The R & B Band’ working regularly around the area between Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong, but also with a regular line-up, Ross managed to escape himself for a time, joining Lucky Starr’s band for a year or so, then Sydney boogie band ‘Bandanna’, with both acts working and touring regularly, before Ross returned in 1992 with some ‘serious’ line-ups of the ‘R & B Band’, working it hard until 1995.

Relocating to Byron Bay the same year, Ross immediately set about establishing himself as an acoustic-based soloist in the area, and then formed ‘Ward’s Xpress’

2001-2008:
In between Wards Xpress commitments, Ross Ward’s solo gigs had begun to gain some momentum in their own right, and by 2002, he’d begun a fairly relentless solo touring schedule, covering much of the East Coast of Oz from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast all the way down to Victoria’s Hills country, and all points and cities in between, and kept his work rate up when he released his first solo effort, ‘Transit Lounge’ in Nov. 2003, earning the ‘Bluesoz CD of the year Award’ for it in 2004.

He also teamed up with Doc Span, Phil Emmanuel, Dave Tice, Lucy Desoto and Wiley Reed (amongst others), for various live ‘side-projects’, and continued appearing regularly at some of the country’s best festivals, in both electric and solo modes.

WARD’S XPRESS:

The idea for the formation of Wards Xpress was first conceived at the 1995 East Coast Blues Festival (Byron Bay NSW), after a group of local musicians (including the newly arrived Ross Ward) were called in to form the nucleus of the backing band for the Bentley/Reed Blues Review. Ward’s Xpress released the EP/CD ‘Toe The Line’ in ’97, and picked up that year’s Dolphin award for ‘Best Blues’. In ’98, and working regularly between Brisbane and the Northern Rivers areas of NSW, the band released it’s first full-length album, ‘South-bound Freight’.

By 2000, the band had been appearing regularly at many of the major Aust. festivals, released yet another CD to good reviews (‘Wire-Fire’), and had started to appear more often in the Sydney/South Coast and ACT regions. ( Line-up details available ).
‘Wards Xpress’ has been a vehicle for Ross Ward’s tunes, but the band has also established a reputation for great live shows, bought on by the high standard of musicianship from the various regular line-up’s of players the band employ’s..

In 2003, the band contributed five tracks to Ross Ward’s solo CD, ‘Transit Lounge’,
as they continued to appear at various gigs & festivals around Oz, and in between Ross’ extensi

Discography

1998, '' Toe The Line'', Ward's Xpress EP/CD.
1999, '' Southbound Freight'', Ward's Xpress.
2001, WireFire'', Ward's Xpress.
2003, "Transit Lounge'', Ross Ward.
2007, '' One Day In May'' Ward's Xpress Live DVD.
*Please see bio section for 70's & 80's releases.

Set List

Set-list length's will vary from gig to gig. But in either solo or electric modes, the set list will be principally and usually 100% original material, drawn from material on the above CD's, and newer tunes written since. We can play 75, 60 or multiple 45 min sets as required.