JIM THORPE — English blues rock veterans Wishbone Ash are back on tour, and they’ll be playing at a venue near you.
On Friday, Sept. 23, the band will play the Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe as part of its “Take It Back” Tour.
Wishbone Ash, who are perhaps best known for its pioneering use of two lead guitarists, are no strangers to the Jim Thorpe venue, according to the band’s frontman and only remaining original member, Andy Powell.
“We’ve played at the Mauch Chunk Opera House many times,” Powell said. “We’ve actually built up quite the following in Pennsylvania.”
The band has a sizable discography, stretching to 24 studio albums since its first in 1970. With a selection of music to pick from that large, fans may wonder what songs they can expect to hear when they see Wishbone Ash. Powell made it clear, pointing to the name of the tour to demonstrate.
“The tour is called the ‘Take It Back’ Tour. As the name implies, we’re going to be taking things back,” Powell said. “We’ll be playing some gems that haven’t been played in a few years and giving them a fresh dusting off, but we’ll also be playing things from the new album.”
This marks a shift in focus from the band’s previous tour, which was done in support of their most recent record, 2014’s “Blue Horizon.” With this album being nearly 18 months old, Powell said, the band wanted to focus more on its roots.
Fans should expect to hear the songs they know and love from the band, but they may come out a bit different than expected.
“We like to modernize songs a bit, but we also want to play the songs that people listened to for years. It’s a fine line,” Powell said. “We’re very respectful to the early recordings.”
The band’s massive catalog allows Wishbone Ash to carefully build a show, shows that have, as Powell says, a beginning, middle and end.
“I like the first three or four songs to have a punch to them. We invariably start with an instrumental song to get the sound right,” Powell said.
From there, the band will move into more subtle tracks.
“Maybe even an acoustic song, to give the people’s ears a respite,” Powell said.
Finally, they transition into some of the more epic recordings to build the show to a crescendo, often focusing on tracks from the album “Argus,” one of the most well-received in the catalog.
Wishbone Ash has made some transitions themselves. They are playing smaller venues than it used to, but so are other bands from their era, Powell points out.
“Fans have stuck with us; we have a fan community. They’re part of the rock ritual,” Powell said. “I am the keeper of the flame. It’s my job to make sure we produce our songs faithfully from the past.”
Fans looking to keep that flame alive with Wishbone Ash can catch them at the Mauch Chunk Opera House Friday, Sept. 23. Tickets are $27. Doors open at 7 p.m., with showtime at 8 p.m.
Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6119
IF YOU GO:
Who: Wishbone Ash
Where: Mauch Chunk Opera House
When: 8 p.m. Sept. 23. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Cost: Tickets are $27