The Defenders

After almost 25 years on the road with Wards Xpress, and the endless solo gigs all over the country, it was time in 2018 for singer/songwriter/guitarist Ross Ward to take a break, but not for long. Enter ‘The Defenders’. Principally a four piece with an emphasis on ‘groove’…with a capital G. Not just your average blues band either, although the blues is there….the band covers a wide range of styles and influences. There’s also elements of Rock, Jazz, Latin, Funk & Soul with a strong focus on their original tunes.

In January 2019, Ross descended on Peter Northcote’s inner-Sydney studio. The one-day session yielded a version of JJ Cale’s ‘Tijuana’, although it was Harry Manx’ version of the same tune that inspired Ross to record it. RW had also road-tested the tune many times.

The single was released via direct-marketing and digital download. The track will be available on hard copy as part of an upcoming EP that the band is working on now. The Defenders live Sydney debut was at the Manly Fig, Fri 28th June, 2019. The band features some of this country’s most in-demand session players, with Rudy Miranda ( drums ) and Ian Lees ( bass ) ​
“What a joy to hear Ross Wards new band, The Defenders, play their first gig at the Manly Fig. Ross is sounding strong and clear on both voice and guitar and seems to be loving the new challenge. May one of Australia’s finest blues guitarists please be around for many years to come. What a joy to hear great live music in a supportive environment, long live live music, long live The Defenders.” Simon Rawson. Manly Fig, June 2019.
“How good is it to see new formations of talent arising from accomplished Australian musicians, getting together in a new line-up. The Defenders have released their debut single with a song titled “Tijuana”, encompassing what is now a highly political issue of critical importance and relevance…an original song by J.J. Cale and captured in a superb new single release by The Defenders – – Colin Briscoe 2RRR-88.5FM”
” The Defenders – Tijuana
Ross Ward ( Wards Xpress ), Rudy Miranda ( Dave Hole/Mal Eastick ) & Ian Lees ( Moving Pictures/Chasin’ The Train )  are The Defenders…the project’s debut recording is probably better known from the Harry Manx version of this slightly under the radar JJ Cale tune, Tijuana. Borrowing from the slide guitar versions of David Lindley and Harry Manx but using the quite topical lyrics of JJ Cale, The Defenders have put their own skilled touch to this track. A fitting introduction to The Defenders…The Defenders of good musical taste! “Anthony Moulay – Presenter “Blues from The Bay” – BayFM Byron Bay, Co-ordinator of the Australian Blues & Roots Airplay Charts.”

“ On Friday 28 June 2019, we checked into the once per month ( Manly Fig) gig in Balgowlah. ……..The Defenders were second on the bill, and from the get-go….they had the crowd rocking. …. with an attentive crowd, blazing tunes and great sound, the set was second to none. …Blues/rock band The Defenders have nothing to defend as their musical honour cannot be compromised!”….Georgina Reed. ‘Soulscope’, Northside Radio. 99.3FM.

“I’ve been following Ross Wards career in music for the past ten years. The live show at Frankies Pizza I witnessed in October is the best I’ve ever heard him sound. The Defenders kicked arse!’’ Phil Norton, Oct 2019.

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