Washboard Union having a blast back in Saskatchewan

Scott Roos

Special to the Herald

It’s been three years since award winning B.C. country rockers, The Washboard Union, have graced the stage at Prince Albert’s E.A. Rawlinson Centre, but they’re getting ready to do it once again on Thursday, November 4th.

It would be an understatement to say that a lot has happened since then. There’s been prestigious concerts, singles releases, tours, a critically acclaimed full length and, of course, the pandemic.

One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is the band’s mutual admiration and genuine respect for the people of Saskatchewan.

“It was Saskatchewan that first started to pay attention to the Washboard Union and was so supportive for us right from the get go and has stayed that way,” remarked Washboard Union banjo picker, guitarist and vocalist Chris Duncombe in a recent telephone interview with the Herald. “We have a blast every time we come back.”

Duncombe believes the themes in the band’s music are relatable to the people in Saskatchewan because deep down, the principal members of The Washboard Union are country boys at heart.

“We’re not downtown city guys by any means,” Duncombe said. “I just think our appeal is more about those things we valued all of our lives. We grew up in lakes and mountains and rivers and camping and all of those things. Not that those images necessarily all find their way into our music but we come from that. We come from the mountains.”

Featuring original members Duncombe aka Dunner, as well as Aaron Grain and David Roberts plus an assortment of backing musicians, The Washboard Union blends tight, close harmony with a decidedly pop country flavour and a generous portion of rootsy, folksy twang.

The end result is a decidedly good time for the audience and band alike.

“There’s a feeling we get from hearing three voices start to sound like one,” Duncombe explained. “All the bands we admired who did that over the years just really left their mark on us. We just love that feeling when the hair on your arms stands up when you hear a great harmony.”

The band only played four shows through the last 18 months of COVID-19 restrictions, but they were able to make good use of their down time. Band members got together and wrote a few songs, but it’s clear that Duncombe and the boys missed being able to connect with their audience in a live setting.

For Duncombe in particular, he loves it when the audiences sing along. He’s missed that.

“When you hear words that you wrote sung back to you, that blows my mind,” he said. “It will never get old. It is the single most invigorating thing I’ve ever had happen in my life, so to get back to being in front of those people who love our music and spend time following what we do and getting back to them because they made this life possible for us, that’s the moment I can’t wait to get back to.”

The Washboard Union will be playing the E.A. Rawlinson Centre for the Arts on Thursday, Nov. 4. As of press time, tickets are still available and can be purchased via the Rawlinson’s website. Doors will open at 7 pm. Raquel Cole opens for The Washboard Union.