February 22nd, 2018

The Washboard Union looking forward to U of L Shine On Festival

By Beeber, Al on August 28, 2017.

CCMA winners The Washboard Union will be performing at the University of Lethbridge's Shine On Summer Festival on Saturday at the U of L Community Sports Stadium. Photo submitted

Al Beeber

Lethbridge Herald


The Washboard Union is ready to “Shine” at the Shine On Summer Festival Saturday at the University of Lethbridge Community Sports Stadium.

The B.C. band just released its latest single “Shine” to radio in June, a tune that will be on Washboard Union’s next Warner Music Canada label.

And when The Washboard Union hits the stage, they’ll be standing in the glow of a career that saw them win Rising Star and Roots Artist of the year awards at last year’s Canadian Country Music Awards.

When the CCMA awards are handed out in Saskatoon in early September, they’ll again be in the CCMA spotlight with two more nominations.

The band was started by Kelowna natives Chris Duncombe and Aaron Grain – who met at the age of 13 when their father and mother respectively started dating – after connecting with David Roberts in Vancouver. Since their start when the three principles met at a mansion they rented rooms in, The Washboard Union has taken the country and roots realm by storm.

Their album “In My Bones” not only showcased the band’s songwriting talents but also produced two hits in “Maybe it’s the Moonshine” and “Shot of Glory.”

Their performance here will be a bit of a reunion since the band is good friends with Lethbridge resident Corb Lund as well as Dallas Smith and the band Mother Mother.

This will be only The Washboard Union’s second performance in Lethbridge, the first coming earlier this year at the Enmax Centre where they played the national anthem at the Greatness in Leadership conference.

Speaking at the conference was Ron Sakamoto, who also manages The Washboard Union.

The band first connected with Sakamoto through his son Shawn, a man the band met on a flight to Nashville.

After, they met Ron and his wife Joyce and “they loved us so much Ron said ‘let’s put you on a big stage and see what you can do,'” said Duncombe on Thursday.

Sakamoto put the band on a bill with the Zac Brown Band at Blue Bomber Stadium in Winnipeg.

“The band got an encore after that show which hadn’t happened for openers in the past,” he added.

“Ron said ‘let’s start working together’ and it’s been incredible. Ron’s now managing the band and it’s been incredible for us. It’s been an incredible couple of years and a lot of that is due to the hard work of Ron Sakamoto, for sure,” he added.

“Canadian radio really embraced Washboard Union from the beginning of the release of ‘In My Bones.’

“We’ve met so many new fans and been able to tour Canada and Europe and it seems something new comes every single day and we’re so grateful.

“We spent a lot of time, as we always do, writing and felt really good about the songs on ‘In My Bones.’ We probably wrote 50 songs and released six. The three of us started as songwriters and that’s been the essence of the band from the outset.”

And the band is appreciative of audience support.

“We’re glad people connected,” said Duncombe. “There’s no greater gift as a musician than people singing back a song you wrote in some dirty kitchen in Tennessee.”

Duncombe and Grain were musically influenced by the former’s father.

“My dad was such a big influence, a huge old country fan . . . Sons of the Pioneers, Buck Owens and that kind of stuff, so we grew up on my dad’s love of country, and Aaron and I had always have been in love with storytellers and gunslingers and the trucker songs.

“There was no shortage of country music in our house.”

The band is working on its next album with much of the recording yet to be done.

“‘Shine’ is the very first single from the new record and we’re in the middle of doing that record right now so ‘Shine’ is sort of the first taste of it,” said Duncombe.

“We’ll be recording it in a few different places. The last record was done in Nashville at RCA and it was an incredible experience and we’re still deciding where the rest of it will be recorded.”

“Ron has us on the road pretty heavily so it depends on where we have time to stop and record,” said Duncombe, whose band played for Sakamoto at the recent fireworks and music festival in Timmins, Ont., which their manager promoted.

“It was an incredible show there and such a great concert for the people of Timmins. That was great for Timmins and it’s only going to get better and bigger.”

The band is looking forward to performing here on Saturday, said Duncombe.

“It’s a great bill. We’re really excited to be coming down and doing our show.”

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