-10.6 C
Elmira
Friday, January 17, 2020
Connecting Our Communities

This take on bluegrass is anything but traditional

Toronto-based quintet Union Duke brings an energetic live show to Kitchener’s Registry Theatre on March 2

TRENDING

News Briefs

Woolwich nixes traffic islands Displeased with the troublesome pedestrian islands installed during the Region of Waterloo’s reconstruction of Church Street...

Woolwich proposes 5% tax hike for 2020

Budget talks underway this week, Woolwich council is looking at five per cent hike in property taxes, a...

20-year-old agreement causes a stir

An Elmira environmentalist’s “smoking gun” appears to be shooting blanks. Al Marshall, a long-time critic of cleanup efforts at...

Chicken barn destroyed by fire Thursday morning

Fire completely levelled a two-storey chicken barn on the Third Line of Mapleton Township Thursday morning....

THIS WEEK

Elmira
light rain
-10.6 ° C
-8.3 °
-13 °
66 %
4.6kmh
75 %
Fri
-8 °
Sat
-4 °
Sun
4 °
Mon
-6 °
Tue
-7 °

Matt Warry-Smith is on the line from Kansas City. He and his bandmates are there for the Folk Alliance International conference and showcase. They’re a long way from their Toronto home, but that’s nothing new for Union Duke.

That band has made a name for itself based on its very energetic live performances, touring extensively to win new audiences. A schedule that has them heading out north and west, where winter is far from over, sees them closer to home March 2 for a show at Kitchener’s Registry Theatre.

“I consider us more of a live band than a studio band. We play a lot. We tour a lot,” said Warry-Smith.

The band has been touring extensively behind 2016’s Golden Days, its third album, and has been working on a new disc despite the full schedule. New material will be part of the Kitchener show, he notes.

Union Duke’s sound mixes elements of folk, rock and bluegrass (in a newgrass vein) for a sound that’s not conventional.

“We’re definitely far from traditional,” said Warry-Smith of the band’s bluegrass style.

While there’s a heavy bluegrass influence, the sound is based on rock, pop and a variety of backgrounds brought by each of the band’s five members. (Union Duke describes itself as two fifths city, two fifths country and one fifth whiskey.)

Along with Warry-Smith, there’s Ethan Smith, Jim McDonald, Will Staunton and Rob McLaren.

“We basically started with a pop-rock style … melded to a heavy bluegrass influence.”

A Matt Warry-Smith song becomes a Union Duke song after the influences of “five dudes in a band.”

“We can each bring a song to the table, then it gets Union Duked,” he laughs of the band-turned-verb. “That’s how we build our sound.”

Each band member brings something into the mix, including the song-writing process

“I like stories. I like writing songs about feelings, about personal and, at the same time, universal issues,” he said, noting that songs of love and loss resonate with most of us – we all have experiences with such things and can relate, whether in listening to such songs or writing them.

“It seems corny to court heartache so that you can write about it.”

That does, however, fit in with styles of roots music such as folk and bluegrass, which typically tell stories of loss, whether personal or societal.

The stories of Golden Days, for instance, draw on warm personal memories that many of us share: nights by the lake, passing a bottle around the fire, or singing with your friends at the top of your lungs. It also looks forward, reaching for those long, lazy summer days that will keep you going through the winter, with the band calling it “a record of pain and struggle, lessons learned – and of laughter between friends, tenderness between lovers.”

Such stories are part of the enduring appeal of roots music in particular.

“It’s so timeless,” said Warry-Smith.

Marrying those stories to a high-energy live show is Union Duke’s forte. That’ll be on display, along with three-, four- and even five-part harmonies, at the Registry Theatre on March 2 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22, available by calling 519-578-1570, or online at www.registrytheatre.com.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

LIVING HERE

The new face of health promotion

There’s a new face around the Woolwich Community Health Centre. Gebre Berlihun has taken on the role of public health promoter after the retirement of 25-year employee Joy Finney in October.

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

EDCL donates $1,000 as thank-you to Floradale firefighters

Thanking the Woolwich Fire Department, Elmira District Community Living this week donated $1,000 to the Floradale station. Firefighters from Floradale...

Kings win two more to keep streak alive

The Elmira Sugar Kings extended their 2020 winning streak and their hold on the conference standings with a pair of wins over the weekend.

EDSS student wins U.S. baseball scholarship

It’s January and nowhere near Florida, but St. Jacobs’ Blake Jacklin is in a baseball frame of mind. That’s not a passing fancy,...

Applejacks extend winning streak to three

The new year continues to be good to the Wellesley Applejacks, who picked up a pair of wins over the weekend to make...

Choir to bring the sounds of Africa to Elmira

An Elmira church will play host to a lively performance by an internationally-acclaimed children’s choir from Uganda, Africa. The Watoto...
- Advertisement -