Union Duke live at Combermere Hall September 28

COMBERMERE– You might wonder why the washboard has not leaped into mainstream music when you hear Union Duke’s Help Me Push My Blue Days Away.

Will Staunton’s nimble thimble clad fingers keep up a frantic pace on the washboard as fellow band members let rip a foot stompin’ tune that makes for some fabulous entertainment. Songs like this one are the sort that will be on the bill when Union Duke plays in Combermere on September 28.

“We’re really excited [to play in Combermere],” Matt Warry-Smith said in a telephone interview with The Valley Gazette. “We’ve driven all over Ontario [touring with the band].”

However, the September 28 event will be their inaugural stop in the Madawaska Valley.

The band comprised of Matt Warry-Smith, Ethan Smith, Will Staunton, Jim McDonald, and Rob McLaren will be performing at the Festival of the Small Halls in different venues around Ontario. Their stop at the Combermere Hall is part of that festival. The festival runs at various halls throughout the province from September 12 to 29.

“The Ontario Festival of Small Halls is about sharing a love of music in a beloved place,” organizers say.

The festival is organized by the same team responsible for Ottawa’s Bluesfest, an event that just celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Pick up a copy of the September 18 Valley Gazette for the complete story, or  subscribe online.