Washboard Union Rock It For Boots & Babes
The Washboard Union & The Chris Buck Band play the fourth annual “Boots and Babes” ball at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. It is another year of Valentine’s country fun that is an ongoing effort to support JRFM’s Basics for Babies charity. This show has always been a blast and these two bands did not let that standard down. The event had been sold out for weeks and highlighted the Valentine’s Day weekend for local country music fans.
Jrfm’s own DJ jaXon Hawks warmed up an excited crowd with a great mix of top releases and old favourites that had the dance floor getting a workout. Even Jewel the mascot was seen ripping up a few moves with some “lucky” ladies. The ballroom decorations and very busy waitresses were enough to tip this party into full swing.
Chris Buck Band
Chris Buck and his band hit the stage at 9 and got the attention of the crowd with a great intro song with a lot of energy and you could see Chris enjoying this moment. Playing The Commodore has been a bucket list thing for him for a while and he made the most of it on this night. Chris is a local boy who started his first band at 13 to help him deal with the loss of a childhood friend to cancer. What started as a cover band slowly improved and with more time writing and testing new music to audiences has progressed to one of B.C.’s busiest bands. Hits like “Leave Your Lights On’ and ‘Giddy Up’ helped garner a nod as BC Country Music Association’s Country Club act of the year, two years running. They are a hit with a pumped crowd now. Their current hit ‘Sun Sets Down’ even had ’em singing along. Great set by Chris and the boys.
The stage was full. There are were a lot of musicians on stage. Seven players, and a no lack of facial hair. Washboard Union is usually a six-man band but there was one extra on this night. The three frontmen Dave Roberts, Aaron Grain, and Chris Duncombe. The latter two were friends that met as teens in Kelowna when their parents started dating. They instantly hit it off musically and eventually moved to Vancouver. They rented space in an old Vancouver mansion that Roberts was also renting. The three began writing together and the results are still growing. Musically, they are different. There is a bit of rock, a lot of country, a smidge of bluegrass and a ton of smooth harmonies. It sounds great and gets the boots a-stompin’.
Aaron Grain has center stage and lead vocals on many songs while playing acoustic guitar. Duncombe plays electric guitar, banjo, and mandolin and vocals on several as well. Roberts plays harmonica, and the ever-present washboard and has a vocal range that many would die for. Did I mention he has “the” beard? A beard that gives Santa’s a run for his money.
The energy on stage was infectious and you could tell the energy on the dance floor was giving it right back to the Hometown boys. Everyone was smiling, singing, swaying or outright losing it. Whether it was a cover or their own song, this is music that makes you feel alive. A guest appearance by JoJo Mason for a song before the finale really got the crowd a little crazy. This is music that needs to be experienced live. I know that the next time they’re in town, I will be first in line to see the boys do it again.
Tom Paillé / @TomPaillePhoto