Union Duke is a Toronto folk act that bridges big-city rock with bluegrass and country, defined by their entwining rambling banjos, soaring vocal harmonies, chicken-pickin’ electric guitars and a fast driving, heel-stomping beat.
The band is composed of five close-knit friends, featuring Matt Warry-Smith on ukulele and a rag-tag mixture of percussion, Ethan Smith on a chugging acoustic guitar, Jim McDonald on the roving banjo, Rob McLaren on lightning-fast lead guitar, and Will Staunton on the rolling bass and thundering kick. Matt and Ethan take the majority of lead vocals and the rest fill in the gaps with massive harmonies.
This past year Union Duke shared the stage with the likes of Elliot Brood and played a number of summer festivals including NXNE and the Burlington Sound of Music Festival. Since then, they have been working hard on 12 brand new tracks that have become their newest album. Recorded in seclusion on the shores of Lake Ontario, Bandits & Bridges captures the voracious energy and unrefined, unrestrained performance that encompasses their live show.
Call them bluegrass, alt-country, folk, or anything you like – their stunning harmonies and honest songwriting are sure to get you hooked.