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Country music concert headlines Fort Macleod anniversary bash

A country music concert featuring a Juno Award winner and other acts is a showcase event for Fort Macleod’s 150th anniversary celebration

The Washboard Union headline a show that runs from 4-9 p.m. Saturday, June 29 at the F.P. Walshe school field.

“We’re so excited,” Chris Duncombe of B.C.-based The Washboard Union said in an interview earlier this month. “We’re so excited that Fort Macleod would reach out to us for this.”

“We’re excited to be able to spend a really important anniversary with everybody there. Alberta’s been so good to us and we can’t wait to come back. Any time that we get to play on that side of the Rockies is a great opportunity and a great day.”

Raquel Cole opens the concert at 4 p.m., followed by Kalsey Kulyk and Eric Ethridge at 5:30 p.m.

The Washboard Union takes the stage at 7 p.m. for a show filled with the band’s popular hits, along with songs from the new album Westerly set to be released on July 12.

Duncombe, step-brother Aaron Grain and best friend David Roberts are The Washboard Union, the only country band to win a Juno Award as Breakthrough Group of the Year.

The Washboard Union has also won nine Canadian Country Music Association awards, including Group of the Year three times and Roots Album of the Year.

The Washboard Union began the biggest summer tour of their career June 6 in Nashville, with stops in Kamloops and Dauphin before their June 29 show in Fort Macleod.

From Fort Macleod, the band continues to the Calgary Stampede, Paris, Ont., Saskatoon, Thunder Bay, Medicine Hat, Mattawa, Ont., Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, Lake Cowichan, B.C. and Hastings, Ont.

Duncombe and The Washboard Union are looking forward to making connections with their hard core fans, and making new ones with the Fort Macleod audience.

“When someone in the crowd is singing words that you wrote back to you from the crowd, that is the single greatest feeling for the band,” Duncombe said.

The Washboard Union will be looking into the audience Saturday evening, looking to make a connection.

“If you can really make that connection it makes the show more exciting for you and it certainly makes it more exciting for them,” Duncombe said.

The Washboard Union began playing the western Canadian bar circuit in the 2010s and released their self-titled first album in 2012.

In 2015 the band released an EP with the single In My Bones that went top 40. Another song from the EP, Maybe It’s the Moonshine, reached the top 10 and a third single, Shot of Glory, hit the top five on Billboard’s Canada Country chart.

That same year, The Washboard Union won the British Columbia Country Music Association Award for Roots Canadiana of the Year.

In 2018 The Washboard Union won the Juno Award for Breakthrough Group of the Year for their album What We’re Made Of.

That was followed in 2020 by their third studio album Everbound.

Universal Music Canada will make Westerly available on all streaming platforms on July 12.

“I think we’re just really proud of this record,” Duncombe said. “We’re proud of what it says, we’re proud of the chances that we took, we’re proud of the fact that the band has evolved sound-wise from maybe where we were when we started. All of our favourite bands were fearless in that way and that’s what we tried to do.”

Singer-songwriter Raquel Cole has opened for artists such as Carrie Underwood, Jonny Lang and Brothers Osborne

Raquel Cole will open the country music concert on Saturday.

Cole is a recipient of a CCMA Award and the winner of other accolades from American Songwriting Magazine lyric contest.

CBC and Radio Canada named Cole one of 25 musicians under 25 who everyone needs to know.

Cole’s song, Imogene from her debut album Personal Truth won second place in the Unsigned Only category in the International Songwriting Competition.

Cole’s debut single Think About You reached the Top 50 on Canadian Country Radio and was one of SiriusXM Country’s biggest songs of 2021.

Kalsey Kulyk is another rising Canadian country star whose debut album Outlaw Poetry was released in February.

Kulyk won the Canadian Country Music Association’s Discovery Award in 2017 and released an EP titled Kalsey Kulyk, which received a CCMA nomination for Roots Album of the Year in 2020.

Kulyk’s single Love Me Like an Outlaw was her first song to make the Top 20 on the Billboard Canada Country chart.

Singer-songwriter Eric Ethridge’s self-titled EP in 2018 debuted at No. 1 on iTunes country charts.

Ethridge has a 2017 CCMA Discovery Award win and a 2019 CCMA Rising Star Award nomination to his credit.

Ethridge has six Top 50 Canadian billboard hits, and his song If You Met Me First has more than 10-million views on Youtube.

When he’s not in Nashville writing songs or on the road performing, Ethridge works as a chiropractor.

The Washboard Union will perform in Fort Macleod on Saturday, June 29 as part of a country music concert during the 150th anniversary celebration.

Raquel Cole will open the country music concert on Saturday.

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