Music Review – Union Duke

Band: Union Duke
Album: Golden Days

No summer is complete without adding an awesomely fun folk album to your playlist. Toronto folk quintet Union Duke has just released their third album Golden Days, and it promises to be a rollicking good time.

Founded in 2008 by childhood friends Ethan Smith, Jim McDonald, Matt Warry-Smith, and later joined by musicians Will Staunton, and Rob McLaren, the boys of Union Duke have been busy this summer with live performances scheduled all over the country. Upcoming shows include a stop at the Nancy Appleby Theatre in Athabasca, AB on October 13th. For complete details and to check out to see if they are playing near you, take a look at Union Duke’s website.

Union Duke has also garnered a considerable amount of Canadian fame. The band once played live on the now extinct Canadian show Canada AM. Watching the video of their performance on Canada AM tells me that audiences will appreciate the amount of energy the band members put into their performance, something that they try to translate into their songs.

Union Duke’s third album, Golden Days, was just released August 5th. Hoping to capture the band’s live performance energy, Golden Days was recorded live. The album was then mixed by “Grammy award-winning mix engineer Mark Lawson at Sonobee (Arcade Fire, Basia Bulat, Timbre Timber)” (, and mastered by Reuben Ghose at Mojito Mastering. The leading single “Got You On My Mind” was released back in May at to give audiences a taste of what to expect on the upcoming album.

Although considered indie rock with influences of blues, folk, and country, similar to the Country Music Association Award winning The Soggy Bottom Boys, and fans of that will enjoy the twangy banjo, brilliant guitar solos, and amazing vocal harmonization. However, this isn’t true for every song. The track “Right For Me” is more of a softer love song that lacks many of the country and folk elements heard in the other songs. Then there is the cheeky “CoffeeWhiskey” with its string busting fiddle and hilarious lyrics. Overall, when you hit play on Golden Days throw your genre-defining expectations out of the window, and get ready for a fun time.

The music on Golden Days is perfect for those less than great days, because the catchy beats, electrifying tempos, and well thought-out lyrics are sure to put a smile on your face.

Union Duke’s Golden Days can be found on the band’s bandcamp page, and the band’s two other albums and EPs can also be found there. Golden Days can also be bought on iTunes, Google Play, and straight from the band’s website.

Samantha currently uses her skills as a writer to promote independent musicians and raise awareness and support for many global, environmental, and humanitarian issues. Check out her website and blog at: