The Washboard Resonators hail from Leeds in England and can be described as sounding and looking like ‘a ragtime street band meets a Hollywood musical on a theatre stage somewhere in around 1932’. Their favorite performers include the jazz, ragtime, hokum, blues, comedy and vaudeville sounds of Louis Armstrong, Blind Boy Fuller, Fred Astaire, The Washboard Rhythm Kings, Robert Johnson, Gene Krupa, Max Miller, George Formby, Tampa Red and The Memphis Jug Band. The spirit of these long gone artists and their music is summoned back to life every time Martyn and Jack take the stage with their mixture of old traditional songs and new songs written by the band. Formed in 2014 they started out busking while playing together in blues trio Leeds City Stompers. Word spread and quickly the duo was in demand, playing many times per week. This lead to many major festivals and shows such as The Great British R&B Festival and Upton Jazz Festival as well as completing tours of the whole of the UK every spring and winter. In 2015 the band had the honour of playing the music at the ‘welcome back to the rails’ party for The Flying Scotsman steam locomotive at The National Railway Museum in York. Getting many requests for CD’s at gigs they released their first album ‘The Washboard Resonators’, a collection of old blues and jazz numbers recorded by the band in Jack’s shed during 2016. This sold well and the few original songs they did were getting great responses so they started work writing more songs. In February 2018 they recorded an originals album; ‘Scrub That Thing’ on all 1940s and 50s microphones and tape machines at ‘Sugar Rays Vintage Studio’ in Essex, UK. During May of 2018 they travelled through the USA from New Orleans to Chicago for a vintage guitar and drum collectors event. They picked up instruments along the way and got inspired by walking the cities and streets in which the music they love was made. While in Memphis they recorded at the legendary Sun Studios for their release ‘The Sun Sessions’, an EP of five hurriedly written original songs. Standing on an ‘X’ on the floor where Elvis, BB King, Jonny Cash and Roy Orbison had stood they recorded into a Microphone used by Elvis. In December 2018 the band recorded ‘Live From Leeds’ a 20 track album capturing one night at Seven Arts Centre, Leeds in front of 65 fans and released it on CD and through their usual online channels. An email from The British Library requested the bands albums of original music in early 2019 and the bands works are now permanently included in the national collection for all of time. In summer 2019 the band were featured in one of their favourite magazines ‘The Syncopated Times’, in an article talking about converting people to vintage jazz and trying to ‘keep it British’ in an American music form which lead to a spike in fans around the world. Inbetween all of the above the band continue to perform over a hundred times a year and constantly work on new material to keep making a completely unique show for the audience and performers alike. 'The future of 1930s blues and ragtime is in safe hands' —rootstime.be “Jack Amblin has an extraordinary talent. In his hands, the washboard becomes an instrument of infinite possibility giving the music a unique sound filled with rhythm and power. Coupled with Martyn Roper, a guitar player of both substance and style the pair deliver a technically brilliant set full of foot stomping anthems. Classic tracks are interspersed with original songs. The audience love it and it’s easy to see why. The Washboard Resonators take the street corner music of yesteryear and serve it up for the delight of a modern audience. This old music is for most of us completely new. These songs have a way of getting inside your head, reminding us not to forget them”. —Nick Evans, afterdark.com
Jack plays washboard, drums, percussion, jug, sings and tap-dances in The Washboard Resonators. His biggest inspirations are his first teacher Peter James, Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich and he has a deep love for 1920s jazz and the golden era entertainers especially Fred Astaire. He has drummed since the age of 11 and performed all over the world including a Radio 2 Big Band broadcast with Jazz Show host Clare Teal. He has also performed as a drummer with some notable artists including: Olly Murs, Sir Tim Rice, Gregory Porter, Pee Wee Elis, Ray Gelato, Bruno Merz and is often out playing gigs with other acts or doing drum sessions. His other regular bands include The Red Canary Dance Band, Howlin’ Rick and The Rocketeers and The Big Easy. He is a vintage drum collector and is endorsed by Ludwig drums.
Martyn plays guitar, banjo, ukulele, jug and sings in The Washboard Resonators. He loves pre-WW2 blues, comedy, music hall and jazz like Blind Willie McTell, Lonnie Johnson, George Formby and especially Blind Boy Fuller and Tampa Red whom he listens to on his gramophone. As a solo performer he writes, produces and performs his own blend of gothic blues, folk, rock and ambient music. He fronts the blues trio Leeds City Stompers playing guitar, double bass and banjo. He has played with many acts including Serious Sam Barrett, Gentlemans Pistols, The Old Time String Band, Storm and Hot Dead Fox and has played all kinds of shows from dementia wards in care homes to huge festivals in Japan, New York, Sweden, Norway, Germany and France. Martyn has built up a big collection of vintage guitars and is obsessed with the resonator guitars made by National in the 1920s & 30s.
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