Local band Classical Tub is anything but classical in its efforts to bring the unique sound of the washtub bass to the fore of Port Alberni’s music scene. The band has been strumming its strings for more than 30 years in the Alberni Valley and has no intention of packing it in any time soon.
Celtic-driven sounds create the base notes of Classical Tub, although over the years its members have added folk, blues, and doo-wop to their ever-expanding repertoire.
Classical Tub is the brainchild of two husband-and-wife teams: Ron and Gail Ross, and Dave and Gail Morton. Ron Ross plays the washtub bass around which the band has developed its persona.
“Playing the washtub was borne of necessity,” Ron explains. “I didn’t want to sit on the sidelines and watch while everyone else was playing guitars, singing, and having all the fun.”
Gail Ross does vocals and whistling for Classical Tub, as well as plays guitar, banjitar, and fiddle. Dave Morton plays the band’s lead guitar, and complements Gail Ross’s vocals with his own, adding harmonies and a distinctive blues style.
Gail Morton rounds off the vocals and harmonies for Classical Tub, and contributes eclectic whistle, mandolin, and harmonica playing to the overall sound of the band.
The quartet has been playing music together for nearly as long as they have known each other, about 30 years. Together, the Rosses and the Mortons string their instruments and warm up their vocal chords to regale the Valley with their unique gifts in venues such as local care homes, Rollin Art Centre, and the annual Alberni District Fall Fair.
“We make good music together,” Ron Ross says. “And after all of this time, we still talk to one another!”