Empire Strikes Brass
Sun May 30

Empire Strikes Brass

with Special Guest Aaron Woody Wood

DATE: Sunday, May 30, 2021
DOORS: 5:00 PM
Live on the Outdoor Stage
Genre: Funk/Rock
Age Limit: Must be 21 or Older
Rain or Shine; no refunds
Price: SOLD OUT!
Buy Tickets

Listen to Empire Strikes Brass:

About Empire Strikes Brass:

Empire Strikes Brass (ESB) is a high energy Brass-Funk-Rock band hailing from the city of Asheville, North Carolina. Formed on the streets of their hometown, ESB is rooted in the New Orleans Brass Band tradition of second-line parades and deep moving grooves reminiscent of old school funk. Combining complex musical arrangements with thoughtful lyrical song structure, ESB can stretch out and dig deep when they are feeling it or keep things tight and concise. The fat sound of the horns paired with one dirty rhythm section makes the music downright psychedelically nasty! Founded in 2012, ESB intentionally stretches the boundaries of the stereotypical brass band paradigm, fusing sounds from various genres and weaving them together with the common thread of brass. The diversity of the music within their sets keep audiences guessing what is next to come.

Featuring rich group and strong lead vocals including Grammy Award winner Debrissa McKinney (Secret Agent 23 Skidoo), ESB not only takes its audiences on a ride to the dark side and back instrumentally, they also use the force of soaring melody and lush harmony to transport the listeners to another dimension. The band released its debut album, “Theme For A Celebration” in 2017 and it was tapped as one of the top 100 album releases in 2017 by WNCW 88.7 radio. Since their conception, ESB has been a consistent fixture at various festivals throughout the east coast. They’ve had the pleasure of having Warren Haynes (Allman Bros. Band and Gov’t Mule) sit in with them at New Mountain Amphitheater in Asheville, NC and the honor of headlining four years in a row celebrating the life of Dizzy Gillespie in his hometown of Cheraw, SC, for the South Carolina Jazz and Heritage Festival. ESB has co-billed with such artists as Dr. John & Lettuce. In 2019 the ESB horns were featured with Shpongle Live Band and Papadosio at Red Rocks Amphitheater. The horns have also sat in on performances with Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Galactic, Rubblebucket, The Big Something, and many others. ESB horn players JP Furnas, Paul Juhl and Alex Bradley are also featured on the live album compilation from world-renowned artists Beats Antique entitled “Creature Carnival” released in 2015.  In 2019, ESB flexed their musical muscle with the release of their 2nd studio album, “Brassterpiece Theatre”.  This sophomore album is a testament to the band’s creativity in composition, arrangement and production.  Another highlight in the band’s career was a 2-night run at Harrah’s Cherokee Center (Asheville Civic Center) in support of Billy Strings and Umphrey’s McGee in Feb 2020.  ESB horns sat in with UM for several songs in one of their signature mashups and then ESB welcomed UM keyboardist Joel Cummings and UM bassist Ryan Stasik to an afterparty on night 1 for a very special “Umphrey’s Strikes Brass” performance.    

Members of the band have also been expanding their musical resumes and repertoire. Notable side projects and performances include keyboardist Lenny Pettinelli’s recording and performing with Jazz is Phsh featuring such artists as Jeff Coffin (Bela Fleck, Dave Matthews Band), Chris Bullock (Snarky Puppy), Michael Ray (Sun Ra, Kool and the Gang), the Chase Brothers and many more. The band’s founder, saxophonist Paul Juhl, performed with John Oates (Hall and Oates) at MerleFest. In addition to her work with Skidoo, Debrissa McKinney has performed with artists such as Karl Denson and George Clinton. 

ESB is currently booking, touring and in pre-production of a 3rd studio album. 

About Aaron Woody Wood:

Aaron Woody Wood’s Story Is One Steeped In Music And Tradition. Woody Is Straight Up Appalachian Soul Music. Carved From A Piece Of The NC Foothills Rock And Rolled Through The Mississippi Delta Mud, He’s A Cosmic Cowboy Who Represents The Powerful Soul And Energy Of American Music.

Beginning All The Way Back In Love Valley, In The Piedmont Foothills Of North Carolina Where The Famous Fiddler’s Grove Was Held, Woody Was Brought Up In A Family Full Of Musicians And Musical Talent. As Long As He Could Remember There Was Music Surrounding His Life. Woody’s Father, AL Wood, Was An Important Figure In Contemporary Bluegrass Music Throughout The 60’S And 70’S Helping Define That Genre Of Music Alongside Bands Like ‘Seldom Scene’ And ‘Country Gentlemen’. AL Wood Was Well Respected For His Songwriting, Tenor Singing And Banjo Playing, Putting Out Records When Bluegrass Was Just Beginning To Get Popular. Playing At The Grand Ole Opry Three Times And Performing At The White House Were Among Some Of The Great Achievements Of AL Wood’s Career. Woody’s Mom Influenced Him Through Encouraging Him To Listen To Her Collection Of Rock N Roll Records Turning Him On To Artists Like Chuck Berry, Little Richard And Rockabilly Music.

Being The Youngest Of 5 Kids, All Of Whom Played Instruments Or Sang, Woody Was Immersed In Music And Tradition From A Very Young And Formative Time In His Life. His First Memory Of Being On Stage Was At The Young Age Of 6 Where He Played A Tiny Banjo His Dad Had Made For Him. He Played And Sang Next To His Dad And Bill Monroe That Day. Between The Old Time Bluegrass His Father And Brothers Played And The Piedmont Blues That He Was Drawn To In His Teenage Years, His Musical Styles And Influences Were Taking Shape Through His Guitar Playing And Songwriting.

At 20, Aaron Woody Wood Moved To The Asheville, NC Mountains And Soon Began Busking On The Downtown Streets With What Would End Up Becoming The Members Of The Rag N Roll Swing Style Ragtime Music Of The Blue Rags – And Would Be The Start Of Woody’s Musical Career As An Artist. When Woody Was 23 The Band Was Signed To Sub Pop Records And Began Touring, Eventually Recording 2 CD’s And Playing In 47 States Across The Country And Abroad Over The Following 5 Years Before Disbanding. Along The Tours They Opened Up For Some Of The Greatest Like Alabama, Leon Russell, Southern Culture On The Skids, Santana, Pavement, And Ziggy Marley In Places Like The Oregon Country Fair, High Sierra Fest, City Stages In Birmingham, Al And SummerFest In Milwaukee. Woody Was Featured In Acoustic Guitar Player Magazine In April Of 1998 For The Work That Was Being Released During These Years.

Over The Next 10 Years Aaron Woody Wood Had Many Successes As A Solo Artist And Began Various Bands In Asheville Like The Sufi Brothers, Custard Pie, And Hollywood Red, Opening Up For Mountain And Kenny Wayne Shepard. In 2006 He Was Featured On The CMT Television Show Big Break, Where He Beat Out Over 400 Local Asheville Musicians To Open For Country Superstar Sara Evans. The Show Aired Numerous Times On The Network. Woody Spent Those Years All Over The Country Doing Club Shows And Festivals Like Bonaroo And The New Orleans Jazz And Heritage Festival.

New Orleans Has Always Been Like A Second Home To Woody. While Spending Time In The Big Easy He Recorded 2 Albums And Performed Regularly With The Blue Brass Project, A Blend Of Traditional New Orleans Jazz And Bluegrass Music. The Blue Brass Sessions Features Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Woody, Members Of The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Rebirth Brass Band, Larry Keel, And Trombone Shorty. He Performed In New Orleans At Voodoo Fest And JazzFest In 2011 And 2012 With The Mardi Gras Indian Funk Band, The 101 Runners.

Over The Past Few Years Woody Has Been Doing Studio Work And Opening Up For Acts Like Brad Paisley, Buddy Guy, Jamey Johnson, Kellie Pickler, David Holt And Tony Joe White. He Sang On The Avett Brothers 2013 Release Magpie And The Dandelion And Plays At The Annual XMas Jam In Asheville, NC Every Year.

His Newest Release Was Recorded At Fleetwood Shack Studios In Nashville Tennessee Where He Joined Some Of His Bandmates From The Blue Rags. “Sunshine” Features Woody On Guitar And Vocals, Bill Reynolds As Producer And Bass Player And Mike Rhodes On Drums. It Features Micky Raphael (Willie Nelson) On Harmonica, Jimmy Wallace ( Joe Walsh) On Organ – And Was Mastered By Rob Frabone (Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Bob Marley).

Woody Continues To Focus On His Songwriting And Fresh Styles Of Guitar Picking While Collaborating On New Creative Projects. 

Listen to Aaron Woody Wood:

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