Empire Strikes Brass
with special guest Vanessa Collier
DOORS: 6:00 PM
STARTS: 8:00 PM
Live on the Indoor StageGenre: Funk/Rock
Age Limit: Must be 18 or Older
Laissez les bons temps rouler! EMPIRE STRIKES BRASS brings the brassy, funky NOLA party to Salvage Station on Sunday, February 27 with special guest Vanessa Collier! Tickets are available now! Doors are now opening EARLIER than previously mentioned. Doors are now at 6PM and the music starts at 8PM.
Root Down will be serving their delicious twist on Southern Soul food, PLUS we will have our FULL bar open for you to enjoy!
Check out our Covid-19 policy here. CDC guidelines + band requirements + our own personal policies are changing daily, so please keep your eyes on our website for updates. As always, thank you for supporting live music and for your cooperation as we navigate this challenging time together!
Check out our FAQ page here to learn about parking options (this event has free on-site parking), what you can and cannot bring inside the venue, and MORE!
About Empire Strikes Brass:
About Empire Strikes Brass:
Asheville, NC-based BrassFunkRock band Empire Strikes Brass has a lot to say with a big sound. Chock-full of serious groove from a thumping rhythm section highlighted by lush horn arrangements played by a thick section, the band’s compositional roots combined with its creative and collaborative soul contribute lots of depth in their original tunes and covers that speak volumes to ESB’s evolution.
Founded in 2012 by saxophonist Paul Juhl, ESB has grown from a party band of friends playing New Orleans-originated or inspired second-line and funk tunes with elements of rock and jam. Now, it consists of a collective of players, singers, songwriters, and producers who have found an original sound that fuses their individual musical influences with fresh ideas while still holding true to their foundation.
Featuring rich group and lead vocals from several members- including Grammy Award-winning artist Debrissa McKinney (Secret Agent 23 Skidoo), keyboardist/producer Lenny Pettinelli and guitarist Chris Porter – ESB’s vocal tunes are as wide-ranging, super fun, and fantastically funky as their instrumentals. Drummer Nik Hope, bassist JP Furnas, trumpet player Alex Bradley, trombonist Kyle Snuffer, saxophonist Pauly Juhl, and keyboard/percussion Sean Donnelly each contribute those fire ingredients that make this roux so savory, spicy and sweet all at once. All band members (including former guitarist and vocalist Kelly Hannah who contributed 4 originals between the band’s 2 studio albums) have a deep love of many styles including funk, jazz, R&B, outlaw country, hip hop, and almost everything else!
Since Empire’s inception, they have been a constant fixture at various festivals throughout the USA. This has led to some stellar musical pairings with amazing acclaimed artists. ESB horns have been featured on amazing live performances with the world-renowned Beats Antique (2015 Live Album Creature Features), Shpongle Live Band(2019 Red Rocks), Umphrey’s McGee (2020 Asheville Civic Center), Papadosio(2019 Red Rocks). Over the years, the horns have also sat in with such artists as The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Galactic, Rubblebucket, The Big Something, and many others. The full band has 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 performing at the Jazz and Heritage Festival celebrating the life of Dizzy Gillespie in his hometown of Cheraw, SC for 6 years in a row. Empire has also co-billed with some of the biggest names in funk and soul including Mavis Staples, Dr. John, and Lettuce.
Other notable side projects and performances from members include Lenny Pettinelli recording and performing with Jazz is Phsh – an instrumental tribute to the music of Phish founded by the Chase Brothers featuring Grammy Award-winning saxophonists Jeff Coffin (Bela Fleck, Dave Matthews Band) and Chris Bullock of Snarky Puppy as well as legendary jazz trumpeter Michael Ray (Sun Ra, Cosmic Krewe) and many other heavy hitters. Paul Juhl has performed with John Oates (Hall and Oates) at MerleFest. In addition to her work with Skidoo, Debrissa McKinney has performed with Karl Denson and George Clinton. Bradley, Snuffer, McKinney & Juhl have also sat in with Andy Frasco.
When Empire Strikes Brass comes together, whether live or in the studio, the sound is undeniably strong and solid. The band’s debut album was recorded at Asheville’s own renowned Echo Mountain Recording Studio, released in 2017. Entitled “Theme For A Celebration”, it was tapped as one of the year’s top 100 releases by WNCW 88.7 radio. ESB’s newest release “Brassterpiece Theatre”(2019), also recorded at Echo, is a fiercely funktacular followup and both albums are available through all major music distribution streaming, sales and listening platforms. While ESB is currently celebrating a milestone with their 10th Anniversary in 2022, recording their 3rd studio album will be taking place between shows as the band writes and masters its’ new sounds while on tour. Look for the band on the road and at festivals near you!
Listen to Vanessa Collier:
About Vanessa Collier:
“There’s a young lady [Vanessa Collier] came onstage with me, I forget where I was, but she’s playing an alto saxophone, and man, she was amazing.”
Those are the words of Buddy Guy in a recent issue of American Blues Scene, describing an impromptu performance with Vanessa Collier on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise. If you haven’t been fortunate enough to meet Vanessa and witness one of her head-turning, fiery, and passionate performances, you should definitely make sure you do. As a master musician and multi-instrumentalist, Vanessa Collier, weaves funk, soul, rock, and blues into every powerful performance and she is downright impressive. With soulful vocals, searing saxophone, and witty songwriting, Vanessa is blazing a trail, racking up an impressive arsenal of honours, and has already singled herself out as an artist of distinction and one we would all do well to watch.
It’s not simply the accolades she has accumulated so far, although they’ve been many — two Blues Music Awards for “Horn Player of the Year”, seven Blues Music Award Nominations (BMAs), a Blues Blast Award nomination, the Jammingest Pro Award bestowed by the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, First Place for lyrics in the International Songwriting Competition, Best of 2014 Blues Breaker on Dan Aykroyd’s BluesMobile — it’s the fact that she has accumulated all these honours even while her career is still in its infancy. A 2013 graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music, she’s toured nationally and internationally, released three critically acclaimed albums (2014’s Heart, Soul & Saxophone, 2017’s Meeting My Shadow, and 2018’s Honey Up), and released her highly anticipated fourth album, Heart on the Line, to crowdfunders in May 2020. Honey Up spent 9 weeks atop the Billboard Blues Album Charts Top 15, 3 months on the Living Blues Charts at #10 and #23, and continues to be spun on Sirius XM’s B.B. King’s Bluesville radio station!
It’s not surprising that the press has been quick to commend her efforts as well. Blues Blast Magazine affirms, “Vanessa Collier is a fresh face on the American blues scene, and in addition to her soulful vocals, she brings a mighty sax to the table…” Blues Music Magazine proclaims, “Collier is a fresh face who comes to the blues stage carrying her reed instruments, a dual degree from Berklee College of Music in Boston, a major label debut, almost two years of touring with Joe Louis Walker, and a mature musical vision…Collier commands center stage with her vocals, soloing, and stage presence.” Midwest Record exclaims, “This bluesy singing sax player knows how to bring the slinking funk to her captivating, award winning sound that has echoes in young Bonnie Raitt/Maria Muldaur vocal sounds…Killer stuff on every level, this sounds like one of the reasons you first became a music fan. Killer stuff.” and AXS.Com declares that she “might as well go ahead and add another shelf to her trophy case because clearly, she’s going to need it. With a voice that often recalls that of blues-rock stalwart Bonnie Raitt, Collier turns up the heat…”
Having first picked up the saxophone at the age of nine, Collier embarked on her road to recognition at Berklee, earning dual degrees in Performance and Music Production & Engineering. While still completing her degree, Collier landed a position touring with Joe Louis Walker for a year and a half before Joe encouraged her to strike out on her own. And strike out she did.
These days, Collier spends much of her time on the road, performing at some of the most prestigious music festivals in the world. Her talents have taken her to the Blues Music Awards Show where, in the words of the Blues Foundation, Vanessa “blew the doors off the Blues Music Awards!”; Ottawa Blues Festival, where she earned two front page newspaper photos and rave reviews after her foot stomping debut there; twice on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise, where she earned the Jammingest Pro Award and was a featured artist with Tommy Castro’s Blues Review; Briggs Farm Festival, where she was the “most popular Briggs Farm act in 2017” (Elmore Magazine), and the list continues. In 2017, Vanessa was also a featured artist in three major tours across Europe as part of Ruf’s 2017 Blues Caravan.
In early 2018, Vanessa was nominated for TWO 2018 Blues Music Awards, the first one for Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year, which puts her in elite company with artists such as Beth Hart, Samantha Fish, and Shemekia Copeland, and a second nomination for Instrumental – Horn Player of the Year, in company with veteran artists like Trombone Shorty, Al Basile, and Jimmy Carpenter.
As for Collier, she says she’s happy performing on stages across the world, hoping that she can make a difference with fans and followers along the way. “I am driven to do this because I find it a total form of expression and connection,” she explains. “I love connecting with an audience and feeling their energy and I hope to inspire people to follow their dreams and passions, to find what brings them joy, and then to pursue it doggedly.” Vanessa also takes that message to young people as she runs clinics across the country and is active with Blues in the Schools programs. At a recent Blues in the School program, Vanessa invited a stage full of elementary and middle school aged kids up to dance around her while she performed a blues shuffle. Watching the joy on the faces of Vanessa, the kids, and everyone in the auditorium, it is no wonder why Vanessa has become awe-inspiring to all who meet her. On top of talent and hard work, Vanessa shares an incredible heart and a strong purpose. To borrow from the words of an article in Blues Blast Magazine, “Vanessa is an important part of the future of the blues, and it would be cool to support her journey.