The Empire Roots Band feature an all-star line-up of New York’s most celebrated blues/roots artists; Dave Keyes (piano), Woody Mann (guitar), Bill Sims Jr., (vocals) and Brian Glassman (bass). Coming together for the first time as the feature group for the fi lm Harlem Street Singer, the story of Rev. Gary Davis, the band celebrates the music of the Reverend with new interpretations of classic blues and Gospel repertoire plus there own original material.
The Empire Roots Band represents America’s top ambassadors of roots music. Between them they have toured the world performing and recording with the most important artists from the blues, folk and jazz worlds.
Dave Keyes has toured with Odessa, Bo Diddley, Tracy Nelson, Ruth Brown, Gladys Knight, David Johansen, Darlene Love, Lou Rawls and bluesman Popa Chubby. He has been the musical director for Broadway shows and recently been nominated for the American Blues Award for best pianist.
A Warner Bros. recording artist, Bill Sims Jr. is an accomplished musical director for blues theatrical productions including “Lackawanna Blues” and “Miss Ruby‘s House”. He has recorded extensively and was featured in the critically acclaimed US National Public Television documentary, “An American Love Story”.
Brian Glassman has toured the world as an American Musical Ambassador for The U.S. State Dept. and performed with Paquito d‘Rivera, Bucky Pizzarelli, Lionel Hampton, Kenny Burrell, James Moody, Gary Burton and Randy Brecker. In addition, Brian has toured with Klezmer / Yiddish and Jewish music stars such as The Klezmaniacs and Andy Statman.
Woody Mann, one of the producers of Harlem Street Singer, learned guitar directly from the Reverend and performed & recorded with blues masters Son House, Bukka White and guitar innovator John Fahey. He has been touring the world as a soloist and has schooled countless guitarists through his many books and DVD’s. Woody is currently a visioning artist at Berklee College of Music, in Boston.
Together, these celebrated artists come together to pay tribute to the masters they learned from and bring the past up to the present with their own contemporary roots!