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Rob Smith graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University's College of Music, has performed in almost every major city in the U.S., and has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in music, including Sugar Ray, Jewel, Huey Lewis and the News, Switchfoot, Vanessa Carlton and Pat Benatar. As a busy studio musician on guitar and bass, he has also worked with world-renown engineers and producers.
Kristen Kay Smith holds a Master of Music in Musical Theatre Performance from New York University Steinhardt and a Bachelor of Music Education in Choral/Classical Voice with Minors in Piano and Religion from Baylor University.
Curt Baker's musical journey began at age 15 learning the basics of dobro guitar from a school mate, David McMillan in Nashville, TN. While living in Nashville, he was encouraged in his learning by the legendary players Pete "Oswald" Kirby and Shot Jackson. When his family moved to Virginia, Curt continued his learning with the help of several regional bluegrass artists. He was soon playing well enough to perform at many of the local festivals and music venues in the Roanoke , VA area. After college, Curt left the music behind to pursue family and career.
Eric Hollandsworth grew up as a multi-instrumentalist in Roanoke VA, performing on the cello, electric and upright bass and violin through high school and college with a diverse collection of bands and groups ranging from Bluegrass to Rock to Jazz to Classical.
Singer-songwriter Cissa Paz has made a name for herself in Washington DC as an eclectic performer influenced by the local jazz sounds and her Brazilian African-Indigenous background. Nominated for 3 Wammies, her debut album gained great organic momentum. Cissa’s captivating stage presence and soulful voice bring music that is upbeat and engaging. She’s known and loved among the lovers and dancers of Brazilian music not only as a performer, but as an ambassador of her genre. Her upcoming album promises a combination of Afro-Brazilian base with funky and soulful influences. A musical melting pot of fresh collaborations with highly acclaimed artists from her home country.
Gary "Ju Ju" Garlic
As a young percussionist, Ju Ju came to Hampton Roads in 1988 as a music education major at Norfolk State University. After leaving college to pursue a career in music, he has had the privilege of performing for a living since 1994 when he was hired as a drummer at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
From there, JuJu played cruise ships, and toured. He has shared the stage with some very good company, including the Temptations, Chris Vadala (from Chuck Mangione), Najee, gospel legend Albertina Walker, James Brown, Ricky Smiley, Danny Glover, Jasmine Guy, Russell Simons, Earth, Wind & Fire, Tim Reid, and Donna Summer.
Ju Ju plays drums, bass, vibraphone, latin percussion, steel drum, and will soon be a heck of a spoon player!
Born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains, singer songwriter, mountain musician and dancer, Martha Spencer, was immersed in old time music since she was born. She grew up playing and dancing in her family band, the Whitetop Mountain Band, and now also performs with several different duos, trios and bands as well as fronting her own group. She has toured all across the States, and performed in Australia, UK, Europe, Canada, Mexico and New Zealand playing such venues as Merlefest, the Kennedy Center, Americanafest, the Smithsonian and the National Folk Festival. Her solo album in 2018 had writeups and features in Rolling Stone Country, No Depression, Pop Matters, The Boot, and Wide Open Country; and she has been included in other articles in the New York Times and Austin Chronicle. Martha was also included in the “Fiddlin” movie documentary, and has been a part of several projects like Women in Roots, Appalachian Dance World, J.A.M and Mountain Music Magazine.
Audacity Brass Band
Audacity Brass Band is a ten-piece brass band that uses New Orleans instruments and influences to create a rocking jam band sound with a funk-fusion twist. ABB originated out of Farmville, VA and now is based out of Richmond. With all members composing, ABB’s style is influenced and includes hip-hop, rock, blues, traditional jazz, or whatever they are feeling on stage at the moment. “We love the flair that Audacity’s style brings. Groovy, Funky, Tight, Audacious.” – Charlottesville Fan
Audacity was started by Sam and Tyler in April 2014, with the help of other musicians and friends at Longwood University. Once they found set musicians the group quickly started arranging and writing. Audacity played their first two years around Farmville, Virginia mostly around the campus of Longwood University. 2015 brought ABB’s first recorded demo, Bourne Salty. Good luck finding that. In 2016 Audacity Brass Band released their first album A101 and picked up residencies in Richmond, Farmville, and Charlottesville and began to travel outside of the Central Virginia area. In January 2018, the band released a deluxe single, The Salt Supremacy, that featured their anthem “Brap Attack”. Audacity released their second full length album, The Chemically Imbalanced, on February 7th, 2019! The band kicked off their first full summer tour in April of 2019 with the LOCKN’ to ROCKN’ competition in Richmond, VA that sent them to the finals in Charlottesville, VA where they won a spot on the main stage at LOCKN’ 2019. In the midst of the hopeful end of the pandemic, the band is currently working on new material and is starting to get out to safe, outdoor stages. Check the upcoming events below to see when they are #bringingtheparty to you!