The Embers – Beach Music

There are many bands or groups today yet few that are considered a musical institution. The Embers have solidified their position as a thriving musical entity leaving their mark on listeners for decades.

The Embers boast numerous albums and single releases that span decades and all the crazes continuing to exhibit top quality showmanship, musicianship and professionalism. Having been inducted into the South Carolina Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame and the South Carolina Beach Music Hall of Fame, The Embers are honored to carry the moniker of North Carolina’s Official Ambassadors of Music. They have traveled the country and the world and has performed for every event imaginable from the highest dignitaries to the hottest back yard frat parties. The Embers were also honored to travel throughout South Korea to perform their Christmas special ‘Christmas with the Embers’ on American Military bases for America’s troops in December of 2007 and 2008. They were awarded Military Coins of Excellence for their distinguished service.

A Musical MARVEL

The Embers are widely considered a musical MARVEL and have laid the groundwork for what has become known as ‘Beach Music’ in the Carolinas, Virginias, the gulf coast region of North America and every beach in between. They are a true musical tradition with which many Americans have listened to from childhood to adulthood. The Embers consider the genre of Beach Music as “music with a memory” and have been creating lasting memories since its inception in 1958. Simply put – Heart and Soul, Rhythm and Blues, Feel Good Music.

The Embers Tour

Today, touring is commonplace for The Embers regularly boasting an average of 225 shows per year. They also embark on a cruise each year for their friends and fans to various locations throughout the Caribbean. And don’t miss their Christmas shows – perfect to get you in the mood for the holiday season!

An Entertainment Experience
The Embers are truly one of the finest entertainment experiences of our lifetime. Come to their show and they will put JOY in your step, LOVE in your heart and BEACH MUSIC in your soul!

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Band Members

Craig Woolard

Lead Vocals-Saxophone, Tenor, Bari, Alto, Soprano-Flute

Craig has won many accolades with The Embers, and is proud of his tenure with the group as Lead Singer & Front Man. A veteran of the music industry since he was 14 years old, Craig has performed for Presidents, governors, and ambassadors (Including governors of NC, as well as Elizabeth Dole’s and former President Clinton’s inaugurations); appeared on stage with famous groups as The Four Tops, The Temptations, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, plus backed up artists as Jeff Cook, Percy Sledge, Archie Bell, THE BLUES BROTHERS, Chuck Jackson, Donnie Ray, Ms. Jody, EDDIE FLOYD, GENE CHANDLER, Eddie Cornelius, Jerry Butler, and Alabama. He has played such events as the 100th Celebration of The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk. His music has been heard from the Caribbean, to New York, to California, Chicago, Atlantic City and as far away as Hawaii and Europe and is loved in Nassau and St Thomas for his annual appearance at Senor Frogs. For the past 10 years, he has co-hosted the acclaimed the Carolina Beach Music Awards (affectionately known as the “CAMMYS”) held each November at the Alabama Theatre in Myrtle Beach. And once again, Craig was the GRAND MARSHALL for the ever so popular SOS parade held each spring at Myrtle Beach, SC. He recently worked with Petty Enterprises producing a Beach Music CD to benefit Victory Junction, a camp for seriously ill children, as well as a TV show spotlighting Beach Music.

In 2011, in honor of his contributions to his industry, Craig was inducted into the CBMA Hall of Fame.

On May 7, 2005, the CWB performed right on the racetrack at the Darlington Dodge 500 in front of 120,000 NASCAR and Beach Music Fans! But there’s more – Craig was honored to be invited to sing the NATIONAL ANTHEM at the race, which was aired on FOX TV for Millions of people!

Stephen Pachuta

Trumpet-Vocalist-Keyboards

Stephen Pachuta, formerly of The Coastline Band and The Main Event Band, is now playing trumpet for The Embers. His formal training in music school, as well as four years of playing in Beach music bands, has made Pachuta a sought after musician both on stage and in the studio.

As a section player, most of his studio work is recorded with Saxophone player, Butch Barnes of the Band of Oz. Together they do the arrangements and recording to create that well-known sound of the ‘Carolina Horn Section’ on many beach music hits.

Pachuta has recorded with The Rickey Godfrey band, Band of Oz, Coastline Band, Big John Thompson, Dink Perry, Tin Tymes and many others. His trumpet playing is heard on Beach music labels one20inc, Ripete, and KHP Productions.

Jeff Grimes

Guitar-Sax-Vocalist

Jeffrey Miles Grimes has been playing professionally since high school. In fact, it’s all he’s ever done. Back in those days (early 70s), Jeff “sat-in” countless times with The Embers but he was usually playing saxophone. As most of the Carolina’s music trivia buffs know, during the 70s the Embers horn section consisted of 2 trumpet players….Johnny and Buck. Consequently, there was always room for a sax player. It was during these years that Jeff began a long friendship and association with Jackie, Bobby, and the Embers.

It was about 1973 that Jeff began “testing the waters” in New York City. By 1975, Jeff found himself working as a guitarist for Atlantic Records and recording or touring with The Jimmy Castor Bunch, Ben E. King, Sister Sledge, The Spinners, and others. But, as is so often the case with young talented musicians, he was unable to parlay this front-loaded success into a career in “The Big Time”. By 1978, Jeff was back in Nahunta, NC and forced to “re-evaluate” career choices that just weren’t working. He spent a couple of years trying to record original music and playing in a rock band named “10th Avenue” but ultimately decided to move again……this time to Florida .
The next 15 years were spent primarily in the Miami area where Jeff played house band jobs and worked in recording studios. The work was abundant and the musicians were great……but it wasn’t North Carolina.

In 1995 the phone rang – it was Bobby Tomlinson of The Embers. Jeff joined The Embers full time in ’95. Since then he has been playing with The Embers, playing jazz every chance he gets, and operating a state of the art recording studio in Goldsboro, NC.

Gerald Davis

Bass Guitar-Vocals

He started singing in church at age 5, learned to play guitar by age 7, and joined his first band at 15. After college, he moved to California, played in a group with R&B singer, Al Wilson (Show & Tell), worked a fulltime house gig in a Riverside Ca nightclub, jammed regularly with singer/guitarist, Sammy Hagar (lead singer with Van Halen), and landed a singing contract with Liberty Records. He also played on an album project recorded at A&M Records produced by Motown Legend, Marvin Gaye.

In 1976 Gerald returned to NC and joined the Embers, spending the next 30 years performing all across the US and Canada, sharing the stage with groups such as the Temptations, 4 Tops, 4 Seasons, Beach Boys, Ojays, Impressions, Doobie Bros, and James Brown to name a few.

In 2007, Gerald, along with other Embers formed Legends of Beach, playing all over the southeastern US, and touring with the NC Symphony’s “Blue Skies, Golden Sands Tour” in 2009. In 2011 he was inducted into the Beach Music Hall of Fame. The 2016 Embers are so happy to have Gerald back in the Band!

Gerald has 2 sons, Greg and Jim, and 3 grandchildren, Blake, Brandon, and Ashlyn. He and his wife Jane reside in Wilson North Carolina.

Wayne Free

Drums

The Embers’ drummer Wayne Free is a multi instrumentalist, producer, studio engineer, song-writer and arranger with experience and influence from a wide scope of musical styles and forms.

Now a resident of North Carolina, Wayne is a native of Ware Shoals, SC where he discovered his love of music at a very early age. His Dad had several country music bands that would practice in their home each week, which led to his passion. Watching the musicians play and his father sing, Wayne knew then that someday he wanted to explore the world of music.

While attending Lander University, he joined the storied and popular touring act The Swingin’ Medallions (Double Shot of My Baby’s Love) as a trombonist. During these years of learning the road and the stage, Wayne would become involved with the design, assembly and birth of Medallions Studios, Inc. where he would learn the art of song writing, studio production and recording. Wayne quickly rose to MIDI and audio studio engineer recording and creating tracks for clients ranging from Gospel to Rap. He would also learn the art of digital editing, multi-track recording, various recording technics and producing that continues to serve him in his career to this day. Wayne tracked, engineered, mixed and produced innumerable tracks for a diverse collection of outside clients as well as the Medallions from concept to completion.

In June of 2004, Wayne retired from The Medallions and moved to Charlotte, NC. It was at this time he had left music completely looking for a fresh start. Not having music in his life would quickly prove insufferable. By chance, Wayne earned a live audition with The Embers before a crowd of more than 3,000 without a single rehearsal. Wayne further grew as an entertainer fronting this internationally renowned group. He parted ways with them in 2014 to pursue a solo career, but now he’s back on drums as strong as ever!

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