Over the past eight years, Sonoma County’s Black Sheep Brass Band has evolved from alley-way buskers to a band of brothers performing throughout the Bay Area. This year, the band sets out on its most ambitious tour yet, packing all 12 members into a van and traversing the Pacific Northwest in support of their debut self-titled album.
In the North Bay, Black Sheep Brass Band plays Petaluma’s rollicking Rivertown Revival festival on July 16 alongside acts like Frankie Boots & the County Line, Highway Poets, the Crux and others.
Formed by songwriter and musical arranger Maxwell Church in 2008 and originally known as Jungle Love Orchestra, the brass band was a casual project until about four years ago when word of mouth led to regular gigs and the lineup solidified into a dozen-man roster of talented players.
“Our focus and thinking has changed over time,” says alto sax player Chris Cory. “Max wants to push it as far as it can go.” Noticing an uptick in interest for old-time brass-band music, Cory says that Church and the rest of the Sheep are ready to take their music to the next level.
“We’ve got a group of people with musical experience, talent and dedication to the craft,” says Cory.
This past winter, the Black Sheep Brass Band gathered in Cory’s Santa Rosa warehouse space to record their long awaited self-titled debut, a funky and jazzy collection of original tunes and a few Dixieland standards that evoke New Orleans street parades and Preservation Hall soirees.
This weekend’s appearance at Rivertown Revival is the band’s first show since returning from their tour. The annual avant-garde festival celebrates local flair with music, art boat races, creative artisans and family fun. Taking the stage twice, at 3:30pm and 6pm, the band is ready to party.
“It’s great to be back,” says Cory. “We’re recharged and the fire has returned.”
The Rivertown Revival takes place along McNear Peninsula in Steamer Landing Park, 6 Copeland St., Petaluma. 11am. $5–$10.
Our annual NorBay Music Awards are back this summer, and online voting is now open! Head to www.bohemian.com and click on the link on the right-hand side of the screen, then vote for your favorite Sonoma, Marin or Napa-based bands in categories of Blues/R&B, Country/Americana, DJ, Folk/Acoustic, Hip-Hop/Electronic, Indie/Punk, Jazz, Rock and Reggae. This year, we’ve also added a best Promoter category. Voting ends on Monday, Aug. 8. Our free awards show concert happens Sunday, Aug. 14, at Juilliard Park in Santa Rosa where two winners will take the stage.