Full circlePublished 8:13pm Saturday, March 22, 2014
Washington native and beach-music legend Craig Woolard is back with The Embers.
Woolard was with the North Carolina-based Embers for 27 years before leaving 10 years ago to form The Craig Woolard Band. The two bands merged recently, taking some personnel from each band to form the newest version of The Embers. The new band is billed as The Embers, featuring Craig Woolard. Its first performance was March 13 at Thirsty’s in Greensboro, followed by a gig in Fredericksburg, Va., and an appearance during the ACC basketball tournament.
With The Embers and his namesake band, Woolard earned numerous music awards, mostly in the beach-music genre. Woolard has performed many times in Washington, including appearances at the Summer Festival, fundraisers and at private functions.
“The way it came about was one of the members of The Embers who I worked with before asked if I would meet him at Starbucks one day. I did, and we started talking. He told me what he thought they needed, which is what I do. It was the furthest thing from my mind,” Woolard said. “I couldn’t even believe he was saying this, but I’ve learned never to say never. So, then we met again, we met again. We met with some other folks in the organization. Eventually, they made me an offer, and it was an offer I just couldn’t not turn down.”
Woolard said his decision came with some thought beforehand.
“The last year with my band was the best year I’ve ever had in the music business. I couldn’t believe it; it was so good,” Woolard said. “I’m going out with my band at the top of our form and coming in to an organization that needs me — so they tell me. I can hopefully build this (The Embers) to what it was in the past.”
Woolard continued: “Leaving The Craig Woolard Band was extremely difficult, even though I took three of them with me in the merger. That still left three I could not take. I grieve for that. I wish it didn’t have to be that way, but it does. I did, however, negotiate a nice severance package for them.”