Moving Forward

Three years have passed since Big Leg Emma reformed in 2010, and the new year offers further opportunity for the band to reach new heights.

After a successful fall and winter tour to promote the band’s newest album, “Revival,” Big Leg Emma will begin a spring tour that opens avenues to new venues reaching toward the West Coast.

In addition, with the return of fiddle player Amanda Barton, the new year could spell even greater success for the Americana roots rock band.

The band’s most recent performance was on New Year’s Eve at the Crooked i in Erie. In addition to being a tribute to Led Zeppelin, the show marked Barton’s return to the stage with Big Leg Emma after taking a hiatus in July. Although Barton returned for the New Year’s Eve show, songwriter and guitarist Steve Johnson is unsure about the long-term status of her reunion.

“We’re just playing it by ear,” said Johnson. “We also invited her to play with us at our shows in the Dominican Republic, but then the band usually takes the winter off, and we come back around March. During that time we will reevaluate things and go forward from there because we have a lot of big tours coming in the spring.”

The band’s only show before March is a performance slated for Friday, Feb. 8, at the Fishing Lodge Cap Cana, Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic. The show will be a first of its kind for the band.

“A big-time international agency that deals with bands such as Aerosmith is taking care of the whole thing,” said Johnson. “It’s good to get into that whole realm on top of playing in a beautiful resort. We’ll do two performances – one is going to be lower-key inside the resort, and the other is actually going to be right on the beach of the Caribbean.”

Big Leg Emma began its fall and winter “Revival” tour in November to promote the release of its new album. And, beginning in the spring, the band will continue that tour. Although Big Leg Emma’s upcoming tour will continue acting to promote the release of “Revival,” the album has already received much praise from fans and the media. “Revival” was recently named Best Upstate Album of 2012 by Herby One, publisher of UpstateLIVE Music Guide.

“That was really cool for them to do that,” said Johnson. “Getting the music into the right hands so people could start writing about it to give their opinions on it really helps us out a lot. Just in the past year we’ve professionally and personally grown so much, and it feels good to be able to get out to new places because of it.”

While performing live, the two tracks off “Revival” that Johnson really enjoys playing are “Back to NY” and “Whisper.”

“A lot of them are really fun,” said Johnson. “The opening track, ‘Back to New York,’ has been a good one for us live. And, ‘Whisper’ has turned into something really cool because we do Pink Floyd’s (‘Another Brick In The Wall’) in the middle of it. That lets us stretch it out and have fun with it, which the crowd really appreciates.”

According to Johnson, the band is constantly working on new material, and Big Leg Emma will premiere some of it when it starts touring again in the spring.

“Charity and I do the acoustic duo shows and that is our place to try out new material,” said Johnson. “Now it’s time to make it a full-band spectrum. So, hopefully by spring we’ll be getting back into the studio to make another record. If all goes well we’ll have a new album sometime next year.”

Big Leg Emma will begin its spring tour on Friday, March 8, with a performance at Waterstreet Music Hall in Rochester. From there the band will start heading west with stops in Buffalo; Columbus, Ohio; Richland, Mich.; Chicago; and Kent, Ohio.

“We’re looking to branch out to the West Coast, to eventually make it out to California and go from Seattle all the way down to San Diego,” said Johnson. “Because of the Internet we have been doing a lot of online marketing, which has been connecting us with fans all the way out in Colorado and Arizona. So, the beauty of technology has allowed us to get fans before we even head out there.”

After completing the Mid-West tour, Big Leg Emma will return to the area for performances in Wellsville and Brocton before heading south. The southern tour will bring Big Leg Emma to several venues in Alabama, Virginia and West Virginia.

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