Gretchen Emery Band

Gretchen Emery Band

Newark, Delaware, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | INDIE

Newark, Delaware, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Rock Soul




"Nurse, rock singer transformed trauma, loss into a new album and deep friendships"

August 12, 2022
Gretchen Emery’s musical journey has taken the longtime nurse and soulful rock singer down a deep rabbit hole filled with unusual relationships and experiences that the Newark resident has cultivated over the last 20-plus years.
For evidence, witness The Gretchen Emery Band’s new EP, “If Love Were Enough.'' It’s a project she and her guitarist and husband Kenny Windle created that touches on themes of injustice, heartbreak and hope. The record was produced by Derek Chafin.The song “Addie” was inspired by the singer's heartache after she lost an infant patient nearly 30 years ago, while working as a pediatric nurse for a medical daycare in Delaware.

“I have cared for many children who have passed away, unfortunately. And he just touched me in a different way. Or he was the straw that broke the camel's back after losing a number of different kids,” Emery, 54, explained.
The song “Addie” is a fictitious name for the young patient’s grandmother. The music sounds a little like a marriage of rock and non-contemporary gospel, while Emery flexes her strong vocals on the tune. In the song, Emery asks Addie to tell her grandson — if she managed to find him in the afterlife — that she tried everything she could to save him.

“The music allows me a place to sort of … I don't want to say deal with the emotions, but it gives me a place to manage the feelings, some of which don't have words,” Emery observed.

The self-titled track, "If Love Were Enough," offers a laidback, hypotonic melody under Emery’s sassy, lounge-style vocals. As the song progresses, she turns up the pressure and morphs from casual singing into intense crooning, once again demonstrating her mighty chops.

The song features the chorus, “Love ain’t enough to keep the devil from knockin,’” which repeats a few times and ends with, “But I’ll be damned. Ain’t gonna give up on love.”
The title of the tune is a phrase that’s lived in the back of Emery’s mind for ages, she said. The singer explained she was inspired by a young terminally ill patient she cared for who was surrounded by a loving family, yet that love didn’t keep the child alive.

“If love were enough, maybe he wouldn't have to die. Maybe he would be OK. Maybe he could be healed," she said.
The music video for the song includes a social justice theme and features a wide range of people from different walks of life. It includes a biker with a George Floyd tribute on his vest, a gay couple sharing an intimate moment, and a young woman in a wheelchair armed with boxing gloves, among other subjects.

Cerebral palsy patient blessed her
Emery's best friend Lisa Carnley, of Middletown, is in love with the new EP. It moves her in a special way because her son, Cory, was Emery’s patient around the same time she was caring for the infant that inspired “Addie.”  

Cory has special needs and was under Emery’s care when he was about age 2. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and has suffered seizures his whole life, according to his mom.
“His neurologist explained to me, he just doesn't have a very good brain. It's not one area of the brain that the seizures are coming from, it's kind of all over,” Carnley said.  

When Carnley met Emery, it was at a traumatic time in her life. Her son wasn’t expected to live long and she didn’t know how to navigate through the healthcare system.
But Emery, who was just a stranger to her at the time, had her back.
“She helped get doctors to listen to me,” Carnley recalled.
Emery said Carnley has since become her No. 1 fan. “She’s at 99.9% percent of the gigs.”
Eventually, Carnley learned from another nurse that Emery was a singer. She came out to one of the artist's shows and was dazzled. “I saw her singing one time and was hooked. I just couldn't believe that voice came out of that little tiny body."

To this day, the singer still cares for Cory, who defied the odds and is now 27 years old. He's wheelchair bound, but he's got a strong will to live, his mama said.
“She's done so much for me just this past year, because I've had some vacations planned and she has come and stayed at my house and been his nurse while I was away,” Carnley said. “She's pretty incredible.”

Thanks to Emery's musical life, GEB's latest drummer, Tim Elliot, is now in a serious relationship with Carnley after the pair got acquainted at one of the band's shows.
"They met and it's all our fault," the singer said.

An ugly Volkswagen and an enviable gig
From 1989 to 2008, Emery worked primarily as a nurse. She’s since transitioned to a management role. When she’s off the clock, she kicks into singer mode.
Her husband Windle, 70, is semi-retired and works part-time restoring exotic vintage cars.
The couple has been married since 2012. But they first met around 1995 when they were both still married to other people.

The pair met when Windle came to Emery’s house to audition for her old cover band, the Condors. As Windle pulled up to her Newark home, the one they live in today, she was about to leave to run an errand.
Windle didn't make a great first impression.
“There is the most hideously colored green car in front of me. And I thought, ‘I hope to God that car is not coming to my house.’ Sure enough, it did. And it was Kenny.”  

Windle didn’t join the band. But it had nothing to do with his beloved Volkswagen Golf.
A year later, the two randomly ran into each other at the supermarket. They discussed the idea of playing original music together in the band Red House.
Their partnership in that band went well and lasted a few years. One of their highlights was playing Warm Daddys in Philly, a venue that wasn’t any easy gig to land for local bands.

“That was a big deal back then,” Windle recalled. “But they loved us because we sold it out every time we played.”
'Rock ‘n Roll Honeymoon'
When Red House dissolved, Windle and Emery played in a few other projects together. They struck gold with their group Gretchen Emery & Dirty Boots, which lasted from about 2009 to 2014.     
They earned a spot in the prestigious International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January 2013, competing against bands from all over the world.

Their run with Dirty Boots inspired their popular song “Rock ‘n Roll Honeymoon.” The tune was a nod to the fact that their competition in Memphis was basically the couple's wedding trip, after they tied the knot Thanksgiving weekend in 2012 and Emery went back to work that Monday.
“There's nothing we really enjoy more than playing music,” Emery said. “So we went down for the competition. That was kind of our honeymoon.”

In 2017, Emery and Windle began a new project and called it The Gretchen Emery Band. They ditched the “Dirty Boots” part because some people thought they were a country group. GEB has been going strong ever since.
From Christianity to 'the occult'
Emery was raised by teachers in a Christian home with a white picket fence in Dover.
Windle grew up poor in an extremely violent neighborhood in North Philly where books on Aleister Crowley, an occultist, magician and mountaineer, were read in his home. "My dad was deep into the occult," he recalled. The guitarist, who said he's not a religious man, lost his mom at a young age. His dad was a writer who retired as a publicist from Temple University.

A lot of Haitian immigrants lived in his neighborhood and they brought with them their religious traditions. “We had a voodoo witch that would go around and bless the block once or twice a month," Windle remembered.
The Philly native bounced in and out of the foster care system until he eventually landed back home with his dad.

Windle was a violent youth who was once sentenced to 23 months in a juvenile detention facility, he said, charged with being involved in the destruction of railroad property during burglaries.
“When he was doing his time, I was an infant,'' his wife joked. "I was just busting out [of the womb] and he was getting locked up.''
When Emery first met Windle, he was a more refined version of himself. And he was sober.

The frontwoman learned over the years that he was a genuine guy with a good heart, despite having grown up in a hellish environment. Her best friend Carnley has known Windle for ages and said he lights up around her wheelchair-bound son.
"Kenny loves Cory to death," she exclaimed.
Emery initially turned Windle down for a date once they were both divorced from their previous partners, because they had built a strong friendship that she didn't want to risk losing.

But her reluctance didn't last. "It turned out that we did not mess it up," Emery said.
These days, she and her husband are focused on making more music and playing gigs. Emery looks forward to what the next chapter of her musical life will bring.
She's been on a wild ride, both figuratively and literally.
That's because fate led her to sit in the driver's seat of her husband's ugly green Volkswagen Golf, the car she swore she wouldn't get caught dead in.

“My car was in the shop," she explained. "So I ended up driving that very car ⁠— eating my words."
The Gretchen Emery Band will play an acoustic set at Zollies (414 Delaware St., New Castle) from 7-10 p.m., Saturday. For more information, visit
Andre Lamar is the features/lifestyle reporter. If you have an interesting story idea, email Andre Lamar at - Delaware

"Newark-based Gretchen Emery Band"

By Matt Hooke Special to the Post Sep 16, 2022

After more than 25 years of playing countless concerts in Newark, blues-rock group The Gretchen Emery Band has finally made a recording it is happy with in “If Love Were Enough.”

The four song extended play features a mix of old songs, such as “Addie,” the first song Emery and guitarist Kenny Windle wrote together in the late 1990s, and new songs such as “The Bridge.”

For many years, the band played exclusively covers. Emery and Windle eventually began writing their own songs. They recorded two CDs but never felt satisfied with the result. Emery and Windle credited their producer, Derek Chafin, who, along with handling the technical aspects of recording, helped provide important advice on song structure.

“We spent weeks in pre-production with Derek talking about the songs,” Emery said.

Emery began working with Chafin right after the pandemic started in 2020 and finally released the record in July.

The title track is about how, despite what the Beatles sing, that love is not all you need. However, Emery sings that although love is not enough to fix every problem, that it is still a good thing.

“There’s so many awful things that happen in the world outside of our control and that love can’t prevent or fix,” Emery said. “But we’re not willing to give up on love, either.”

The song begins with a blues solo from Windle before the band gets into a solid groove. The chorus features a couple subtle backing vocals and handclaps that add another level of polish and professionalism to the blues rock sound.

Windle said the lyrics challenge the definition of love, pointing out how many people who often claim to be loving can immediately turn callous in regards to important social issues.

“The Bridge” is inspired by the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, featuring an excerpt of a speech by civil rights leader John Lewis. The horn section of Jay Davidson and Steve Jankowski play a great call and response with Emery, adding quick fills after her verses. The organ playing of Kenny Kearns adds extra depth to the rhythm section, freeing Windle up to play higher pitched chord stabs throughout the song.

Windle first met Emery when he auditioned for a band she was in. He was unimpressed with the other musicians, but felt Emery was a strong vocalist. After a chance meeting at a grocery store, he recruited Emery for a band, laying the groundwork for both a musician partnership and romantic relationship.

“It’s great to have your guitar player living with you because it’s very convenient,” Emery said. “He reaches over and picks up his guitar and says ‘what do you think of this,’ and we can just start working on ideas.” - Newark Post

"Sippin Wit Gretchen Emery Band"

SippinwitSammie sat down with Gretchen Emery Band to talk about their recent experience on stage at Second Street Festival and their musical journeys. - Sippinwitsammie Video Podcast


EP - If Love Were Enough (2022)



Versions vary, but here is the one, true story....spaceship lands in North Philly, strange creature with a guitar gets out and immediately scours the earth in search of a young singer with a big voice. FInally, he finds Gretchen Emery singing her little heart out in a small-town. Guitar player scoops up Singer, plucks a bass player and drummer out of the ethers and *BOOM* the Gretchen Emery Band is born!!!  Knock-your-socks-off performances of original soul & blues-powered music that is fresh, yet somehow familiar all at the same time which will only leave you wanting more. Recently honored with the award for "Best Lead Singer" by Hometown Heroes Delaware Valley (8/06/23), Gretchen Emery will NOT disappoint! But don't trust this bio...check out the Gretchen Emery Band live or listen to their 2022 EP If Love Were Enough on a streaming service near you!!!

Formed by Delaware couple, singer Gretchen Emery and guitarist Kenny Windle, an unlikely pair from opposite sides of the tracks, yet somehow the combination of small-town good girl and failed government experiment works. Gretchen’s looks may fool you, but she sings with power, energy, and soulfulness that comes straight from the heart. Kenny meanwhile plays guitar with a unique use of rhythm and melody, inspired by the Motown that saved his life as a kid. The Gretchen Emery Band is backed on their live shows by long-time friend and killer bass player Randy Waters and the one-and-only Mike Leger on drums. The recording project includes Waters on bass as well as drummer extraordinaire Erik Johnson, Kenny Kearns (Hammond B3 and Wurlitzer organs), Jay Davidson (Tenor and Bari Saxes), Steve Jankowski (Trumpet), and Valerie Vuolo (Violin and Viola). Additionally, the EP could not have reached its super cool state without the incredible vision and ridiculous skill from producer & recording mastermind Derek Chafin at BarnSound Studio, and mastering guru Peter Humphreys at Masterwork Recording, Inc. Whether recorded or live the Gretchen Emery Band delivers their original works with power, grit and emotion… check'em out and decide for yourselves.

Over her musical career, Gretchen has had the honor of performing with Hubert Sumlin, Lowrider Band (formerly War), Johnny Neel, Michael Hill's Blues Mob, Victor Wainwright, and Sam Cockrell. She has performed at Philadelphia's Second Street Festival, Kensington Derby & Art Festival, North Philly's Unity Day, Shawnee Riverfest, Ladies Who Rock for A Cause festival, & the Ladybug Festival (Wilmington and Milford), as well as several times at the Wilmington Riverfront Blues Festival, Delaware's Annual June Jam, and Fort Hunter Music and Wine Festival. In 2013, Gretchen and her band Dirty Boots earned a spot to compete at the International Blues Challenge, Memphis, TN. She was inducted into the Delaware Blues Hall of Fame 2013.  In August 2023, Gretchen received the "Best Lead Singer" Homey Award from Hometown Heroes Delaware Valley.

Band Members