Gill Street Band takes over where Hounds left off

Re-energized by a new singer and a new name, Jackie Brown and the Gill Street Band — formerly known as the Hounds of Soul — is ready to return to the local music scene.

Following the departure of singer and Hounds of Soul founder Sherry Orlofsky, band members began recruiting a new singer. Keyboardist John Wise first met Brown at a church function and invited her to audition for the rest of the group.

“The power of her voice just took over the room,” he said. “Jackie’s young and she has an understanding of modern music, but her heart is more in the older R&B and soul music. She knows how to sing it and treats it with the respect it deserves.”

Wise said Brown’s vocals have helped the nine-piece group expand its repertoire to include more classic soul drawn from the likes of Aretha Franklin and Chaka Khan. They hope the new music and reinvigorated members will attract new fans from throughout Centre County.

“She brings a real stage presence and we can really push the boundaries with what her voice can do,” Wise said. “She likes to move a lot on stage and that’s going to be exciting for anyone who comes to see us.”

Brown grew up in Philadelphia and has been singing since age 9, though she’s mostly performed as a drummer since moving to State College 15 years ago. The Gill Street Band marks her first time as a singer and front woman, and she loves it so far.

“I really enjoy it,” Brown said. “All the guys are great. ... I think we’re a beautiful marriage between a great vocalist and a great band.”