Formed in 1996, the Emma Gibbs Band originally started with drummer Andrew LeVasseur, bass player Jeff Remsburg, and lead guitarist Drew Cannon. All attending the University of North Carolina, the trio added Brett Buckner on harmonica and Richard Upchurch on rhythm guitar. Rehearsing at the home of Remsburg's grandmother, the band were also present for many of her stories as a blues singer. After touring the university circuit, the group released its self-titled debut album in 1997. The group also added mandolin player Will Straughn that same year. Performing at the Jomeokee Festival with String Cheese Incident as well as the 1998 HORDE Festival with Ben Harper, the Emma Gibbs Band grew a loyal following for mixing country, roots, folk, and bluegrass. In 1999, the band released Seven Even. In August 2000, LeVassuer was replaced by drummer George Wallis and returned to John Keane Studios. In 2001, Out In the Country was released. The band has opened for James Taylor and Derek Trucks Band and have been compared to Son Volt and Strangefolk. The Emma Gibbs Band has also been joined on tour by David Blackmon.