Candace Woodson & The Domino Theory Band: The Power of Music
Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: Photography by Anne
Visitors to Hilton Head Island have been keeping a bit of a secret, and it is high time everyone gets in on the action. Certainly smooth and sometimes funky, always fun and entertaining, Candace Woodson and the Domino Theory Band has been right under our collective nose for five years, primarily performing where island visitors are found. The band members are ready to create a little more balance in their lives by getting to know local audiences better and letting locals get to know them.
“We’ve been able to create an identity for ourselves here on the island. We take pride in the fact that we are different because we are a variety band. That means we do all genres of music. We cover it all,” Woodson said. That music comes from some deep musical roots for both Woodson and band founder and lead guitarist Tony Royster, Sr.
Growing up a minister’s daughter, Woodson and her two sisters sang gospel together and performed as The Golden Tones, setting Woodson on a path that led to a music degree from Tennessee State University, where she was the first female to graduate with a business performance degree. “I learned the business side of music as well as the performance side,” Woodson said. With her commercial music know-how and a honey-smooth, made-for-recording voice, Woodson was a radio personality in Nashville for several years before bringing her talents to Hilton Head Island.
Royster says he has always been into music. Starting in church playing gospel, he joined the Army just out of high school, and during his 20 year military career, guided his eldest son, Tony Royster, Jr. to a musical career. “He’s just a prodigy,” Royster said of the now-famous drummer. After Royster, Jr. took his career to California, Royster, Sr. retired and knew the time was right to put together a band.
Playing mainly out of Savannah, Royster started to think his group needed a dynamite singer, when along came Candace Woodson. “She came to Savannah to see us play. She just popped in on her own. I invited her on stage to do a song thinking I’d give her a chance. She just blew the house away. My goodness, she can sing.”
Woodson wasn’t offered a spot in the band right away, but the two started talking about putting their own group together when fate stepped in. “We had a gig one night, and our lead singer couldn’t make it,” Royster said. “We needed a substitute for the night. She came down to sing, and the rest is history.” Candace Woodson and the Domino Theory Band was born.
With Woodson on vocals, Royster on lead guitar, Maurice Primus on bass, and Michael Allen on drums, the group can be found performing at clubs, restaurants, private parties, and events across the Lowcountry, with a repertoire that includes R&B, pop, blues, jazz, Motown, and rock & roll. Most weekends, they can be found performing in the XO Lounge at the Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort in Palmetto Dunes. “On New Year’s Eve, we played three straight hours,” Woodson said. “We rocked the house. Our ratings are so high, and people call the Omni looking just for us.”
With the duo’s innate ability to read an audience and Royster’s military-trained attention to detail, the band prides itself on being professional and prompt, along with bringing a great show to every gig. “We make sure we accommodate the customer’s needs and wishes. We like to interact with the audience, bringing them in and engaging with them. When you come to see us, you’re not just going to see someone singing or someone playing; you’re going to see someone entertaining. Whether it’s one, one hundred, or one thousand, you’re going to get the same show,” Woodson said. “We do what we do because we love it. We want to see people’s lives change through our music. Our music, in some ways, is a ministry that we take pride in.”
Woodson and Royster have woven themselves and their two younger sons into the fabric of Hilton Head. Both boys attend Hilton Head Prep, with the oldest working on a tennis career at the Van Der Meer Tennis Academy and the youngest following right in his footsteps, playing basketball, tennis, and baseball. “They both have built good relationships on the island. We’re proud of them. They’re good boys. They’re good athletes. Their character says more than their athletic skill. A lot of times we’re known because of them and how well they’ve done,” Woodson said.
With a great appreciation for the following they have among island visitors, it is their hope to merge that success with their heart for Hilton Head, and continue building on being one of the island’s premier bands in demand for everything from weddings and private parties, to sporting events, and local festivals. “We want to be more involved in the community. We’d love to be part of local charities and local foundations,” Woodson said.
In addition to Woodson and Royster’s commitment to growing their presence within their Hilton Head community, Woodson is on an exciting trajectory toward the big time. On February 2, 2014 she is trying out for The Voice. “It’s huge. They contacted me after seeing our video,” Woodson beamed. The next step is Los Angeles, and who knows? There just may be another Candace among the stars. “If Candace Glover can win American Idol, then Candace Woodson can win The Voice, Woodson joked, with a twinkle in her eye.
Candace Woodson and the Domino Theory Band are in a good place, finding balance in their music and their lives. “We feel like we’ve been blessed beyond measure. It’s been God’s grace and His mercy that has sustained us this far, and the only thing we want to do is to help make the world a better place. And we hope we can do that through our music,” Woodson said.
For more information, contact the Candace Woodson and the Domino Theory Band at (615) 415-8901 or (912) 980-3788, or e-mail email@example.com.