11 Songs, 37 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though it took until 2011 for this Chicago soul outfit to release its debut full-length, J.C. Brooks & The Uptown Sound are hardly newcomers to the city’s flourishing retro-soul scene. As the backing band for the Numero Group’s Eccentric Soul Revue, The Uptown Sound honed its chops accompanying local legends like Syl Johnson and The Notations, and the group gained national exposure with a propulsive, Stax-inflected interpretation of Wilco’s “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart.” While that retrofitted re-imagining of a contemporary classic is included on J.C. Brooks & The Uptown Sounds’ Bloodshot debut, Want More, it’s not even the most ear-catching performance on offer. That honor goes to “Awake”: a soul-stirring ballad that borrows the stately grandeur of Curtis Mayfield’s civil rights anthems to comment on the contemporary political scene. Equally remarkable is the group’s note-for-note cover of The Kaldirons' “To Love Someone (That Don’t Love You),” which gives some much-deserved shine to a previously neglected soul masterpiece.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Though it took until 2011 for this Chicago soul outfit to release its debut full-length, J.C. Brooks & The Uptown Sound are hardly newcomers to the city’s flourishing retro-soul scene. As the backing band for the Numero Group’s Eccentric Soul Revue, The Uptown Sound honed its chops accompanying local legends like Syl Johnson and The Notations, and the group gained national exposure with a propulsive, Stax-inflected interpretation of Wilco’s “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart.” While that retrofitted re-imagining of a contemporary classic is included on J.C. Brooks & The Uptown Sounds’ Bloodshot debut, Want More, it’s not even the most ear-catching performance on offer. That honor goes to “Awake”: a soul-stirring ballad that borrows the stately grandeur of Curtis Mayfield’s civil rights anthems to comment on the contemporary political scene. Equally remarkable is the group’s note-for-note cover of The Kaldirons' “To Love Someone (That Don’t Love You),” which gives some much-deserved shine to a previously neglected soul masterpiece.

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About JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound

A band that has been described as Otis Redding fronting the Stooges, JC Brooks emerged from Chicago in 2007, generating an exciting and explosive garage, funk, and soul sound. Consisting of guitarist Billy Bungeroth, drummer Kevin Marks, and bassist Ben Taylor, a horn section called the Lowdown Horns (Chris Neal and Andrew Zelm), and the charismatic frontman JC Brooks, who has a background in theater and acting as well as music, the band built quite a fan following with its ferocious and electric stage shows. Brooks is a dynamic performer, evoking memories of Redding, James Brown, Sam Cooke, and other soul greats, while the band sounds like, well, a sharp-dressed punk band with horns. The group self-released Beat of Our Own Drum in 2009, following it two years later with Want More on Bloodshot Records. In the late spring of 2013, the band released the full-length Howl. The set was the first to chart, landing well inside the R&B Albums Top 100.

Howl was the band's final album for Bloodshot. After intense global touring, they did some intense self-scrutiny. Collectively, they decided to drop the "Uptown Sound" from their name, and expand into a sextet. They renamed themselves the JC Brooks Band. The unit signed to the WEA-distributed Rock Ridge Music label. This new incarnation entered the studio, spending 18 months writing and recording new material with producers Josh Richter, Isaiah Sharkey and Steve Gillis, and with Ken Lewis mixing. According to Brooks, the completed Neon Jungle, was an attempt at an album-length depiction of "one crazy, incredible night out...." and released in the spring of 2017. ~ Steve Leggett

Top Songs by JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound

Top Albums by JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound

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