Rising Chicago Musicians Offer Throwback Sounds

Four local acts put a twist on a timeless style—and all hit the stage this summer

(page 3 of 4)

JC Brooks


JC BROOKS, 27, frontman for THE UPTOWN SOUND
The son of an R&B singer from New Jersey, all JC Brooks hoped to do in the beginning was coax people into dancing. “I was tired of watching audiences at the Empty Bottle enjoy the music but just enjoy it from the neck up,” says Brooks, an actor who formed the Uptown Sound with three local musicians he met on Craigslist in 2007. “We wanted to make music that people wouldn’t be afraid to dance to.”

Five years later, the Uptown Sound serves up a horn-drenched combo of old-school funk and soul on original songs that evoke James Brown and the Stax Records era. But the star of the show is Brooks, who accentuates every bark, growl, and coo with broad hand gestures and slinky dance moves. “I’m not just singing a song—I’m trying to tell a story,” he says. “There’s more than one way to move people. That’s where that storytelling part comes in, making it move someone emotionally.”

SONG TO SAMPLE: “Sister Ray Charles”
SHOW TO SEE: Lollapalooza on August 4. For info, lollapalooza.com


13 Chicago Concerts to Buy Tickets for Now | Kelly Hogan’s New Album: Made the Old-Fashioned Way
The Perfect Summer Playlist | Inside the Mind of Pitchfork Impresario Mike Reed




Photograph: Lisa Predko; Photo Assistants: Joanna Patterson, Lauren Butterfield, Lyndon French; Intern: Katie Donajkowski


2 years ago
Posted by beekeepercorp

Kelly Hogan is not playing Lollapalooza on August 4, but she is playing here:
6/8/2012 Kelly Hogan in Evanston, IL @ Space
6/9/2012 Kelly Hogan in Berwyn, IL @ Fitzgerald’s

2 years ago
Posted by Elizabeth Riley (Chicago magazine)

Hi BeeKeeperCorp,

Thanks for commenting! The article was correct in print. The mistake was made when it was posted online. We've amended the article to reflect that.



2 years ago
Posted by MrJM

Kelly Hogan is also playing at the Hideout Block Party on September 15 and the City Winery with Mavis Staples on November 23 & 24.

-- MrJM

Submit your comment