JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound
A band that has been described as Otis Redding fronting the Stooges, JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound 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. 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