Joslyn & The Sweet Compression
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Joslyn & The Sweet Compression

Lexington, Kentucky, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2016 | SELF

Lexington, Kentucky, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2016
Band R&B Funk





“‘What Did You Think Was Gonna Happen?’ is a slinky track of jittery pop and orchestrated funk...a refreshing take on the neo-soul sound, unbound by modern cliches…tried and true to the groundwork of artists like Gladys Knight and Chaka Khan.” - Glide Magazine

"There’s one word for what Joslyn & The Sweet Compression bring to Lexington music"

The music Joslyn Hampton conjures onstage might be rich with the funk, soul, R&B and rock ’n’ roll inspirations of multiple generations. But at the heart of the brassy attack of her band, the Sweet Compression, and in the clear and confident command of her singing, sits a core element: Groove.

“Oh yeah, it’s definitely about groove,” she said “It’s not something I can really articulate. It’s a feeling. It just kind of soothes your soul. It gives you that ugly mean face you make when something is funky.”

In just over a year, Joslyn and the Sweet Compression has become Lexington’s most visible voice for multi-directional soul music through steady gigging that has shifted from festival shows (at last summer’s Crave Lexington) to opening sets for numerous national acts (Nicole Atkins locally and Victor Wooten last week in Louisville) to the occasional evening when the band gets to headline, as will be the case Saturday at The Burl.The band grew out of a project she started with her stepfather, guitarist Marty Charters. Having toured extensively with Cincinnati-based roots rocker H Bomb Ferguson and the celebrated Chicago bluesman Junior Wells, Charters was eager for a new project just as Hampton was looking to graduate from performing with cover bands.

“I felt very lucky to be playing with such high-caliber musicians,” Charters said. “But I had just become bored and needed to care about music again. Then, all of a sudden, I hear Joslyn, my stepdaughter, singing and realized she has this unbelievable talent.
So there came a point where I said to her ‘How about we don’t go down the cover-band tubes and we start an original music project? If you'd like to make a record that’s classic R&B-oriented, I know exactly how to make that kind of record.’”

Classic-sounding, yes. But retro, not so much. “Love On The Double” possesses a vibrant pop command that underscores the dynamics of Hampton’s singing. A comparison? Imagine Whitney Houston, at her absolute funkiest, singing on a ’90s Prince record. At the other extreme are “Sunday Driver,” an assured mid-tempo groove-fest, and a sampler of cover tunes that the band peppers its performances with (the Funkadelic staple “Cosmic Slop” being a highlight). It makes for a cross-generational R&B revue — completed by bassist Smith Donaldson, saxophonist Joe Carucci, trumpeter Jeffrey Doll, keyboardist Steve Holloman and drummer Rashawn Fleming — that touches on funk, reggae-inspired rhythms and plenty of organic blues, rock, and soul.

“We wanted something different,” Hampton said. “We wanted something that kind of invites everyone — music a teenager could be into as well as my grandmother. We wanted to do something that’s not really going on around here. There’s nothing quite like what we’re doing.”

Hampton and Charters jointly pen the Sweet Compression’s original songs, with an eye for compositions that do more than just move. Their mission is to serve a sound as complete as it is soul-savvy.
“We agreed we needed to write songs with legitimate substance, where the lyrics aren’t an afterthought,” Charters said. “We’re determined not to skimp in any area by making sure we’ve got strong hooks, strong lyrics, …”
“And,” Hampton interjected, “groove.” - Lexington Herald-Leader

"Scene & Heard: Joslyn & The Sweet Compression"

And just like that, on a sultry October night, Willie’s Locally Known was filled with a damn funky beat. Joslyn and The Sweet Compression, consisting of a diverse group of Lexington musicians, set the mood and laid the musical red carpet for Joslyn Hampton to take the stage and display her impressive vocals. Trumpet, sax, keys and drums joined guitar and bass to fill those wooden walls with some tight, high-quality music.

They started out with an instrumental, letting horns take the lead, each musician feeding off what the others had done before him, and then, Joslyn took the stage. They had to make a big sound, see, to match her voice. Good lord, that voice.

Dancing with the beat between her verses, the entire package is a tight assemblage. Beckoning the roots of R&B, Joslyn and the Sweet Compression rock out originals and sprinkle in a few covers.

It is a masterful scene, each musician clearly exceptional individually; collectively they give the audience a taste of great quality. Joined on stage by her step-father Marty Charters on guitar, Smith Donaldson on bass, Rashawn Fleming on drums, Stevie Holloman on a double set of keys, Joe Carucci on saxophone, and Jeffrey Doll on trumpet, Joslyn owns the room with her deep, solid and flawlessly consistent vocals. Joined with backing harmonies by Rashawn and Stevie, her singing quickly got the crowd up and dancing.

Raised singing in the church with her grandmother, Joslyn’s life has been singing. She received a partial scholarship to Kentucky State University and was in their Concert Choir. As for influences, Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston, and Jill Scott are Joslyn’s big 3.
Marty cites Sly and the Family Stone, Chaka (a major point of intersection), The JB’s, Junior Wells, and Ohio funk hero Roger Troutman and his band, Zapp.

Personally speaking, nothing gets this music voyeur happier than a band that is clearly having a good time up on stage. Talent helps, of course, and skill, but it’s gotta be fun to really draw the audience in, even if the music is sad in tone. The Sweet Compression, with their fearless leader at the mic, is clearly having a wonderful time up there. The range of the songs they play is diverse, moving smoothly from funk, to R&B, to reggae, then sliding nicely into a slower soul song, Joslyn’s voice never faltering. The backing harmony supports her so well, and you can hear the church background in her skill set.

“I enjoy seeing the growth and process of everyone, including me…We know each other so well that we kind of fall into the right thing…we all get along…I think we’re bound to get far.” Joslyn has a strong affection for her band and the support they’ve given her: “Those are my boys.”

The next step, they hope, is to spread out in “little circles” to surrounding cities like Louisville, Cincinnati, and further. They will play Headliner’s in Louisville to open for the Victor Wooten Trio, of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones fame. The band is excited to spread their sound outside of Lexington, but is so grateful for the response they’ve had in the short year since they released their debut single and began playing around town.

They recorded a live video at The Burl awhile back and were so impressed by the love they received from the crowd. “I was very excited by the positive response we’ve gotten from the community…it’s been enlightening and humbling.” She wasn’t certain that their sound would resonate with the community, “I didn’t expect it to really pop so quickly for everyone, but it really has. It’s like a high, it’s an energy from the crowd that feeds you…Your heart kind of just explodes.”

Their greatest skill, just behind that of her incredible voice, is their ability to work the room; to engage the crowd and make them an equal part of the experience. Willie’s danced that night! - Under Main - Online Arts & Entertainment Magazine

"Review: Nicole Atkins at The Burl"

Complimenting this very appealing show was a stellar opening set by Joslyn & The Sweet Compression, a Lexington unit centered around the fearless vocals of Joslyn Hampton and a five member band bearing the same instrumental make-up as a vintage R&B revue, right down to the two-man horn team. But original tunes like “If I Break It Down” and “Sunday Driver,” along with covers of vintage gems like Funkadelic’s “Cosmic Slop,” opened a groove bag that touched on funk, soul, blues, reggae-fied rhythm, and more — a fine, engaging showcase by one of our own. - Lexington Herald-Leader

"Local Music Monday"

An interview with Joslyn about the development of the band, recording, and plans for the coming year. - WUKY 91.3 FM Radio

"Joslyn & the Sweet Compression Get Animated for New Video: Premiere"

Joslyn Hampton is certainly an animated performer when she fronts the Lexington, Ky., R&B troupe Joslyn & the Sweet Compression. And now, thanks to the video for the group's new song "What Did You Think Was Gonna Happen," premiering exclusively below, Hampton is literally animated.

"My first reaction was, 'Oh, this is cool. Wow, this is kind of interesting to look at someone else's perception or interpretation of me as a cartoon'," Hampton tells Billboard. "I thought it was an interesting little character, pretty neat. It's a very fun video."

"What Did You Think Was Gonna Happen" hails from the Sweet Compression's self-titled debut album which is due out May 17. The group, formed about three years ago, was founded by Hampton and her stepfather, guitarist Marty Charters, who's worked before with Junior Wells and H-Bomb Ferguson. "We'd been playing in local cover bands and got tired of playing other people's music," Hampton recalls. "He was like, 'Would you like to have a band of our own? I think the two of us could really create something magic.' And I was like, 'Cool. I'm down'." Both were clear, however, that the Sweet Compression was not going to make "a very 'today,' mainstream type of record. We wanted to make classic-style R&B / soul / funk. I was like, 'Yeah, I'm not trying to make everybody's mainstream music. Let's do this right!'"
As the septet group releases its album, which closes with a cover of Frankie Beverly & Maze's "Changing Times," it's also looking to ramp up its live game -- primarily to take the act further on the road than it's been able to so far. "We're trying to get a wider audience to notice us and build steam and give everybody the joy we get out of doing this!" Hampton says. - Billboard



After growing up singing in the church choir, Joslyn Hampton cultivated her powerful and dynamic voice in college stage productions. She teamed with her stepfather Marty Charters, a touring guitarist who has shared the stage with legends such as Junior Wells and Van Morrison, to compose a captivating set of tunes and assemble an ace band (Smith Donaldson - bass, Steve Holloman - keyboards, Rashawn Fleming - drums, Joe Carucci - saxophone, Kyle Fox - trumpet). Joslyn & The Sweet Compression have become a headlining favorite at regional clubs and music festivals, and are poised to engage fans across the country with their hook-filled mix of funk and soul.

" everybody the joy." - Billboard

"A refreshing take on the neo-soul / funk sound, unbound by modern cliches." - Glide Magazine

"A instant classic!” - Soul Tracks

"I've never seen a band come up more quickly...with more immediate skill and swagger than Joslyn & the Sweet Compression. Joslyn's vocal command and stage presence is special, and her band is brick-shithouse tight." - Travis Young, Moonshiner's Ball

“The music Joslyn Hampton conjures onstage is rich with the funk, soul, and rock ’n’ roll inspirations of multiple generations, and at the heart of the brassy attack of her band, The Sweet Compression, and in the clear and confident command of her singing, sits a core element: Groove.” - Walter Tunis, Lexington Herald-Leader

Band Members