“Mikey Junior came on stage and within 5 minutes the entire room of 250 dancers were captivated by his powerful voice and magnetic presence. He infused the room with crackling energy, alternating with a low simmering rumble filled with gritty tension. His music is extremely dancer friendly! He really knows how to tailor to the crowd and live in the moment.” – Flouer Evelyn, of Nocturne Blues
“Mikey is just about the best Blues – and I mean REAL Blues – band out there for dancers. I’ve been to events with “famous” Blues bands. Let’s be honest: I’ve been to events that had wedding bands, funk bands, and rock and roll bands. They don’t serve it up like Mikey does. Mikey is the real deal: Blues for dancers. And when I say dancers, I mean it: Mikey has been playing for dancers for years. He loves dancers and he knows what we like. Hiring Mikey for a dance event is an easy no-brainer for anyone who wants to provide great music at his or her event.” – Greg Avakian, Dance Teacher, DJ, & Blues Dancer
“Mikey Junior and his affiliates crank out some of the best music in Philadelphia. Hands down. His skills with the harp, his empathic and gripping songs, his stage personality, and the way he interacts with dancers and on-lookers is a joy and something I look forward to… Every. Damn. Week.” – Marc Longhenry, Powerhouse Blues Organizer
“Mikey Junior is a true powerhouse of a bluesman. He can drive dancers to a high-energy frenzy, or drag us down to a mournful low, and we love every minute. And while he commands the room with total presence and energy, he’s laid back and delightfully easy to work with behind the scenes. I’d hire him again in a heartbeat, and can’t wait until the next time I get to see him perform!” – Mike Legenthal, Blues Muse Organizer
The Fried Bananas
Louis Armstrong said it best, “The main thing is to live for that audience, ’cause what you’re there for is to please the people.” This is the core belief of this highly acclaimed band, and dancers from events like bluesSHOUT!, Montreal Dance Fest, Nocturne Blues, Mile High Blues, and more are singing (and dancing) their praise:
“You wouldn’t believe the amazing feedback we’re getting. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a great response to a band.” – Heidi Fite, bluesSHOUT! founder
“First off, they rock. Secondly, the name is no joke: they really lay the heat down and make your nether regions want to jump around.” – Davis Thurber, Montreal Dance Fest founder, teacher and performer
The Fried Bananas was first assembled in 2006 under the guidance of co-leaders Shawn Hershey and Josh Fialkoff, who are both dancers themselves. Together they carefully crafted the Bananas’ sound, drawing inspiration from jazz greats like Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, and Dr. Michael White. Since then, this versatile band has evolved to incorporate other blues influences from New Orleans to the Delta, from Chicago to New York City, from the 1900s to today. So if you’re looking for Ballroomin’ or Jookin’, or perhaps something a tad on the funky side, The Fried Bananas has your back, and your dancing shoes.
Sonny Jim Clifford featuring Joshua Fialkoff
He started this solo project after finally being fired from his old one man band due to artistic differences (there may still be some resentment, but he swears it’s all one-sided). He plays lots of instruments, stomps a lot, yells really loud, and works really hard to never ever have to pay for his own drinks.
Joshua Fialkoff lends his smoky voice and unique piano stylings – a veritable gumbo of “roots piano” flavors – to dance exchanges and series around the world, and has been doing so for over ten years. Joshua first began playing for dancers as a bass player for Solomon Douglas. Later, as a pianist, he started his own group and began sharing his distinct brand of Blues and Swing. Joshua is known for his unique arrangements that are at once new and old, and an authenticity and rawness that shines through in his presence and performance.
Blues and Swing events throughout the US, Canada, and Europe regularly feature Joshua or one of his ensembles. Some recent performances include Spoonful (Edinburgh, UK), DCLX’tra (Washington DC), Dance Flurry (Saratoga Springs, NY), BluesSHOUT (Chicago, IL), Sweet Molasses Blues (Boston, MA), Eastside Stomp (Seattle, WA), Montreal Bagel and Blues (Montreal, QC), Capital Ballroom (Seattle, WA), Mean Old Blues (San Francisco, CA), and many others. He has shared the stage with a number of esteemed musicians including Gordon Webster, Barbara Morrison, and Meschiya Lake. Joshua is the rare performer who cares deeply about his audience, who is constantly seeking to connect and engage the people he plays for, and who yearns to instill in everyone within earshot an irresistible urge to move.