Music

Professor Harp
Thursday Night Pre-Party Band

Although born and raised as Hugh Holmes of Boston, Mass., the emanations from his harmonica and vocals make it clear that Professor Harp has the blues of Texas and the whole wide Delta coursing through his veins.

The Professor was a rock ‘n’ roll drummer until ’69, when the Boston blues revival and a sterling performance he caught of blues harmonica great George Allen ‘Harmonica’ Smith, combined to lure him away from drums and into a full court press on the blues harp. “Undaunted!” he brags, by the vicissitudes of his life as blues man, front man, every kind of man, Professor Harp puts forth his commanding presence and exceptional talent, night after night.


Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson and his Magic Rockers
Friday Main Dance Band

We welcome Luther on his 80th Birthday Tour!

Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson is a legendary American Chicago blues singer and guitarist! Johnson moved to Chicago with his family in 1955. During the 1960s, he performed with Magic Sam. He performed in Muddy Water's band from 1972 to 1980. In 1980, four of his songs were included in an anthology released by Alligator Records. That same year he appeared as a member of the Legendary Blues Band, backing John Lee Hooker in the movie The Blues Brothers. Johnson moved to the East Coast and began fronting his own band, the Magic Rockers. His "Walkin' the Dog" was recorded live at the Montreux Festival's Blues Night. He won a Grammy Award in 1985 for Best Traditional Blues Album for his part in Blues Explosion. He recorded three albums released by Telarc Records: Slammin' on the West Side (1996), Got to Find a Way (1998), and Talkin' About Soul (2001). He also performed on three albums by the Nighthawks.

Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson on guitar/vocals, Otis Doncaster on harmonica, Paul Nadeau on piano, Kenny B on bass, Ethraim Lowell on drums, Howard Randall on guitar, and Pat Herlehy on saxophone.


Taryn Newborne and the Real Deal
Saturday Main Dance Band
Born in Memphis and raised in Atlanta, vocalist Taryn Newborne is rooted deeply in the soil of a rich musical heritage. She has often said that she loves music so much, it hurts her feelings. After years of dancing in her local Lindy Hop scene, one of the major organizers suggested that Taryn put her own group together for dances. Taryn Newborne and The Real Deal was born. She'd finally found her home, situated between her love of singing and Lindy Hop. Since becoming a regular in her home scene, Taryn has had the opportunity to make guest appearances with Falty and the Defects, Ben Polcer, Jonathan Stout, Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders, and Gordon Webster. Taryn performed at Backwater Blues in Huntsville, Alabama earlier this year.

Comprised of some of the most sought after musicians in the world, Taryn Newborne and the Real Deal strive to keep bodies on the dance floor!


Amy Kucharik and Tiger Moan
Sunday Main Dance Band

Amy Kucharik [/kuh-CHAR-ick/] is an award-winning songwriter who has been singing and playing for dancers since 2009. Drawing from blues, folk and Vaudeville traditions and with a street-smart stagecraft honed in the subways of Boston, Amy tours and performs as a one-woman band with ukulele, foot percussion, mouth trumpet and harmonica, or with her Boston-based bands. Her Friends With Benefits played at Sweet Molasses Blues 2013 and Montreal Bagel & Blues in 2015. Amy’s songs “Dance Crush Blues” and “Like a Boss” have since been DJed at dance events from coast to coast and internationally. She released her debut full-length CD in 2014 and has just finished making her follow-up, "Until the Words Are Gone." Tiger Moan was formed in 2015 as a dance-specific band and inspired by the great blues women of the 20th century such as Victoria Spivey, Sippie Wallace, and Bonnie Raitt. With their diverse repertoire and versatile instrumentation, Amy and Tiger Moan tap into a broad variety of styles and influences to keep your dance floor extra hot and extra sweet.

Amy Kucharik on vocals/ukulele/guitar/harmonica, Michael Valdez on keys, Ariel Bernstein on percussion, Greg Toro on upright bass, Tim Lewandowski on trombone, Jeremy Valadez (of the Chicken Slacks) on sax and clarinet.

https://www.facebook.com/tigermoanband/

DJ’s

Andi Hansen
DJ

Andi Hansen lives and dances in Grand Rapids, Michigan, DJing there and anywhere else she can get her hands on an aux cord. Her musical comfort foods are Chicago and Delta blues, and she loves sharing those and other styles with the dance floor. Whether she’s starting the party or playing some nice chill music, her mission is to help you enjoy yourself, and maybe even find some new favorite songs.

Photo credit: Ben Hejkal


Emily Thomas
DJ

Born the daughter of radio DJ, Emily has been an avid fan of all things music her entire life. As a dancer first, she brings her love for ​jazz and blues to the dance floor. A frequent DJ at Atlanta’s local blues and lindy dances, she has also DJ'd at events all over the US. A few events she's DJ'd include: Southbound Blues Exchange, Backwater Blues, Mo' Better Blues, Blues Geek, Mile High Blues & Brickyard Blues.

As a DJ, she loves finding songs that have juicy rhythms, solid grooves, sassy horns and playing songs that keep the dance floor smiling. When not DJing, she can be found dancing, teaching, or organizing with the BluesDance ATL team. Emily is thrilled to be a part of this year's Sweet Molasses Blues line up.

Odysseus Bailer
DJ

Odysseus is excited to be attending his third Sweet Mo event. After keeping the dance floor packed during the late night set last year, we knew we would want work with him in the future. He has been dancing for about 20yrs in swing and blues. He brings a style and awareness that connects back to the historical and social roots of Blues dancing and the music. His DJing style also reflects what he connects to on the dance floor. Connecting to the music and your dance partner to tell a story.


Gabrielle Kern
DJ

Gabrielle loves playing music that gets dancers out on the floor and keeps them there! Her passion is music that moves you, be it blues, classic swing, vintage-style jazz, or more soulful funky tunes. Be careful, her music will often inspire you to dance long after your feet would have called it a night.