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.
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.
Joshua Fialkoff on piano/vocals, Matt Keppler on bass, Steve Tolnay on drums, Bryan Brundige on trombone, Danny Lipsitz on sax/clarinet.
(Photo credit: Devon Rowland)
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.
Andi Hansen has been DJing almost as long as she’s been dancing- from her home and adopted scenes in Grand Rapids/Chicago, to all over the Midwest and Eastern US. She loves sharing new and old favorites with the dance floor, and the joy of seeing other people experience and interpret music in different ways. She’s always excited to share her music; and you can usually catch her happily bobbing around behind the DJ booth, nerding out over a new find, or yelling compliments at friends as they dance nearby.
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.
This is Odysseus Bailer’s first time DJing at Sweet Molasses Blues and he is excited to be kicking off the weekend. He is a staple DJ in his home scene of New York City where he DJs both Blues and Swing at various dances around the city and the Tri-State area. The common theme in his DJ sets is playing music that makes you want to dance, which ranges from traditional blues, Gospel, Jazz, and Soul music. Besides from DJing he is extremely skilled dancer in Blues and Lindy Hop and has been doing both dances for a combined 18yrs (18yrs for Swing & 9yrs for Blues). He would like to thank the staff of Sweet Mo and those who helped advocate for him to DJ.
Ross Blythe (Chicago) thinks music is great, and that you should dance to it. Often, he’ll be dancing in his seat while selecting the next song. Slide some bourbon over and chat with him about what’s playing! Sure to bring the party, Ross has DJ’ed for Sweet Molasses Blues, Steel City Blues, Toronto Blues Battle, Southbound Blues Exchange, and other regional and national events. He’s a staple at Chicago’s monthly event Bluetopia, as well as weekly and monthly swing and balboa dances in the city.
Susan loves many different kinds of blues music, but there are special places in her heart for ballroom blues, badass female singers, tight harmonica solos, and fun rhythms. She has deejayed at North Star Blues, Sweet Molasses Blues, bluesSHOUT! and numerous other events in addition to frequent local dances in her home scene of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Susan enjoys nothing more than keeping people out past their bedtimes to dance to amazing music and can't wait to be back in Boston.