The Highly Groovable Sounds of Joslyn & The Sweet Compression
For years, friends and coworkers—and pretty much anyone who ever heard Joslyn Hampton sing—would ask why she was still working a full-time clerical position at a hospital when her side gig, performing with Joslyn and the Sweet Compression, was clearly her calling.
It was something she had been asking herself too. For years.
“COVID gave me clarity,” she recalled of her decision to finally resign from her job last July. “People thought I was crazy quitting in the middle of a pandemic, but you look around at your life and ask: how is this fulfilling me other than allowing me to pay bills? I realized life is too short to do things that bring you no joy and no purpose.”
Being on stage and making music with Joslyn and the Sweet Compression, Hampton said, gives her that joy and purpose and so much more.
Based in Lexington, Kentucky, the funk and soul-driven seven-piece released their self-titled, debut in 2019 to rave reviews, including one from Billboard Magazine which deemed the album “magical.” The band’s highly groovable sound is led by guitarist Marty Charters, a veteran touring musician and songwriter who’s shared the stage with Buddy Guy, Junior Wells and Van Morrison—and also happens to be Hampton’s stepfather and the one who suggested they form a band in the first place. Rounding out the septet are seasoned musicians Steve Holloman (keyboards), Smith Donaldson (bass), Rashawn Fleming (drums), Trevin Little (saxophone) and Chase Fleming (trombone and trumpet).
As tight as the band is with their instruments, Hampton wields equal power and control over her vocals. Praised for her captivating delivery and dynamic stage presence, Hampton frequently elicits comparisons to legends Chaka Khan and Aretha Franklin.
While she’s obviously flattered by the accolades and the implications it has for making the band hugely successful, Hampton is quick to point out that fame and fortune are not necessarily her goals.
“I do it because I love it, and I want to reach as many people as possible to share that love with them,” she said of performing. “I just want others to feel the kind of joy I do or feel good in some kind of way.”
One can only imagine, then, the level of jubilation Hampton will bring to the stage at James Weldon Johnson Park, especially since they’ve had time to “shake off the dust and rust” accumulated during their forced sabbatical at shows earlier this year.
“There’s nothing like being on stage with a live audience and feeling that energy,” she said. “It’s intoxicating.”
Find out for yourself when Joslyn and the Sweet Compression perform September 25 at 7:30 p.m. The show is free. And the joy is contagious.