Soul band Joslyn & The Sweet Compression let all their pain, love, and loss flutter to the beat of slow-burning guitar grooves and funkadelic, old-school melodies on their upcoming self-titled record due out May 17th. Even when left to her own devices for a cover tune, front-woman Joslyn Hampton bends the lyrics to her every whim, into a torrential vocal tornado.
Alongside a stellar band of musicians, including step-father and accomplished player Marty Charters, whose resume includes work with H-Bomb Ferguson and Junior Wells, Hampton conjures a mixture of Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, and Whitney Houston. She cascades between R&B styles like a nightingale, silky smooth but possessing incomparable strength of spirit, vocal prowess, and storytelling. “We’ll get through these changing times,” she promises in wispy gusts on the closing number, a cover of Frankie Beverly & Maze’s “Changing Times.”
Joslyn & The Sweet Compression is a groove-hardy trip of soul music filtered through a vivacious, and sometimes lush, modern lens, a psychedelic soundscape that exemplifies truth in music’s ability to shake up the establishment.
Glide is proud to premiere the first single What Did You Think Was Gonna Happen,” (below) a slinky track of jittery pop and orchestrated funk. Joslyn offers a refreshing take on the neo-soul sound, unbound by modern cliches and instead tried and true to the groundwork of artists like Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan and Tina Turner.
“This song is basically how when you go somewhere, a guy will approach you and automatically think you’ll deny them,” says Hampton. “They think, “I’m going to shoot my shot but I know it won’t go through.” But surprise, surprise, I’m interested. It’s that internal conflict we all have. Should this woman should enjoy herself and go with the flow? Or stay an arm’s length away and play it safe? No one knows the right answer in the moment. After we recorded this track, more than one person said, “Man, this has a roller skate vibe….” which I love.
Charters has a wealth of worldly experience under his belt, which further allows Hampton to take even bigger risks with her vocal tricks. Together, they are a force of nature, a balancing act trading off top-secret melodies and lyrics, and across 10 songs, pulsating and colorful, the two creative minds stitch together a truly remarkable storyboard. Recorded at Shangri La Studios, the album is taken to even more dizzying heights thanks to engineer Duane Lundy (Sturgill Simpson, Ringo Starr) and his rapt attention to detail.
It truly is Hampton’s angelic vocal chords that hold the entire album together, often climbing through the rafters or pulling you in for an intimate conversation. You could say it was a God-given gift she discovered very early on in her youth. Born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, Hampton started singing in church and often turned to her family for musical insight. “My grandmother would take me to church, and one day, I decided I wanted to try to sing in the choir,” she remembers.
She was only four or five years old, but she just knew. She had her first major solo at 8 years old, and that set off a domino effect throughout the rest of her life. She sang in the choir in high school and even dabbled in orchestra. During her college tenure, she dove headfirst into classical music studies, which allowed her to expand her vocal touch points into an array of styles and aesthetics. When she dropped out of college, music fell out of her grasp, as well. “I was kind of lost,” she says. “I didn’t sing very often at all. It was very depressing.”
But a chance encounter with an aspiring producer ignited her passion anew. She did a bit of demo work in his studio and soon crossed paths with a cover band playing covers at weddings and clubs. Hampton performed with the band for a couple of years, but was eventually craving her own original music. “This new album is us trying to make something shake,” she says.
On the other end of the spectrum, Marty Charters matured musically in the funk-centric Cincinnati, Ohio area, and was influenced by veterans of The J.B.’s (James Brown’s band featuring Bootsy Collins), Parliament, Zapp, and legendary local outfit 400 Years Of What. Through the years, he has enjoyed a number of notable successes, including touring the world as part of Junior Wells’ band, and sharing stages with Van Morrison and Buddy Guy.