JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound

By Zuzanna Skwiot

In 2007, JC Brooks responded to a Craigslist ad for a singer to join a group of musicians. With that, JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound was born. And five years later, the band prepares itself for a summer of festivals, touring and non-stop music.

Born in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, JCBUS includes guitarist Billy Bunderoth, bassist Ben Taylor, drummer Kevin Marks and keyboardist Andy Rosenstein. The crooning voice of JC Brooks completes the post-punk band and adds to its theatrical and soulful set.

Brooks treats his music like a performance. From live shows to their sophomore album Want More (Bloodshot Records), the Chicago-based group has been delivering soulful and artistic sounds to packed music halls, small venues and recording studios.

“We’re all performers,” says Brooks, who started as an actor. “I’ve been performing ever since I played a sunflower in my kindergarten play. That was my big debut.”

And ever since, the Brooks has been sharing his love of music and theater with audiences around the country.

The band is scheduled to perform at the Summer Camp Music Festival this upcoming weekend and has no plans to slow down after that performance. Followed by multiple shows, the band will also appear at the Chicago Gospel Music Festival in June and Lollapalooza in August.

“I’ve never been to Summer Camp, but I can’t wait to be there this week,” says Brooks, during a phone interview from Washington, DC. During an off time from the tour, Brooks spends his day touring the National Park Seminary and being with friends.

Following his single day off, Brooks returns to Chicago, this time for a solo performance at Alt Q Festival. Soon after, he is set to rejoin the band and continue with their hectic summer schedule.

“I am so excited for this summer. It’s so neat to be able to perform at Lollapalooza, I can’t wait,” says Brooks, who remembers attending the summer festival when he was younger. “But I’m a little nervous. I’m definitely revealing too much, but yeah, I’m a bit nervous.”

For upcoming shows, visit jcbrooksandtheuptownsound.com. Check them out on May 26 at the Summer Camp Music Festival and on June 1 at the Do Division Street Fest.