We like to think back to a time when music and dancing were intertwined, a time when people would clamor for a small patch of dance floor so they could hold someone tight and dance to their favorite songs. From the ornate dance floors of Manhattan to the dimly lit juke joints of Memphis, the music drove the dancers while the dancers drove the music. So was born The Downtown Shimmy. 

On November 2013 dancers from around the country convened in the ballroom of the German Society of Pennsylvania for Blues Muse, an annual blues dance festival. That year we were the featured band, although we weren't quite sure who “the band" was. The five of us were brought together solely for thithe performance. But by night's end we knew it would not be the last. Soon we packed up the car and hit the road, which we’d eventually hit again (and again), as we toured the country with a mission to get people to move. And they did, from D.C. to Denver, Boston to Nashville, Chicago to Toronto, Memphis to Manhattan.

Like our travels, our music roams across the map as well. It's grounded in the American roots of folk, blues and gospel, but also pulls from the newer traditions leading to funk, R&B, and rock. With Ray Charles as an inspiration, we blend them into a fun, dynamic sound that propels songs with momentum--and feet too if we're lucky.   

Whether or not the music gets your body dancing, we hope to at least get your spirits soaring. As James Brown said, "The one thing that can solve most of our problems is dancing." Take it from the Godfather of Soul.  

Devon Rowland

Devon Rowland