Harrisonburg, Virginia is home to The Judy Chops – an “original mountain swing” ensemble, seven members strong. They are a high energy group specializing is gipsy swing, roots Americana, and all around good sting fun. They’ve opened for folks like The Black Lillies, Miss Tess & The Tailbacks, and The David Mayfield Project.
Front man Bill Howard told me that, at least in part, the band’s sound centers around a strong emphasis on vocal harmonies thanks to the strong vocal presence of sisters Molly and Sally Murphy. They enjoy writing their own material whenever they can, and when they do play covers, they still like to put their own interpretation on them. “We try to cover some traditional stuff as well as some western swing, but the mash-ups are where we tend to get a little weird,” Bill laughed. “But it’s all in good fun. The audiences like hearing a familiar tune mixed in with the set.”
Although the band has been together for seven years, their journey together started further back when several of the members were involved in other projects. “I remember late nights after performances with our other band we’d have late night jam sessions, and I remember saying to Molly at one of those sessions, ‘one day we’ll have a band together, I just know it.’ We eventually melded the remnants of a few groups into what we now call The Judy Chops.”
“We’re a melding of some swing, rock-a-billy, and blues,” Bill said “with a nod to the old-time sound. Several of the girls in the band have family rooted in old-time music, so we definitely see that showing up in our music. Mountain Swing is about the best we could come up with that covered what we do.”
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