Gilfillian, Hampton take the Levitt stage

Published 8:53 am Friday, July 20, 2018

The first performance of the 2018 Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series has come and gone. Despite the summer heat, the first show of the series drew a strong crowd that was eager to come and support their community.

Jocelyn Hampton, vocalist of her group Jocelyn and the Sweet Compression, proved the opening act to a show isn’t just an appetizer to the main course. Hampton belted out soul and blue infused tunes that quickly got the audience in high spirits.

Hampton grew up loving the gospel music while going to church as a child, and gospel music along with musical legends like Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston are some of her biggest inspirations.

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She got her start performing in church and formed her band two years ago. Her stepfather approached her about producing their own original music and it took off from there.

Hampton wants to create a fluid experience between her and her audience.

“I want them to feel whatever mood the song portrays,” she said.

While Jocelyn and the Sweet Compression were on stage, the headliner for the night, Devon Gilfillian, sat down for a quick chat before taking the stage with his band.

An openness and excitement was apparent in Gilfillian, creating the sense that he truly loved what he does and likes being in the moment.

Despite growing in a musical family, Gilfillian initially went to school to study psychology in the pursuit of eventually becoming a counselor.

“I discovered I did not want to be a counselor and I still wanted to pursue music, so that’s why I went down to Nashville,” he said.

Some of Gilfillian’s biggest musical influences, he recalled his father introducing him to Jimi Hendricks.

“He (his father) smacked me in the head with a greatest hits CD, and I listen to that. My brain just exploded,” said Gilfillian.

“The feelings that I want to spread out on the road and while I’m performing — I want to spread love. I want people from different backgrounds to come together and dance and not think about where they’re coming from…to just have fun and feel,” he said.