In an area known for bluegrass and jam bands, SugarBeat stands apart with a funky blues and R&B sound. The band got its start in Lyons, CO where singer Amy Francis was sitting on her porch when she first heard guitarist Marc Hutt playing with another band on the patio of a local bar. They were introduced and quickly decided to work together, playing their first show as a duo at a benefit for the Lyons Fire Department.
At about this time, Marc’s tenure as guitarist with Boulder, CO band The Big Thompson Flood was coming to an end. During that time, the Detroit native developed a reputation for incendiary lead guitar. Marc decided to start a brand-new project. “I was going to be the lead singer myself,” he recalls “but then I thought about Amy, and I crossed my fingers that she would be into this type of project.”
A native of San Antonio, Texas, Amy Francis’ natural talent and 25 years’ experience in performance, songwriting and recording made her a first choice for the band. Amy attended music school at the University of Texas at San Antonio where she studied voice and piano. She performed all over the US in variety show bands, “legends” shows and cover bands for over two decades. Amy spent over two years performing five shows a week in a Classic country music show in Texas. As impressive as her resume was, however, it was her amazing and powerful voice that sealed the deal.
Now the search was on to round out the line-up. Introduced by a mutual friend, bassist Tom Williams instantly clicked with band. A native of Galax, Virginia, Tom had extensive experience playing bass, guitar, and singing in the Boulder, CO area. With musical interests ranging from classic country and bluegrass to rock and metal, including his role as guitarist for Black Sabbath tribute Back Stabbath, Tom brought a wealth of experience, as well as beautiful vocal harmonies to the table. In the first meeting, the new band jammed on some Aretha Franklin songs and found direction in the love of soul, blues, and rock & roll music they shared.
After a Spinal Tap-like succession of drummers, bassist Tom brought in his friend Pierre Gacoin to complete the rhythm section. Hailing from North Eastern Connecticut, Pierre raised his hand to play the drums In the Junior high school band, starting a lifelong journey in music. After playing in school groups playing his first bar gigs at 16, Pierre helped form original band Furious Howard Brown. FHB played in the northeast US for 3 years, including Boston and New York City before deciding to move to Colorado to explore the scene. For over a decade Pierre drummed with FHB around the front range and mountain towns of Colorado. A welcome addition, Pierre provides SugarBeat a dynamic pocket and soulful feel to back up the outstanding musicians in the group.
Tom had another surprise up his sleeve when he introduced the band to keyboardist John Gustke. A seasoned player, John studied classical piano from an early age. He soon was drawn to rock, blues, and funk. Raised in the Dayton, Ohio area, John jammed with some founding members of the Ohio Players, and toured with a show band throughout the Midwest. Relocated to the Boulder area, John has been active in the music scene there since the 80’s, playing a variety of styles including rock, fusion, big band, and jazz.
With decades of experience and a contagious camaraderie, SugarBeat brings a fun, funky vibe to their shows, combining heartbreaking vocals with blistering musicianship. SugarBeat brings their joy of playing the music they love to every show, imbuing a classic sound with a creative twist that makes for an unforgettable evening of music.