Leicester Bangs

Leaning on the traditions of ‘60s Motown and Stax, together with the classic groove bands of the 1970s, The Candymakers make no secret of their desire to have some fun while making their music, and in turn, share as much of the joy as they can with their audience. I imagine live on stage, in front of an enthusiastic crowd, the Davenport, Iowa six-piece are damn near irresistible. It’s to their eternal credit that they’ve managed to transfer all that bustling energy into studio recordings, and their songs leap from the speakers like timeless productions by Frank Wilson and Steve Cropper.

At the moment the blues crowd have adopted them as their own, and they’re beginning to win awards in that category, though for me, it’s their soul side that marks them out from the crowd. Tracks like “Yet to Begin” and “No Music No Party” are bonafide floor fillers, and in Alan Sweet they’ve a singer with a voice which is powerful and utterly convincing. Which isn’t to dismiss their other attributes. When they err towards rock and blues, the remarkable “Mirror Don't Lie” is a prime example, they can be just as persuasive, and guitarist Bret Dale absolutely shines in this setting.

QC Online-Dispatch/Argus

Al Sweet's voice is in-between Otis Redding and Joe Cocker.

Iowa Girl on the Go-Travel and Entertainment Blog

The last band(at the Des Moines Winter Blues Festival), The Candymakers, was made up of considerably younger musicians and provided the slickest-looking (i.e., black suits, red shirts, and black ties) performance of the evening. More jazzy than bluesy at times, the Candymakers (winners of the 2011 Iowa Blues Societies Blues Challenge) featured a saxophone player and a mean lead guitarist.

The Candymakers gave me a little hope that this musical style might live to see the next generation.


The Candymakers started and finished the night with sets of inspired soul, funk, and blues songs. Despite having to leave a few of their own behind in the Quad Cities, the remaining six members of the band put on a stellar show. Lead Singer Alan Sweet's huge voice and James Brown dance moves, combined with the fantastic ensemble sound of the rest of the band, illustrated right away to the Gas Lamp crowd why this band won the Iowa Blues Challenge and the Mississippi Valley Blues Society's Blues Challenge. From covers of Buddy Guy, Bill Withers, and even Bob Marley, to their own original tunes, The Candymakers wowed the packed house with their "ear candy". Do not miss this band at the 2012 Winter Blues Fest in three weeks, and make sure you pick up a copy of their new CD (it should be out a couple of days before the festival)

The Barn Presents

The Candymakers, from Davenport, IA, opened the night and made their Chicago debut a memorable one.  Sold as a funk outfit, they had more blues and soul to my ear. If you like Stax and Motown, coupled with a little Chicago blues, keep your eye out.  These guys have a unique and appealing sound that is missing in our circuit.

The Candymakers are an act with Daptone-like flair.  Front man Al Sweet reminded me of an all-eyes-on-me, Theryl deClouet-in-the-Galactic-day type draw.  Bret Dale is a bluesy, balls-out guitar player who was an equally dominating force on stage, offsetting Sweet’s powerful and soulful pipes.