Tea Cup Gin hails from North Carolina, with members who’ve also lived and played in the musical meccas of Chicago, NYC, New Orleans, Savannah, Nashville, Vegas, Detroit Motor City, and Washington DC. The members of Tea Cup Gin share a passion for crafting unique musical cocktails under the influence of an eclectic blend of 20th century musical genres. The band stirs together catchy melodies and lyrics, served up on two blazing guitars, with impassioned vocals, dynamic bass & percussion, and occasional guests on trombone, trumpet, violin, sax, blues harp, piano & more. The band has three full albums of originals under our belts, streaming on all platforms, plus a repertoire of over 400 cover tunes spanning a wide array of genres and styles. We curate distinctive set lists customized to each occasion, in highly interactive and energetic performances, executed with stellar musicianship. 

Why the name “TEA CUP GIN”?   During prohibition, speakeasies served bootleg gin in ordinary tea cups to hide what was inside.  Although the band’s original songs may look innocent enough on the outside,  you’ll soon taste a deliciously intoxicating blend of unexpected ingredients. “Tea Cup Gin” evokes vintage influences, while being catchier than saying “you can’t judge a book by the cover!”

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 Promo Photos (Click for Larger Versions)

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Tea Cup Gin Trio (JohnK, ChristyB, MikeR)

Tea Cup Gin Live (JohnK, ChristyB, and MikeR)

Tea Cup Gin Live (JohnK, ChristyB, and MikeR)

                                                                        (Scroll down for more promo/logo images)

MEMBERS

John Klonowski (Guitar) ~ After growing up in Chicago immersed in the blues, JohnK listened to a recording of the Rev Gary Davis’ “Ragtime Guitar”, and set off on an odyssey to learn how to play ragtime and jazz fingerstyle guitar.  JK’s solo performances often blend in intricate ragtime and jazz instrumentals from composers such as Scott Joplin, Louis Chauvin, Fats Waller, and Jelly Roll Morton.

Christy Benson (Vox/Percussion) ~ Christy inherited a passion for vintage jazz and blues from her late father, who worked as a radio DJ during the 1940s when he began amassing a huge collection of 78 rpm records and LPs (ranging from Brownie McGhee and Bessie Smith to Big Bands, Ethel Waters, Kurt Weill, Pete Seeger, Ella, Peggy Lee, Ellington, Monk, Mercer, Miles, & so many more).  She has performed with various acts in North Carolina, Georgia, and Washington DC, including as a longtime backing vocalist with Dexter Romweber and The New Romans.

Mike Reid (Guitar)  ~  MikeR toured internationally as the lead guitar player for famed folk rock artist Tim Hardin, as well as fronting his own bands.   Mike has also performed at numerous Jazz festivals, including the Montreux Jazz Festival and New Orleans Jazzfest, and has also recorded extensively as a studio musician in NYC, Nashville, and New Orleans with various artists including Mick Fleetwood.

Mike “The Hammer” Chrzanowski (Bass) ~  A versatile player of many  genres, MikeC has made his mark playing and recording with various bands on the NC music scene as well as on the Vegas strip–although we are sworn to secrecy on his shenanigans there (“what happens in Vegas…”).   After growing up in Detroit, the Hammer has the sounds of the Motor City rooted deep in his soul, which tends to come through no matter what style of music we are layin’ down!   

Special Thanks to the outstanding cast of supremely talented musicians who have frequently accompanied TEA CUP GIN at live performances and on our recordings, including:

  • Upright Bass:   The Marvelous Ms. Jane Francis (aka “Sweet Jane”), as well as Gene Barrio,
    Ittai Korman, Doug Vuncannon, Mike Maloney, Don Raleigh, & Nigel Clarke
  • Percussion:   Amanda Sycamore, Larry Duckworth, Mark Robertson, Aaron Tucker,
    Slimbo McElroy, Rob DiMauro
  • Special Guests Have Included: Robert Griffin (Piano), Danny Grewen (trombone), Crispy Bess (Hammond Organ), Omar Ruiz Lopez (violin), Robo Jones (trombone), David Kreimer (sax), Bill Johnson (Harp) & Many More! 

Press Quotes

“Tea Cup Gin’s debut album Underground Love is a glorious crossroads of jazz noir, tin pan, and furious fingerstyle blues, fueled by impassioned vocals, with a dash of latin rhythm to spice up the mix!”  – Feature in Relix Magazine & Jambands.com (April/May 2015 Issue)

Tea Cup Gin has has found a niche playing their hybrid form of gypsy swing and hot jazz by integrating sultry jazz vocals into a smoking rhythm section, while maintaining all the integrity this music requires. Tea Cup Gin has its roots firmly grounded in the gypsy swing tradition. Not only can they execute the songs successfully, they come across as a band that is having a blast doing it, and it shows in the music!”ย  ~ James Nadal, Review Published in All About Jazz Magazine

Tea Cup Gin did a fabulous job entertaining a sellout crowd of 6,000 runners at the Tar Heel 10 Miler race in Chapel Hill.”ย    – Endurance Magazine & Chapel Hill Weekly (May 01, 2014)

Tea Cup Gin performed at a large Market Mixer event that my company planned and hosted for The Knot.com. They were friendly, professional and wonderful to work with!   Throughout the entire planning process, Tea Cup Gin was so enthusiastic about performing and were incredibly easy to work with. I would highly recommend them!” – Nancy Mazzuco, Owner, “I Do” Event Planning, at TheKnot.com

Tea Cup Gin is releasing its first album – Underground Love and they’re doing it in style!   Some bands just release a new album, but they have a CD-Circus!”ย  – Aaron Keck, WCHL/Chapelboro (Sep 12, 2014)

Tea Cup Gin was simply fabulous!” ~ Chapelboro News coverage and photos of Hillsborough Hog Days Festival   – SP Murray, Chapelboro.com and WCHL (May 18, 2013)


Following and Bookings

Tea Cup Gin has a strong live, online, and social media presence, and you can find us playing out and about across central and piedmont area of NC as well as special events and festivals across the Southeast.  

CLICK HERE for demographic data on the size and scope of our online fanbase.  

We play several shows a month at a wide array of festivals, venues, clubs, events, hotels, and restaurants, plus private functions and events, here are just some of them:

  • North Carolina Museum of Art – Raleigh
  • North Carolina Museum of Natural Science – Raleigh
  • Koka Booth Amphitheater – Cary
  • Cat’s Cradle – Chapel Hill
  • The Blue Note Grill – Durham
  • JC Raulston Arboretum Raleigh
  • Motorco Music Hall – Durham
  • Town of Chapel Hill – FestiFall
  • American Tobacco Campus – Durham
  • Rock ‘N Roll Marathon – Savannah GA
  • Downtown Durham “Find Your Cool” Music Series
  • Town of Garner Music Series
  • Holly Springs Cultural Center 
  • Town of Cary Summer Music Series 
  • The Unscripted Hotel – Durham
  • 21C Museum Hotel – Durham
  • Colonial Inn – Hillsborough
  • Eno River Festival – Durham
  • Apex Music Festival
  • Centerfest –  Durham
  • Bond Brothers Eastside – Cary
  • Haw River Ballroom
  • Shakori Hills Festival of Music & Arts
  • Beyu Caffe – Durham
  • C Grace – Raleigh
  • Watts & Ward – Raleigh
  • Tanner’s Wine Bar – Burlington
  • Oxford Oaks Distillery – Oxford
  • Yonder Southern Cocktails & Brew – Hillsborough
  • Durham Arts Guild
  • Carolina Inn – Chapel Hill
  • Franklin Hotel (Graduate Hotel) – Chapel Hill
  • Lafayette Village – Raleigh
  • Carolina Club – UNC Chapel Hill
  • Forest Theatre – Chapel Hill
  • Sirens on the Mountain Festival
  • Glass Jug Beer Lab
  • Tarheel “Ten Miler” 
  • Ramblin’ Rose Triathlon Race
  • NC Hops & Roots Festival
  • Elderberry Festival – Carrboro
  • 140 West Plaza Outdoor Concert Series – Chapel Hill
  • Hog Day Festival –  Hillsborough
  • Bond Brothers East Side – Cary
  • Speakeasy – Carrboro
  • The Station – Carrboro
  • Ackland Art Museum – Chapel Hill
  • Carrboro Music Festival
  • La Vita Dolce – Chapel Hill
  • Sola Cafe – Raleigh
  • Vinos Finos – Raleigh
  • The Station – Carrboro
  • Carrboro Farmers Market
  • Dancing With the Stars Carolina
  • Deep South The Bar – Raleigh
  • Full Steam Brewery – Durham
  • The Mayton Inn – Cary
  • Honeysuckle Tea House – Chapel Hill
  • Honeysuckle at Lakewood
  • NC Crawfish Festival
  • Local 506 Music Club – Chapel Hill
  • The Cave Music Club – Chapel Hill
  • Irregardless Cafe – Raleigh
  • The Pour House – Raleigh
  • Foundation – Downtown Raleigh
  • Growler Grlz Beer Garden
  • Southern Village – Chapel Hill
  • Speakeasy – Carrboro
  • The Pinhook – Durham
  • “TASTE:  The Event” – Durham
  • Numerous Private Events, Corporate Events, Weddings
  • MANY MORE!   
Tea Cup Gin Offstage Candid Promo Pic – HI RES PNG
(from 12 o clock: JohnK, ChristyB, MikeC, MarkR, MikeR)
TCG Outdoor Candid Promo Pic – HI RES PNG
(JohnK, MarkR, ChristyB, MikeC, MikeR)
Tea Cup Gin Promo Logo Mural

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