September 13, 2007 | BY Sean McDevitt

Gibson Recommends Chris Bergson Band Fall Changes
Sean McDevitt | 09.13.2007

When Brooklyn-based Chris Bergson headed upstate to Woodstock, New York, to cut his latest album of rootsy rhythm & blues at the recording studio of Band drummer Levon Helm, the guitarist and vocalist made sure to bring the sounds of Muscle Shoals and Memphis along for the ride. Aside from showcasing some seriously street-smart songwriting and Allman-esque vocal prowess, Fall Changes also suggests an artist in creative transition: While those who have caught one of Bergsonís New York City club gigs know that heís equally adept playing jazz or the blues, this album is decidedly neither. Sure, flashes of both genresóalong with a host of other musical strandsóinfiltrate from time to time, but they never threaten the big picture. And at dayís end, this release (produced by Bergson and blues guitarist Dave Rubin) works hard to remain varied while simultaneously resisting categorization. The soaring tenor saxophone of bandmate Jay Collins serves as the perfect complementóand sometimes foilóto Bergsonís tasteful guitar lines, which he skillfully coaxes from his dotneck reissue ES-335. The opening ìGowanus Heightsî and the tempo-shifting ìLatitudeî are firmly rooted in Americana, Collinsí horn lines emanating a Stax vibe; the groove-laden ìFloat Your Mind,î where Bergsonís guitar chops are firmly on display, is a straight-ahead rocker; the gentle ìSanctuaryî offers a meditative, almost gospel-like quality; keyboardist Bruce Katz shines on ìThe Bungler,î a trip down to New Orleans; and ìRain Beatiní Down,î with its stark instrumentation, irresistible tension and release (and pronounced bottom end), feels like something Delta blues master Charley Patton might have playedóhad he lived to see the dawn of the electric guitar. While the originals speak volumes about Bergsonís musical ambition, his choice of covers says every bit as much: He digs deep into Dylanís ìWhen I Paint My Masterpiece,î reimagines Hendrixís ìAre You Experienced?î as a horn excursion, and treats Ray Charlesí ìDrown in My Own Tearsî with tasteful, economical B.B.-like guitar lines. A fully-realized effort from a rising artist.

Click here to read the review at