Rock Over America

March 30, 2011 | by Melissa Martinez

It isn't often that a new to me artist blows me away, but Chris Bergson did just that with the soon to be released Imitate the Sun. With six original songs, and four masterful covers, this New York based Blues artist proves that he's the real deal.

The band is a stellar line up of musicians that all compliment each other beautifully. With his regular line up of Jay Collins (tenor and baritone sax, backing vocals, horn arrangements), Bruce Katz (organ, piano, Wurlirtzer organ), Matt Clohesy (bass), and Tony Leone (drums, percussion), Chris and his work on guitars and vocals shine. Add Kenny Rampton (trumpet) and Chris Karlic (baritone sax) to the tracks "Hello Bertha" and " Mr. Jackson", and you have a truly rewarding listening experience.

"Goin' Home" embodies the Americana feel, along with the longing for being in the place that gives you comfort. The easy loping feel of the song belies the talent of the picking throughout. "Imitate the Sun" has a groove to it that I really enjoy. With thoughtfully placed horns that punctuate the vocals, and funky organ work, you feel like all is right with the world. It honestly makes you forget that the song is actually full of lyrics that tell of hardships.

"Shattered Avenue" starts with slide work that shows Chris' talent. His heartfelt vocals are a pleasure to listen to, and the control he shows in his vocals are inspired. "Hello Bertha" brings you back to that funky groove with the horns, and the soulful guitar solo couldn't be any better. Proof that sometimes less is more. The Willie Dixon classic "Down in the Bottom" is a perfect vehicle for the almost growling vocals that Chris manages, without losing his own identity. Can I just say I love this track!

"Laying it Down in White" almost brought tears to my eyes. The tale of love and the insecurity felt is a beautiful ballad. You can hear the pain in the acoustic guitar with every perfectly played note. "You've Been a Good Old Wagon", the Bessie Smith classic, evokes times long gone. Listening you can see the woman done wrong, singing at the piano. I have no idea how he manages that, but he does. "Mr. Jackson" does an outstanding job telling the story of that man we've all met...a hustler living on his wits. The piano work in this one is great, and again the horns add that funk.

Two covers end the CD. "Dust My Broom", the Elmore James classic, and "Standing in the Doorway", by the one and only Bob Dylan. "Dust My Broom" is a boot stomping Blues classic, and the slide guitar solo spiked with Katz's piano makes you want to boogie. "Standing in the Doorway" is immensely powerful for it's restraint.

Scheduled to be released in early May, Imitate the Sun is one to add to your wish list. Until then, I suggest that you go get some of the earlier releases by this talented band. When you get your hands on Imitate the Sun I know that you'll enjoy it as much as I did!

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