FreeWheelin' Music Safari

Life’s Soundtrack: Chris Bergson Band – Imitate the Sun

So I ran early last evening to avoid the mid-day  heat a fairly good four mile run in under 10 min per mile pace. (I’m just building base mileage, speed will come later, right?). When I got home I was all ready to write about the run and the run’s soundtrack along with some other albums that have been playing on the iPod. But once again after showering and sitting down reading a bit of The Baxter Trust, the lure of the couch was soon calling and napping ensued!  Anyway after waking up I continued reading but not writing.  So here’s the first installment of  a recap of yesterday’s soundtrack!

The soundtrack began with a trip to Wegmans and Target. Grocery shopping is made so much better with tunes! On the way there and through much of Wegmans  The Chris Bergson Band’s new album Imitate the Sun was playing. The more I listen to this album the more I like it. The songs offer a variety of styles some straight up blues, some Memphis R&B and some jazz overtones. Bergson was bor in New York raised in Massachusetts and returned to Manhattan in 1995. From his biography on his website:

In 2002 Bergson was appointed a Jazz Ambassador of the USA by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and he toured Africa with his trio. Evolving to further embrace the blues while also adding pop influences, he followed up with Blues (2003), Another Day (2005) and his triumphant artistic breakthrough, the widely acclaimed Fall Changes (2007) — MOJO’s #1 Blues Album of 2008!

After listening and liking Imitate the Sun, I downloaded Fall Changes (2007)  and I’ve only listened once, but I liked what I heard!.

Imitate the Sun contains six  original songs and four covers. Bergson is backed by his regular band mates on the album Jay Collins (tenor and baritone saxes, backing vocals, horn arrangements), Matt Clohesy (bass) and Tony Leone (drums, percussion). Others adding to the full sound on the album include Bruce Katz (organ, piano, Wurlitzer organ), Kenny Rampton (trumpet) and Chris Karlic (baritone sax)

The opening track “Goin’ Home” reminds me of  the Band. A kindy, folkie, bluesy, jazzy track. I love the horns provided by Collins and the the chorus:

“…soon I’m gonna imitate the sun,                                                                          after days of having his rays,                                                                                         obscured by smog and storms,
breaks through the clouds,shines on down, blinding all below…”

Bergson strong guitar ends the track!

“Shattered Avenue” a slow blues number and “Hello Bertha.” with it’s Memohis sounding horns are next, followed by probably my favorite track a cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s classic  “Down in the Bottom”. Bergson’s bluesy drawl is well suited for the song and the layered slide and lead guitars coupled with Katz’s acoustic piano complete the great track.

“Laying It Down in White” a blues ballad about taking down the Christmas tree and Bessie Smith’s classic “You’ve Been a Good Old Wagon” follow. Bergson and Katz channel the 1920s era of the classic women blues singers. Bergson throws out some slide licks reminiscent of Hawaiian guitar, and  tenor man Collins wails away!

A song about a street character’ “Mr. Jackson” is up next and again Bergson’s guitar and Katz’s piano combine to make a memorable track.  Bergson’s slide guitar is accompanied this time by Katz’s  barrelhouse piano of Katz.

The ending and longest track on the album is a cover of  Bob Dylan’s “Standing in the Doorway.” The track opens with just Bergson’s rhythm guitar for accompaniment, but soon builds to a very emotional and stirring track!

Here’s a good summation of the album from the Leicester Bangs (UK):

“No-one else making music in the modern world invokes the spirit of The Band like he does… ‘Hello Bertha’ brings on the brass for a solid soul strut underpinning one of his strongest compositions so far. ‘Laying it Down in White’ is simply the most beautiful ballad you’ll hear this year…It’s an absolute joy to listen to and reveals more and more depth with repeated playing…The most vital album of 2011 so far.”

So check out the Chris Bergson Band. Coming up the soundtrack moves on to Dylan Sneed and The Hillbenders!

Here’s “Dust My Btoom” by Chris and the Band