With MOJO Magazine’s #1 Blues Album of 2008, ‘Fall Changes,’ and #2 Blues Album of 2011, ‘Imitate the Sun,’ and #3 Blues Album of 2014, ‘Live at Jazz Standard,’ New York guitarist/singer Chris Bergson was inducted into the New York Blues Hall of Fame on February 11th, 2015. He established himself as “one of the most inventive songwriters in modern blues music.” (All Music Guide) Chris Bergson has performed and/or shared the stage with Hubert Sumlin, Levon Helm, B.B. King, Norah Jones, John Hammond, Etta James, and Bettye LaVette, to name just a few.
Notable past performances include: Moulin Blues (Holland), Groningen Rhythm and Blues Night (Holland), Blues Open (Holland), Noct en Blues (Chaumont, France), Blues in Hell (Norway), Harvest Time Blues (Ireland), Leicester Blues Festival (UK), Waterfront Blues Festival (Portland, OR), Saratoga Jazz Festival (NY), Levon Helm’s Midnight Rambles (Woodstock, NY), River to River Festival (NYC), Joe’s Pub (NYC), The Blue Note (NYC), Jazz Standard (NYC), John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (DC), SXSW, and opening for B.B. King at B.B. King’s Blues Club (NYC).
The Chris Bergson Band’s new CD Bitter Midnight was released in Europe by Continental Record Services on March 17, 2017 and in the U.S. on 2 Shirts Records on April 4, 2017. Click here to listen to the first single from the album: “Pedal Tones.”
Bitter Midnight was named ‘Album of the Month’ in the March 2017 issue of Gitarist Magazine (NL).
“As we’ve come to expect from Bergson, Bitter Midnight is full of tasty, intuitive guitar work and passionate vocals but besides that, the album’s also a triumph for his qualities as a composer… An absolute must for fans of blues, soul and southern rock.”
The Chris Bergson Band’s new release Bitter Midnight is the band’s first studio album since 2011’s critically acclaimed Imitate the Sun. Bitter Midnight showcases the band’s “gut-busting, horn-bedecked NY blues” (MOJO) with eleven original songs all recorded to two-inch tape at Brooklyn’s Mighty Toad Recording Studio. New York Blues Hall of Fame guitarist/singer Chris Bergson “…one of the most inventive songwriters in modern blues music” (All Music Guide) is joined on the album by soul singer Ellis Hooks (Steve Cropper), baritone saxophonist Jay Collins (Gregg Allman), trumpeter Steven Bernstein (Levon Helm), drummers Aaron Comess (Spin Doctors), Tony Mason (Darlene Love), bassists Andy Hess (Gov’t Mule), Richard Hammond (Joan Osborne), Matt Clohesy (Patti Austin), and keyboardist/tenor saxophonist Craig Dreyer (Dispatch).
“One of the most talented bands playing today…from blazing rock to funk to soul to Delta blues and all that’s in between.”
“Right off, in Pedal Tones, the rubbery hook, sharpened by squawking pedal tones, sinks in like honey in a meat grinder.”
Born in New York City but raised in Somerville, Massachusetts, Chris Bergson returned to Manhattan in 1995. While backing jazz singers Annie Ross, Dena DeRose, Sasha Dobson and Norah Jones, he released Blues for Some Friends of Mine and Wait for Spring on Juniper Records in 1997 and 2000, respectively. 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 — that established him as an eloquent, evocative and lyrical songwriter with a sharp urban vision. Recorded at Levon Helm’s Woodstock studio, it led to Bergson being personally invited to perform at the famed drummer’s Midnight Rambles while opening the way for more stateside festivals and subsequent tours of Europe.
Live at Jazz Standard was recorded live over two nights at NYC’s Jazz Standard with Bergson’s usual four-piece band (organ/wurlitzer, bass and drums) “augmented with a horn section expert in the snap and crackle of bluesy soul.” (The Blues Magazine UK) The fifteen song CD contains eight brand new original songs from New York guitarist/singer Chris Bergson “…one of the most inventive songwriters in modern blues music.” (All Music Guide) as well as new arrangements of five older originals from the band’s back catalog.
“Four Stars…Another bulletin from the New York street poet with a blues soul… the music is as tight as a hangman’s knot.” MOJO – Blues Album of the Month, June 2014
“This recording captures the sheer exhilaration of one of the most talented bands playing today…From blazing rock to funk to soul to Delta blues and all that’s in between.” Elmore Magazine
“Over the past decade, Chris Bergson has become one of the most interesting blues-inspired songwriters. He describes the streetscapes and nightscapes of city life, painting small, memorable pictures, a kind of Edward Hopper of the blues. Bergson doesn’t do predictable, but there’s a visible thread of blues awareness running through the fabric of everything he writes, sings and plays: he is a concise and subtle guitarist and tough, grainy singer.” The Blues Magazine (UK)
“Chris Bergson is a serious and important artist. Immaculate playing… showcasing a range from acoustic delta to full-on electric rock. Bergson’s singing too has always been a remarkable asset, but past recordings don’t adequately prepare for a performance which is one moment Brook Benton or Bill Withers and the next Tom Waits of ‘Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis’…This recording sees the start of a careful but significant progression, which gives him a more distinctive shape and individual voice…altogether bluesier and more soulful.”
–Leiciester Bangs (UK)
“Four Stars…Another bulletin from the New York street poet with a blues soul… the music is as tight as a hangman’s knot.”
-MOJO Magazine, Blues Album of the Month, June 2014
“Gut-busting, horn-bedecked NY blues.” “A powerful spirit with flavours of Ray Charles and Tom Waits… These guys could strip down the engine of a soulbluesmobile and put it back together blindfold.”
“Bergson’s stirring voice and glorious guitar command immediate attention.”
“Chris Bergson plays the kind of guitar you can build a house on – it’s B.B. meets Steve Cropper meets John Scofield.”
“This recording captures the sheer exhilaration of one of the most talented bands playing today…From blazing rock to funk to soul to Delta blues and all that’s in between.”
“New Yorker Chris Bergson has a mountain of talent with his tight guitar, a smoky baritone… and reflective songwriting skills.”
“A fair number of hot shot guitarists can lay down licks with presence and panache, but that number shrinks drastically when you tally the ones who are also sharp-shooting singer/songwriters. Thatís what makes Chris Bergson an unusual triple threat and this live recording shines a spotlight on the strength of his material as well as the alternately simmering and fiery feel that he and his band serve up in a club setting. New York City native Chris Bergson is a bluesman of a distinctly urban stripe. Instead of swamps and rivers, his songs – many penned in collaboration with lyricist Kate Ross – are full of citified imagery from the midtown Manhattan locale of “61st & 1st” to the Brooklyn scenes of “Gowanus Heights.” The three-man horn section accentuates the soul leanings of tunes like “The Only One” and brings out the R&B shadings in Bergson’s gritty growl. At times, the blend of Bergson’s earthy vocals and terse, biting guitar with Craig Dreyer’s organ evokes The Band. Yet whether the guitarist and his group are venturing into R&B, roots rock or straight blues, they create an invitingly organic feel on a recording that clearly captures the band in their element.”
-According to iTunes Editors’ Notes:
“Upon first hearing guitar man Chris Bergson and his gravely southern drawl, which is a combination of Levon Helm and Gregg Allman, you can hardly believe this guy is from New York City. Imitate the Sun displays an artist dedicated to bringing blues and classic R&B into the future while honoring the past.”
“…satisfying blue-eyed soul, sad bastard storytelling, and tasty ensemble textures – where Bergson’s voice, then guitar, prove to be both wise leaders, and worthy centers of attention…Bergson’s lower-pitched tenor tends to emphasize taste and ornament over range, and his semi-hollow Gibson tones put him between the late Little Milton and Warren Haynes’s current sound du jour…”
“Seriously street-smart songwriting and Allman-esque vocal prowess…”
“Smoky flavors wafting from New York City up to the Catskill Mountains infiltrate the unfussy music of the Chris Bergson Band. Bergson’s a spry, supple guitarist with an earthy singing voice and a blues-grounded heart…Keep a sharp eye on this guy.”
-Hittin’ the Note
“Bergson is the real deal…reminiscent of The Band at their best…high octane funk…wonderful stuff indeed!”
-Blues In The Northwest
“Outstanding. Deeply soulful vocals and dynamic fretwork.”
-Blues In Britain
“No-one else making music in the modern world invokes the spirit of The Band like he does…” “…drawing intuitively and seamlessly from blues, country, folk, funk, soul and jazz, Bergson has the kind of voice that can be sepia-tinted, whiskey soaked or nicotine stained to fit the requisite style and mood, standing alongside Gregg Allman, Dr. John, Van Morrison and Danko/Helm.”
-Leicester Bangs (UK)
Chris Bergson currently serves on the faculty of NYC’s 92Y where he teaches guitar and is the music mentor for the Recanati-Kaplan Scholarship Program.
For additional information and press kits:
Innsbruck Records, Inc.
Attn: Maria Infantine, J.D.
For North America booking:
McCoy Artists Group Larry McCoy at
Tel: +1 608.963.2795
Photo Credit: Ahron R. Foster