Artists are often associated with a city or region; Chris Bergson is New York City through and through. His music are the voice of the soul of the city. His latest album ‘Bitter Midnight’ is another reflection of NYC and its rich diversity.
Some of that sound may be because Bergson recorded the 11 original songs to two-inch tape at Brooklyn’s Mighty Toad Recording Studio. He also enlisted the help of a wide cast of friends including 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.
The funky snare drum of Comess and clavinet from Mason open the album with Bergson usurping a musical phrase to describe the feeling and tension of a night scene on “Pedal Tones.” The New York Blues Hall of Fame guitarist demonstrates he is no one trick pony by delivering some convincing honky tonk licks on the road song “5:20,” before settling into the smooth R&B groove of the lonesome blues “Just Before the Storm.” Hooks takes over the vocals for the four-on -the-floor horn-driven soul “Knuckles and Bones.” Then, Bergson rips on slide guitar during the time shifting political discourse of “Explode or Contain.” The comparisons to David Clayton Thomas arise again as Bergson’s vocals are front and center on the piano ballad “Lullaby.” He delivers some workin’ man blues on “61st & 1st,” while the delta infused “Blues For Dave,” is a poignant lament for a good friend.
What else could you ask for.