Classic soul meets rock and roll in this dynamic eight-piece collective from Chicago. The Congregation features Gina Bloom, a singer whose raw and powerful vocals are underscored by Charlie Wayne’s dynamic guitar riffs, the band’s garage rock rhythms and the lively call and response of a three-piece horn section. When it comes to the songwriting, you won’t find any sugarcoated love songs here–you’ll get a little bit of longing and a whole lot of wronging.
While the release of Right Now Everything marked the band’s full-length album debut, The Congregation has been steadily gaining steam since the release of its seven-song EP, Not for Sleepin’, in late 2010. The band was named by the Chicago Tribune as one of “11 Bands to Watch in 2011”, and was recently featured in Paste Magazine as one of “10 Illinois Bands You Should Listen to Now”. The Congregation’s stop-and-take-notice sound earned the group the opportunity to share a triple stadium-bill with Grammy-winning band Wilco and critically acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird as well as another all-star ballpark lineup with the Flaming Lips and Garbage in the summer of 2012. In 2013, The Congregation appeared as an official showcasing act at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX and appeared on an episode of Through The Wormhole with Morgan Freeman.
The Congregation is Gina Bloom (vocals), Charlie Wayne (guitar),
Chuck Sansone (keyboard), Steve Schuster (bass), Dan Wendt (drums),
Nick Nottoli (trombone), Justin Amolsh (trumpet) and Erik Eiseman (saxophone).
“Cut from the same cloth as Alabama Shakes, Vintage Trouble and their fellow Chicagoans JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, these soul revivalists recently earned an opening slot for Wilco. While their most obvious influences include the likes of Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin, they can also rock with the best of them—they’ve even recorded a cover of The Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”” — Bonnie Stiernberg, Paste Magazine, “10 Illinois Bands You Should Listen to Now”
“The Congregation makes its debut with a formidable full-length filled with churchy soul and jazzy rock…this eight-piece ensemble arrives in the wake of buzz surrounding some other old-school contemporaries, Alabama Shakes. The Congregation’s Gina Bloom, though, is a different kind of singer — more eager, mischievous, alluringly androgynous…The band, too, is nimble and highly caffeinated, applying gospel grooves (the title track) as easily as slinky sugar-daddy lovin’ (“High Class”). Yes, they can get my amen!” — Thomas Conner, Chicago Sun-Times
“Led by vocalist Gina Bloom, whose bluesy pipes and aching timbres carry over her dapperly dressed band’s rhythm section, The Congregation unapologetically hearken back to an era when music stands, brassy call-and-response lines and disciplined performances graced every concert stage. The wild card? Sass.” — Bob Gendron, Chicago Tribune, “11 Bands to Watch in 2011″
“There just aren’t many singers in Chicago that can own a room the way that The Congregation frontwoman Gina Bloom can; her voice is just that great. The 8-piece garage-soul band packs a lot of attitude and charisma into their set.” — Matt Pais, Metromix/RedEye
“The sound is soul music on fire, touched by the blues, and wrapped up in the energy of rock and roll; it is completely infectious! It is the kind of sound that reminds us all how powerful live music can be.” — Mike O’Cull, Chicago Blues Guide
“Chicago eight-piece The Congregation combine classic, bluesy soul with raw rock and roll energy and the power-packed vocals of Gina Bloom for a sound that dares you not to take notice.” — Frank Krolicki, Windy City Rock
“A little bit of funk, a little bit of rocking soul and a little bit of electric blues roll into their sound – truly strong, standout stuff from a group that’s only getting started. You get the feeling that the best is definitely yet to come from them – and they’re pretty great already!” — © 1996-2011, Dusty Groove America, Inc