This eight piece outfit from Chicago is all raw grit and soul. Led by wailing front woman Gina Bloom, The Congregation kicks your door down with raucous horns, a rock and soul rhythm section and high-intensity guitar solos. From heart-stirring ballads to hip shaking soul jams, this band will leave you with a tear in your eye and sweat at your feet.
“Record Collection”, the Congregation’s latest release, is a love letter to the classic rock and R&B records that have shaped the band’s sound since it arrived on the scene as one of Chicago Tribune’s “11 Bands to Watch in 2011”. “Record Collection” follows-up the group’s debut album “Right Now Everything” which was featured in the Chicago Sun-Times as one of the ten best local releases of 2012 and hailed as an “instant classic” by The Deli Magazine. While the Congregation’s band members feel most at home on the small stages of Chicago, the band’s stop-and-take-notice sound and electrifying live sets have earned them the opportunity to perform on stadium bills with Wilco and the Flaming Lips and to grace the small screen with appearances on ABC7’s “Windy City Live”, WGN’s “Music Lounge”, Science Channel’s “Through The Wormhole with Morgan Freeman” and BBC’s “Horizon”.
The Congregation is Gina Bloom (vocals), Charlie Wayne (guitar),
Chuck Sansone (keyboard), Steve Schuster (bass), Dan Wendt (drums),
Nick Nottoli (trombone), Justin Amolsch (trumpet) and Erik Eiseman (saxophone).
“While Record Collection stands as an homage to the glorious past, The Congregation’s well-crafted songs with universal themes, terrific horn arrangements, danceable beats and sing-along melodies present a dynamic, hip, contemporary sound. Comparisons to Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Alabama Shakes and the late Amy Winehouse come easily.” — Linda Cain, Chicago Blues Guide
“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