CHRIS BERGSON BAND
COMFORTS OF HOME

“The music sits right at the intersection of blues and soul…This is Bergson’s most well-crafted, fully realized album to date…”  – Jim Hynes, Rock and Blues Muse

Chris Bergson’s Comforts of Home Celebrates Family in All Forms

The people with whom we live and work are often our greatest blessings. On his latest record, Comforts of Home, singer/songwriter/guitarist Chris Bergson celebrates family, both biological and chosen.

Bergson said the title track ‘“was the first in a new batch of songs Kate and I wrote focused on the theme of family. I think the songs are more interconnected — like a suite — than anything we’ve written and recorded before.”

The 12 songs on the record were written by Bergson and his partner Kate Ross, with assistance on a few tracks from soul singer Ellis Hooks and multi-instrumentalist Craig Dreyer. It’s an intensely personal suite of songs that also trace some of the challenges family can pose.

From the sweetness of “Chloe’s Song,” written for his baby daughter (now a teenager who sings with Bergson on the track) to “Feelin’ Good Today,” the Chris Bergson Band’s first album since 2017 sighs and sizzles, marking the 20th anniversary of the founding of the band. The Chris Bergson Band played their first show in June of 2004 at the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party in Madison Square Park, NYC with Jay Collins on tenor sax and Moses Patrou on drums, both of whom also play on the new album.

Bergson’s wife and daughter are the inspiration for some of the songs on the record, particularly the lovely “Uptown Side.” With sweet tenor sax fills and a soulful solo by Collins, the track is a love letter to New York City and to home as a joyful place of refuge. Its celebration of Ross and Bergson’s new home in the East Village – their “sky palace of love” — echoes an earlier song, “Gowanus Heights,” an ode to their earlier Brooklyn neighborhood.

Bergson notes that “Kate and I were still emerging from the fractured world of the pandemic when we began writing these songs. In the Fall of 2021, gigs were still stop-and-start following the fluctuations and up-ticks of the virus. Two of our favorite NYC venues and longtime musical homes, Jazz Standard and 55 Bar, both closed over the course of the pandemic and my band found ourselves without a regular place to play.”

For Bergson, the answer was to write songs that provide some catharsis for him while creating music that speaks to universal themes.

“So while the specifics of our situation are unique,” he said, “I think there is a universality we can all relate to. So much is falling apart, leadership and institutions have failed us, facts and truth don’t seem to matter. Bad for humanity, but…that’s the blues.”

A standout track is “You Lied,” the album’s first single, featuring legendary drummer Bernard Purdie, acclaimed pianist Dave Keyes, and longtime bassist Matt Clohesy. The live-in-the-studio track features a funky New Orleans groove, the perfect complement to Bergson’s fiery guitar and gritty blend of New York blues and soul. Purdie said of the session, “It was dynamite! I was thrilled. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it does.”

Bergson’s “chosen” family is the extended musical family he has been a part of for the last 20 years, the band MOJO Magazine has described as “gut-busting, horn bedecked NY blues.” Comforts of Home captures the Chris Bergson Band in its new lineup with Moses Patrou on keyboards/vocals, bassist Clohesy, groovemaster drummer Diego Voglino and Collins playing and arranging the horns. Recorded live at Brooklyn’s Grand Street Recording, most of Bergson’s vocals and blazing guitar were done in complete live takes.

Bergson heard and met singer Ellis Hooks for the first time when the two artists shared a bill at Joe’s Pub. Jim Hynes of Glide Magazine has noted that “Bergson and Hooks have become a modern-day blues-infused Sam and Dave.” “Laid Up (With My Bad Leg in Lenox),” another funky number co-written by Bergson and Hooks with the horns arranged by Jay Collins and Dave Keyes featured on piano, “makes you feel like you’re at one of Levon Helm’s Midnight Rambles up in Woodstock,” Ross said. (Both Bergson and Collins played in Helm’s band for a time.) Bergson and Hooks will be touring together in Europe this July, including playing France’s Cognac Blues Passions Festival on July 4th.

Pianist Dave Keyes (“You Lied” & “Laid Up”) worked alongside Bergson with the late great Hubert Sumlin, one of Bergson’s biggest blues guitar influences. Keyes and Bergson have been playing together for about 15 years, and will be touring together in Europe in October 2024.

Contributing to the album’s rich sound are trumpeter Reggie Pittman, a longtime member of Allman Brothers drummer Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, and tenor saxophonist Michael Blake, an original member of John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards who has also worked with the late great B3 organist Dr. Lonnie Smith. Dr. Smith’s funky style inspired the album’s instrumental boogaloo track “Moses Supposes.”

Brooklyn powerhouse Alexis P. Suter adds gospel-inspired vocals to “Retribution.” Bergson worked out the groove and the bass and guitar parts with longtime bassist, friend and neighbor Clohesy. Suter and Bergson met  in the Fall of 2006 when she was opening for Levon Helm at his celebrated Midnight Ramble concerts in Woodstock, NY and Bergson was subbing in Levon’s band on guitar. They would end up recording together on Alexis P. Suter and the Ministers of Sound’s 2017 release Live at Briggs Farm, along with Keyes and Vicki Bell, who contributes backing vocals on “Retribution.” Suter and Bell recently toured with Bergson, playing festivals in France.

Bergson just finished his third year as an Associate Professor of guitar at Berklee College of Music, where he teaches guitar privately as well as Slide Guitar and Songwriting. Bergson has signed an endorsement deal with D’Addario Strings through their partnership with Berklee. The album’s lovely final track, “Epilogue (Cycle 3 Descending), was inspired by one of the cycles of triads that upper level guitar principals at Berklee must perform as part of their final exam. “I started adding a few notes here and there to the existing cycle and this piece was born,” Bergson said. “It’s meant to convey a patchwork quilt of memories from an album of faded family photographs.”

Chris Bergson

Chris Bergson is an internationally acclaimed American born guitarist, singer, and songwriter. “Chris Bergson plays the kind of guitar you can build a house on – it’s B.B. meets Steve Cropper meets John Scofield.” (ROLL Magazine) Hailed as “the New York street poet with a blues soul” (MOJO) and “one of the most inventive songwriters in modern blues music,” (All Music Guide) Bergson is best known as the leader of the Chris Bergson Band. Elmore Magazine calls the Chris Bergson Band “one of the most talented bands playing today,” whose soulful blend of American Roots music encompasses “blazing rock to funk to soul to Delta blues and all that’s in between.” Bergson is also an accomplished sideman who has performed with luminaries across a wide range of genres including Pop/Rock (Norah Jones, Levon Helm) Blues/Soul (Hubert Sumlin, Bernard Purdie) and Jazz (Annie Ross, Al Foster, and Matt Wilson.) The Chris Bergson Band’s 2007 album Fall Changes, recorded at Levon Helm’s studio in Woodstock, New York, was named MOJO Magazine’s Number One Blues Album of the Year in 2008. Bergson was inducted into the New York Blues Hall of Fame as a Master Blues Artist in 2015.

Bergson is an Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music in the Guitar Department. Bergson plays D’Addario Strings.