Published in the September 2016 Issue of Appalachian Jamwich
The Congress is a soulful, southern blues-rock band now based in Richmond, VA, after their move home from Colorado. The relocation, now nearly a year past, makes the lead track all the more significant- “Home Again” is a poignant, stripped down melody that showcases the vocal prowess of the band before anything else. Throughout the rest of the album, there are noticeable differences between Jonathan Meadows’ and Scott Lane’s signing, but on this track they are flawlessly one. “New Amsterdam” follows and is the first introduction to what the band can really do. They bust into a danceable verse almost instantly, but, quick not to give away too much, dial it back for stellar balance. The high-energy chorus is impossible not to move to, and the drum driven bridge takes listeners almost to another world. The third track takes a far more honky-tonk approach than when played live; “When I’ve Got The Time” features a slide guitar, broken-down music, slower and simpler than their rock ‘n’ roll take, and lead vocals that crackle and scoop like country singers are so known to do. “The Poison and the Antidote” is the newest (to this writer) song on the album; an epic ballad on love and loss, this song is most reflective of their lyrical ability to reach right into the soul of their listeners. The album’s title track is sixth, a staple of their live performance and perfect summary of who the band is; fun-loving southern boys just trying to make music that people will love. Besides Meadows and Lane, The Congress also features Chris Speasmaker on keys and Raph Katchinoff on drums (however the album was recorded with former drummer Mark Levy). Three other equally as quintessential “Congress” songs close the record, reinforcing their technical skill, outstanding talent, and classic song writing. The Congress will be touring the west coast before a run in Spain in November. Check their website for other upcoming dates near you.