When you hear the word “congress,” surely you immediately think of the legislative body that sits in Washington, D.C. However, there’s a far more basic definition of that word that simply suggests a group of people coming together for a common purpose. And with their easy musical camaraderie and seemingly effortless groove, Richmond, Virginia’s the Congress may very well have taken their name from that definition of the word.
Indeed, the Congress’ four stellar members — Scott Lane (guitar, vocals), Jonathan Meadows (bass, vocals) Raphael Katchinoff (drums), and Chris Speasmaker (keys) — come together in unison in a way that feels thoroughly, wonderfully natural, and entirely suited to their melange of folk, soul, country and Americana.
That melange is on full display in the new video for “Farewell,” a recent ballad whose soulful harmonies, loping groove, and gorgeous piano/guitar interplay all recall none other than the Band. And if hearing those ingredients is one thing, actually seeing them come together in this performance video adds another level to the experience altogether — and lets you see just how much of a congress the Congress truly is.
When the vocals drop off for an extended section midway through, for example, we get to watch the band’s fluent give-and-take in action; the guitar and piano trade solos as if this whole affair is just a couple of old friends sitting around enjoying and listening to each other play — which is very likely the truth.
Perhaps in terms of articulating this relaxed mood and elegantly straightforward songwriting, Speasmaker says it best:
“”Farewell” is my favorite song on the record — simple composition, powerful chorus, and relatable lyrics. The song translates well on the piano, too. We filmed this video in Scott Lane’s (guitars, vocals) house in Richmond, Virginia. Once Scott got his grand piano, it was a pretty easy decision to record “Farewell.” It’s one of those songs that doesn’t require much in terms of playing because the harmonies are so solid.”
But lest you think that “Farewell” is all this band has in their arsenal, the songs that accompany it on The Game (out September 9th on American Paradox Records) are just as potent across a number of varied styles that showcase the band’s mastery of their sound. From rockers like “September” to downtempo numbers like “Home Again,” this is not an album to be missed.