In many ways, Wrigleyville resembles the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans. There are a lot of things that contribute to that, but the music is most important. Ed Gershon is the stereotypical travelling musician you’d find in any bar on the strip. Talented, approachable and willing to prove to the world that his music is worth hearing – even if it means he has to do it alone. A wandering ronin with an axe instead of a sword, Gershon seems to have finally found a place to call home with Pino Farina, Chris Denman, Shalonda Jones, Grant Niebergall, Chris Ussery and Adam Whitson. Collectively, originally, they’re session musicians who were brought together to play on Gershon’s album The Ocean Blue. Once they get on stage and get into their groove, there’s nothing separating them (except some very minor technical difficulties) the great blues and jazz collectives of New Orleans.
Even though the music isn’t strictly jazz or blues, it’s everything behind the notes and the words that matters. There are elements of blues, folk, Americana, rock and jazz, but most importantly there’s a soul behind the music that you can feel. The wisdom, emotion and even pain behind the music reaches well past Gershon’s years on this Earth and projects his ability to connect with similarly talented musicians and listeners of all ages.
As Gershon and company rolled through The Ocean Blue from start to finish, along with two new tracks, Goose Island swelled and dipped with the crescendoing drums, the Aretha-esque backup vocals, the twang of guitars, the staccato piano accompaniment and Gershon’s own take on what it means to be a singer-songwriter. It was a performance you could sit and enjoy, dance to or simply let wash over you. A spotlight shone down on a group of people that could, quite easily, take the place of a house band on any major late night show.