MUSIC | R.I.P. The New Congress


For a long time, one of my favoritest bands was The New Congress. Sure wrote about them enough. So, when it came from trustworthy sources that the group is no more, I had to catch a minute and take it in. Music outfits, of course, come and go every day, many taking a world of promise with them. The New Congress were above and beyond. They weren’t merely a fine band. They were a powerhouse R&B rockers with rare combination of both flawless artistic integrity and highly commercial appeal.

Like the rest of their fans, I was curious as hell about their next album, wondering when it would be released, when I heard of the break-up. Suddenly, I got busy making sure I knew where I left my copies of The New Congress and Anguish, Love & Romance laying around, not to mention an unreleased recording done live at The Fine Line (throwing down in a night club, TNC were pure hell on greased wheels). The music was a sharp soul-groove rich in melodies and refreshingly strong lyrics.

Frontman Aaron “Orange A.C.” Cosgrove on fluid, husky vocals and sweet, blistering guitar, wrote most everything. He and keyboardist/songwriter Russ King were the core. They’d been the nucleus of Duluth upstarts Crazy Betty before that popular band bit the dust and Cosgrove and King moved to the Twin Cities area, recruiting personnel for The New Congress. Between The New Congress and Anguish, Love & Romance, members stayed, left, some left and came back, with Stokely Williams (drums) and Ricky Kinchen (bass) filling in at gigs as the lineup went through changes.

From the outset, manager Steph Devine, who sang on the band’s L.A.-Music-Award-winning “Make You Move,” would step on stage. Bearing a remarkable resemblance to Bridget Moynihan, and brandishing a velvet voice, Devine infused, to say the least, considerable dimension. TNC essentially were the two guys who started it, impacting the Twin Cities scene as few musicians and performers had done before, moving discs and downloads at a runaway clip, selling tickets to shows like somebody was giving away a Cadillac with an innovatively kick-ass sound. In short, they left their mark.

The New Congress went from 2005 to 2010, aces at their game, and established a compelling presence of singular consequence. R.I.P. TNC.