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Congress Hotel

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Album Review

When Ernie Halter released his debut, Lo-Fidelity, in 2005, it was obvious that his voice was an extraordinary instrument, but the recording lived up to its name — just Halter's pipes and acoustic guitar, dicey, distant-sounding two-track recording — and it was not yet possible to ascertain just what he had in him. Congress Hotel is more like it. Here the Southern Californian works with a full complement of musicians (including a delicious Hammond organ on most tracks) that expose the range of his smooth, soulful singing. And soul is the key word here: like John Mayer and James Hunter, Halter draws from the best of the classic R&B generation (Stevie Wonder is an especially prominent influence, his phrasing apparent in several of Halter's songs), but there's an equally significant nod to the classic rock of Paul McCartney, Elvis Costello (whose drummer, Pete Thomas, is present here) and Billy Joel in the pop-ish arrangements. Halter is an easygoing sort, not a shouter, and his songs — there's a preponderance of simple declarations of love — don't always say a lot. But his vocal delivery is so convincing, and these tunes so appealing, that it seems like he's saying a lot anyway.

Customer Reviews


More people need to know about this guy, he's so great! His voice is smooth and soulful, and I could listen to it all day. And the instrumentation is also awesome, and actually has personality, unlike a lot of current music. I'd put him up there with John Mayer and Eric Hutchinson - give Ernie a listen!!

The kids got it all!

Soul, great falsetto, fantastic songwriter, great musician. This is my favorite album by him, but he has amazing songs on all his albums. Just get in there and take your pick! Great playing on this album by everyone involved. This kid should be at the top of the game. Get out there and check him out live!


just discovered his music in 2015, and can't believe this is from 2007. if i was listening to vinyl, congress hotel would have been worn out! ernie's music is sweet and soulful. saw him play live; guitar and piano…….and he's funny too!


Born: Inglewood, CA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s

Influenced by some of the legendary names of pop and soul, such as the Beatles, Elton John, Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, and -- oddly -- the Go-Go's, Californian Ernie Halter first began to make waves for himself with the release of his 2005 collection, Lo-Fidelity. The singer and songwriter got his start playing a small -- mostly covers -- coffeehouse gig in 1992, and was able to maintain the difficult position of being a working musician (and closet songwriter) by simply paying his dues, working...
Full Bio
Congress Hotel, Ernie Halter
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Customer Ratings