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This ‘Act of Congress’ can serenade you with catchy pop music

We’re talking bluegrass meets Bruno Mars, not ‘Schoolhouse Rock’

No, “Act of Congress” does not cover “Schoolhouse Rock.” (Courtesy Chris Griffin)
No, “Act of Congress” does not cover “Schoolhouse Rock.” (Courtesy Chris Griffin)

When Chris Griffin and Adam Wright decided to form their band over a decade ago, they called it “Act of Congress.”

The name stuck. Four albums and two new members later (bass player Tim Carroll and fiddler Connie Skellie joined along the way), they still get asked what it means.

It’s the kind of moniker wonky Washington could appreciate. (I mean, it caught our attention.) But Griffin says it’s not inspired by any particular legislative moment or a passion for “Schoolhouse Rock.”

“Congress” can mean “coitus” too, but that’s not the case here — though the band does play weddings.

Instead, the story behind the name comes down to something mundane: scheduling. The musicians knew that wrangling everyone for practice would be so hard, it would take an “act of Congress.”

And that’s pretty much it. “If we knew we would be together this long, we would’ve changed the name,” Griffin laughed Wednesday morning over the phone.

He was in the middle of band practice, which for them means combining bluegrass, folk and pop into tight acoustic arrangements. They write their own songs, but they’re also master cover artists. (In a frenetic video montage of their wedding staples, they hop from James Brown to “Wagon Wheel” to Britney Spears’ “Toxic” without missing a beat.)

While the band is based in Birmingham, Alabama, there are one or two Washington connections.

They’ve been part of the State Department’s cultural diplomacy program, traveling to Thailand, Bali and Saudi Arabia. 

They performed in front of Sen. Dick Durbin once, and Alabama Rep. Robert Aderholt follows them on Instagram. 

And they add one more (unintentional) wrinkle to a dispute over acronyms. Their name sometimes gets shortened to AOC — which is also what people call both the Architect of the Capitol and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“Your wedding will be more than awesome if AOC is there,” reads a review on Wedding Wire. (Yes, this again.)

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