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Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons

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Biography

Cory Chisel is a rootsy, evocative singer and songwriter whose music reflects a diverse range of influences, including folk, blues, gospel, country, and rock. Chisel was born in 1982 in Appleton, Wisconsin; his father was a Baptist minister and his mother played piano at his services. Chisel's parents didn't approve of pop music, but he grew up on a steady diet of vintage gospel and Johnny Cash, while Cory's uncle was a blues fan who introduced him to the work of John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, and Sonny Boy Williamson, as well as fellow Minnesotan Bob Dylan. Chisel began playing guitar when he was 12, and in junior high, he discovered punk rock, which appealed to the teenager's natural rebelliousness, and his first proper band, Breathing Machine, was formed in 1997. Breathing Machine was a straightforward rock band, but as Chisel's songwriting began to reflect the sounds he grew up with, their sound began to shift, and in 2004, he gave the group a stylistic overhaul and changed the name to The Wandering Sons. The Wandering Sons released their debut album, Again from The Beginning, on the independent Wish List label in 2004. The EP Darken Your Door followed in 2005, and with the release of the album Little Bird in 2006, the group became known as Cory Chisel & the Wandering Sons, reflecting not only Chisel's status as their leader but the fluid nature of their lineup, with Chisel often borrowing musicians from other acts he admired to give the music different flavors. In 2008, Chisel signed with Black Seal Records, a subsidiary of RCA designed to showcase up and coming acts; he promptly released an EP for the label, Cabin Ghosts, a live recording produced by Tony Berg, and in 2009 he traveled to Nashville to cut his first full-length album for the label, Death Won't Send a Letter. Produced by Joe Chiccarelli and featuring Jack Lawrence of the Raconteurs and the Dead Weather, Death Won't Send a Letter also featured keyboard player and vocalist Adriel Harris, who would become Chisel's creative partner in the Wandering Sons. While Death Won't Send a Letter received strong reviews and Chisel was developing a growing audience through touring, RCA soon pulled the plug on Black Seal, and Chisel found himself without a label. In 2011, he also went through a messy divorce, and left Wisconsin for Nashville, where he began spending time with friend and fellow songwriter Brendan Benson. Benson was launching a new record label, Readymade Records, and he not only signed Chisel to a deal but also offered to produce his next album. Recorded at an all-analog studio in Nashville, Old Believers was released in June 2012, and Chisel and his latest group of Wandering Sons set out on tour in support, including a string of dates opening for Norah Jones.

Top Songs

Genre
Years Active:

'00s, '10s

Contemporaries