Cory Chisel at Canopy Club

Music has always been a part of Cory Chisel’s life. Even at a young age, he was performing in front of audiences.
“My dad was a minister and my mom played piano in the church,” Chisel said. “My sister and I were the singers in the group. We started performing in front of the church really young.”
Chisel has come a long way since then, though. Currently, he is the leader of Cory Chisel & the Wandering Sons, a group adept at recalling the best parts of roots-rock and soul music.
The band recently released their first EP for Black Seal Records, entitled Cabin Ghosts. A full-length is expected sometime next year.
Still, this project, or at least current incarnation of Chisel, started as a sort of secret when he was still playing punk rock as a teenager.
“A lot of the songs I kept secret in times of playing in punk rock bands were more intimate songs,” Chisel explained. “I got a certain amount of rage and anger out in (punk rock), and I still love that kind of music, I showed them to a few friends, and they felt that as much as the other music I was doing.”
Chisel said he kept these kinds of songs a secret because of insecurity, and not thinking it was right to be writing in that way.
“When you’re younger, with being angry and the posturing that goes on, it’s kind of hard to delve into parts of your psyche. It would be exposing,” he said. “Once I realized the strength involved with that and how much it actually meant to folks that slowly but surely developed stamina to let it out.”
He did learn to accept it, which eventually led to the formation of The Wandering Sons, which back him on tour and on record.
Right now, the band is all about touring (the band will still not be hitting the studio for some time), and Chisel said that it is really what he and the band wants to do.
“I think a lot of people love to play music, like it feels good to play music, but I think it has to be a vendetta of some sorts,” he said. “It’s the thing that keeps you sane and right.”
Chisel said in the wake of the hard economic times, it has made for smaller shows, including a recent stop at the Canopy Club in Urbana, but he doesn’t necessarily see that in a bad light.
“We’re definitely seeing the wayfaring fans, but they are making for some really nice shows,” he said. “People that spare $10 think the music is really valuable to them while their pocketbook is hurting. They may be smaller, but it’s becoming more intimate.”
There are a lot of singer/songwriters out there, and while Chisel said he does not always realize how big the pool is, he said he knows what it takes to stand out.
“I think it’s always about whether or not the songs are good or bad,” he said. “If someone’s got really good songs, it doesn’t matter if there are 8,000 heavy metal bands, there is always going to be a need for another heavy metal band if they are writing great songs. People want to connect to something and music that represents them.”

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