Cory Chisel (Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons) exudes a forcefield of palpable anguish. It squeezes through his pores and squinted eyes and lassos ears and bleeding hearts through swaying seranades you’d expect to hear on a back porch next to rocking chairs and whiskey bottles, overlooking vast fields and accompanied by choruses of chirping crickets. Chisel’s voice, beguilingly accurate and smooth as glove leather, slides in like a slightly frayed slip-knot, applying steady and sufficient pressure as it pulls itself with just enough friction over the highs and lows of soulful full-band arrangements, joined by Adriel Harris’ delicate high harmonies.
From Appleton, WI, Chisel, the son of a baptist minister, grew up surrounded by music as a family centerpiece, a hearty form of self-expression and, in a sense, a path to salvation. Loud and clear, the need to sing is written on Chisel. His spirit depends on it. And each song that makes its way forth evokes the experience of a baptism. The pained look that washes over Chisel’s physical being when the music moves him emits waves of catharsis, like he’s had a good and necessary swim through potentially shark-infested, murky waters, only to emerge alive, cleansed and whole.
Album versions of the substantial songs from this awesome live session can be found on Cory Chisel’s recent release, Death Won’t Send A Letter (Black Seal, 9/29/09), which was recorded in Nashville with Joe Chiccarelli at Blackbird Studios with considerable contributions from “Little Jack” Lawrence (The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather), Patrick Keeler (The Raconteurs, The Greenhornes), Carl Broemel (My Morning Jacket) and Brendan Benson (The Raconteurs), who produced a couple of tracks on the record, co-wrote Born Again and with whom Chisel continues to tour.
Listen to the Exclusive Live Tracks (option/click to download):