Cory Chisel and Adriel Harris (of Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons) sang sweet songs at Pianos, their back-of-the-bar folk balladry conjuring something of mid-70s New York. (Perhaps the greatest inhibition to any 70s resemblance is that it costs 1500 dollars to swing a studio in the neighborhood these days. Oh, the times, they are a-changin’.)
Chisel is from Appleton, Wisconsin, but he seemed at home in this Lower East Side setting as he played confidently and made small talk. Adriel’s backing vocals lent the performance a mournful undertone, but it was unclear what was being mourned. The heyday of their sound? Anyway, I suddenly wanted the set to run long.
CoS: How’s the tour going?
Cory Chisel: It’s our third time on the East Coast and it’s going really well. We’re having a lot of fun doing a lot of press. We did The New York Times, a couple radio stations. It’s been great.
CoS: Any memorable shows?
C.C.: We did two really great shows at the Living Room that were definitely a good time. And we actually played in Burlington, Vermont, and I really love that city, so that was really a highlight. We’ve been out for about three months. We did a whole Midwest and West Coast tour, and then came out here.
CoS: Do you find the crowds different here? More standoff-ish, maybe?
C.C.: Extremely [different]. [But] I actually prefer it, if you want to know the truth. I don’t mind there being a little bit of resistance at first. It gives you something to work towards. People in LA are really sweet, but in New York they make you work for it. I kinda like that.
CoS: Where are you from in Wisconsin?
C.C.: Appleton, Wisconsin. It’s about an hour and a half north of Milwaukee, half an hour south of Green Bay.
CoS: The last time I was in Wisconsin the Packers lost to the Giants.
C.C.: [laughs] Yeah, we don’t talk about that shit. We don’t about the Jets either.
CoS: I’m with you on that one. Are there any local bands you’re into, past or present?
C.C.: Well, one of my labelmates is Albert Hammond, Jr. I love his new record. I grew up listening to The Velvet Underground, Patti Smith, and all that kind of shit. I grew up on punk rock music, so New York is the hub of bands I really like.
CoS: Did you start out doing more punky stuff?
C.C.: When I was young, yeah, absolutely. When I was like 13 years old I got into The Clash. That’s what got me started thinking I could make music. In Appleton we had a punk scene. The Midwest is so wholesome, you end up having a lot to get angry about. [laughs]
“Home In The Woods”