October 7, 2009

Cory Chisel - Death Won't Send a Letter (2009)

When a song like "Born Again" (mp3) (video) kicks off an album, it does not take much more to get people buzzing. While "Born Again" makes its case as one of the singles of the year, the rest of the tracks dabble less in noticeable pop hooks and more in throwback southern-rock roots, such as on "My Heart Would Be There" (great song) and "What Do You Need," and singer-songwriter folk-rocky acoustic, such as on "Tennessee," "So Wrong for Me," (another great song) "Mockingbird" and "Calm Down." The backing band and vocalists (the full name of the band is "Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons") are excellent throughout, and all the tracks are soulful and make for good listening; however, the overall feeling of the songs following "Born Again" seem to lack the same shoot-for-the-stars ambition and calculation. In fact, I enjoyed the songs not called "Born Again" more when I first heard them live, than when I later listened to the recorded versions. Perhaps the curse of writing a truly fantastically catchy song is that it leaves people wanting, but I think in light of witnessing Chisel's stellar live performance, the songs on the album just seem to be much more subdued and bottled than they needed to be. This is not to say that Death Won't Send a Letter is anything less than commendable, and it certainly adds to my anticipation of what will come next from Mr. Chisel.


Anonymous said...

Cory Chisel is one of the few artists whose music sounds better live. His studio recordings are fine, but the true appeal to Cory Chisel is the live performance. I love the new album and hope for continued success so Cory can at some point in the future put out the obligatory live album.

awmercy said...

I haven't heard the rest of the album yet, but "Born Again" won me over the first time I heard it.