cory chisel and the wandering souls Cabin Ghosts EP
  • WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 07, 2009

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So Wisconsin is where the broken hearted go to lick their wounds? That is of course where Justin Vernon famously retreated to in order to sew his soul back together...oh, and he emerged with last year's undeniable masterstroke, Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago in the process. Now it seems the state is handing down another no frills kind of folkie in the immensely talented Cory Chisel. And though he and his Wandering Sons released the Cabin Ghosts EP (Black Seal) several months ago, the mostly heavy heart that pumps through these six songs should do for Chisel what it did for Vernon just over a year ago. Here's hoping, anyway...

Recorded live (mostly) at both his families' cabin and a live concert in his home town, Cabin Ghosts is a straightforward, yet stoic introduction to Chisel and his talented counterparts. Here listeners will find no atmospheric flourishes or haunting production techniques added to stroke the flame that blazes bright and blue inside the caverns of these tunes. Rather, Chisel crafts a true blue batch of acoustic numbers that carry an intimate and personal brand of honest soul and longing upon their backs over the course of the EP. Look to the steady, traveling pounce of "See It My Way" for the kind of drunk, desperate plea that often sends lovesick young men to their own personal mental madhouses. Try and decipher if it's a hopeless hope or Chisel's complete confidence beaming through lines like "Let me back in the boat/let me back in your arms/let me cry to the wind/I know you need me babe, regardless of what you'll say/I know you'll see it my way." I sure can't.

Other highlights of the EP include Chisel's delicate, yet devastating duets with Adriel Harris on both "So Wrong For Me" and "On My Side". "It Won't Be Long" is a peaceful dedication to those people and places responsible for Chisel's mighty inspirations. It's also the perfect song to accompany your next homecoming. And the banjo plucking finale "Home in the Woods" infectiously flirts with gospel throughout its' rousing, sing along choruses.

So, I'd call it another brilliant debut from the great state of Wisconsin. But more than that, Cabin Ghosts real endowment lay in Chisel's absolute ability to draw the listener deep inside the desperate trenches that lurk within the EP. And if by chance I'm wrong...if Chisel hasn't tasted heartache like hot steel slicing through every nerve ending? Well then, he's just very good at creating that empty feeling that always seems to accompany love gone awry. - David Pitz

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