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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Check out the Wandering Sons

You heard it here first – the next Wandering Sons album is going to be a monster.

The Appleton band has been hard at work in a studio in Rockford, Ill., for the past six months working on "Little Bird," its first full-length release as the Wandering Sons. (The band previously recorded under its former name, Breathing Machine.)

Just as 2005's "Darken Your Door" EP was a quantum leap forward from the band's previous records, five new songs played for me this week by singer/songwriter Cory Chisel show the Sons continuing to grow by leaps and bounds. On standout tracks like the Sam Cooke-style soul ballad "Gettin' By" and the lovely folk shuffle "In the Spring," they transcend their obvious influences (Bob Dylan and Tom Waits, to name a couple) to create an indelible musical identity all their own.

The songs, in a word, are awesome.

Working on "Little Bird" has been a rewarding experience for Chisel, who hopes to distribute the CD locally at shows by the end of July while the band shops it around to record labels for national release. Chisel, guitarist Dan McMahon and bassist Rick Setser have been joined in the studio by an all-star cast of musicians, including Cheap Trick drummer Bun E. Carlos, percussionist Devon Evans (a sideman for Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff) and keyboardist Augie Meyers (of the Texas Tornadoes, and a co-conspirator with Dylan and Waits).

Carlos joined the fold because of the band's relationship with manager and producer Miles Nielsen, son of Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen. Both father and son have taken a strong interest in the Sons. (Nielsen wore a Wandering Sons T-shirt during Cheap Trick's appearance on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" Tuesday.)

Meyers, who lent his distinctive organ to Dylan's "Time Out of Mind" and "Love and Theft" albums, came aboard after Bob's nephew Luke Zimmerman slipped Chisel the man's cell phone number. (Guess it helps to know people.) Meyers is all over the new album, also playing piano and accordion, among other instruments. "Hang Your Head Down," another terrific new Sons tune, sounds like a "Time Out of Mind" outtake thanks in part to his spooky tinkling.

If all of this isn't enough to get you excited, Chisel hinted the studio band might join the Sons on a tour. Can you say special homecoming show? I know I can.

In the meantime, Chisel is trying to keep the band's heady studio experience in perspective. "I hope it's not a once in a lifetime thing," he said. "But I'm trying to soak it up like it might be."

Once in a lifetime? Sounds like it's just the beginning to me.

Learn more about the Sons and check out songs here.


Blogger mark said...

right on. new music is an addiction

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

o/k, simple, wondering sons is the next thing that the
youths coming up now will have to stop and listen
take heed for truly this is art in it,s entirety......Devon Evans.
and for the writer.... there was no sideman for the wailers.

8:05 PM  

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