Brooklyn resident Greg Cornell finished recording his second LP Come On Home earlier this year and the first taste of it is the single Broken Wings, due out next month. The song features Cornell’s soaring, resonant voice, rich with emotion and riding high on the song’s pedal-steel driven and rolling country-rock vibe.
Cornell and his band The Cornell Brothers have a great bluegrass, country, old-timey and blues sound built on influence both literary (Whitman, Emerson, Thoreau) and musical (John Prine, Gram Parson, Levon Helm, Neil Young, 1970’s bluegrass). He writes stories about regret turning to redemption, and holding onto hope through travail.
Tight three-part harmonies and excellent musicianship (guitar, fiddle, standup bass, percussion) carry the stories along, over mountains and fields, down streams to the ocean. The band recently completed recording their second album, Come On Home, in March 2016 at Brooklyn Recording, with Justin Guip (Bow Thayer, David Bromberg, three Grammy Awards with Levon Helm) doing the engineering and mixing. Cornell’s new songs include stories about immigration, the (in)justice system, The Trail of Tears, betrayal, love, work and, of course, hope.
“My girlfriend Sarah Johnson wrote the chorus. She handed me a slip of paper with four lines on it, and I thought, ‘Wow! That looks like the chorus to a song’. So I filled in the verses with the story of a man who rows and sings every morning on a northern lake; his “holy song” is heard by a white bird in a southern sea, who travels many miles through great hardship to get to him. She arrives, with a broken wing, and he promises to heal and protect her. It’s really about Sarah and me, and all the years we misspent in other relationships, yet we always held out hope. A lot of inspiration also came from the lakes in the Adirondack Mountains of NY State, where I try to spend as much time as possible. They have an almost mystical quality (“black and deep as space”) that is unique.” – Greg Cornell
Cornell’s voice is packed with controlled emotion while his lyrics remind me of the songs that my mother would sing to me as a child. There’s a sweet nostalgia on Come On Home with some fantastic three-part harmonies and amazingly subtle yet brilliant musical pieces.
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