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Good grief

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Cory Chisel is a good man.

The Wisconsin native committed to joining fellow folk heavyweights John Fullbright and Tony Lucca (among many others) at Saturday’s “Peace Love and Goodwill” show months ago, but when the tornadoes of May 19 and 20 touched down, the benefit turned its focus to supporting those whose lives were devastated, and Chisel said he is that much more gratified to be coming here.

“We love Oklahoma,” said the current Nashville, Tenn., resident, who was last seen in the metro supporting Iron & Wine in April. “All the things going on lately, you want to extend your hand as far as you can.”

Chisel must be paying it forward after what most would consider his banner year. 2012 saw the release of his biggest album to date, Old Believers, and spots supporting Murder by Death and Norah Jones on tour.

“It’s like taking a master class every time she (Jones) takes the stage,” Chisel said. “You learn so much not only watching her on stage, but off it. It’s literally a moving family and understanding that there’s a sustainable way to live that chaotic way of life.”

Chisel’s travels not only helped him on the logistical side of making his way in music, but also on the creative end.

“The more you experience, the easier it is to articulate what it is you feel,” he said. “The travel, you meet so many characters that embody the things you see in yourself. When you can observe them, you can talk about them better.”

Also aiding in the creation of Old Believers was singer-songwriter, producer and collaborator Brendan Benson (The Raconteurs).

“In addition to being a great friend, he’s also one of the quickest bullshit detectors I’ve ever met,” Chisel said. “He doesn’t have a fake bone in his body, and he’s going to tell it to you straight. It’s beneath him to ignore mistakes even if you’re good friends. At the same time, he’s got an amazing pop sensibility and so much energy. His enthusiasm helps get things done.”

Chisel said he thinks the songs on the album, which has been out for nearly a full year, are his best yet.

“The songs are still holding up live, and there’s new ways to discover them,” he said. “When you put out a record, sometimes you can be excited for songs for two weeks and then be done with them. Then there are the times where you grow to love the songs more as you continue to play them. I’m glad it was the latter for this record.”

Although Chisel has long been more enamored with live performances than with tinkering in the studio, the positive experience with Old Believers has him itching to record again. He hopes to put out another album in the near future.

“I really fell in love with the idea of making records again,” he said. “If your plan isn’t to sell a million records, sometimes it can feel like, ‘What’s the point?’ But there’s an art to making records that I rediscovered that has me excited to make another.”

Hey! Read This:
John Fullbright interview    
Moore will be more: Dispatches from the May 20 tornado   
Tony Lucca interview  

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