On the last day of recording the new Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons album, Old Believers, Chisel was arrested and thrown in prison for the night. “It was for being in the wrong place at the wrong time and having things that you’re not suppose to have,” the frontman tells Rolling Stone.
While the scenario was “very Bonnie and Clyde,” as he says, it was also a bit ironic. Among the 12 tracks recorded for the new LP, produced by Brendan Benson and due June 26th, is the soulful lead single “I’ve Been Accused.”
Chisel and bandmate Adriel Harris holed up in their newly adopted home of Nashville to create the freewheeling roots rock of Old Believers. Inspired by the rawness of George Harrison and Elvis Costello records and attempting to break free of the over-thinking in his debut LP, 2009’s Death Won’t Send a Letter – “Folk songs ended up sounding like barnburner, rock & roll songs,” admits Chisel – the Midwest-bred guitarist was confined to the retro equipment of the Welcome to 1979 studio. “Everything inside is basically like a time capsule from 1979, even the chairs,” he says. “Instead of having endless options to do hundreds and hundreds of tracks, recording on tape makes for a more satisfying experience to me. It’s like a painter. If a canvas doesn’t have edges, how do you ever know when you’re finished?”
Enter the meticulous work ethic of the Raconteurs’ Brendan Benson, who also co-produced Chisel’s first album. “He really helped me focus,” says Chisel, who heads out on tour with both Murder by Death and Norah Jones this summer. “If I’m not feeling it, I take the day off. He’s one of the first people to really make me feel like the songs that I’m writing were really important and deserve my attention. It became this battle as friends to make each other freak out.”