Cory Wong is a rhythm guitarist and music producer from the Twin Cities area. He contributes to numerous musical groups and has worked on several popular TV series such as The Voice. His latest single, “Work It Out” from Cory Wong and The Green Screen Band, has an energetic groove that still maintains a laid-back feel. The first half of the song is primarily focused on vocals, and a rhythm section with accentuating stabs by the brass. Keys add flavor and a poppy element to the mix. The song culminates in a horn section outro with tightly executed licks and runs, supported by a steady pocket. Wong’s music features many top-notch musicians who are masters at their craft, but the music doesn’t ever come across as too musically complex or overplayed. The result is a simply delightful and immersive funk groove.
Cool Hand Luke began in Nashville, TN in 1998 as an emo group, but has since morphed into an alternative/indie project. Cora is a fan-funded effort that is noticeably less piano driven than previous releases, instead giving precedence to drums and bass. The vocals carry most of the melodic workload, while the piano and guitar provide color and texture. Much of the album has an ethereal feel contrasted by genuinely human lyrics. My favorite song, “Taking Chances” begins with a drum and guitar intro, but is quickly hijacked by the bass line several measures in. The lyrics metaphorically use dancing to illustrate stepping out in faith and obedience to God. The album’s instrumentation is dynamic, as several tracks are, such as “Holy Vanguard,” which starts off simple, but swells into something much more complex and intriguing, inversely paralleling the album’s structure as a whole.
—By Caleb Trimmer