Posted August 11, 2020 by Jeff in Tunes

Guitarist Cory Wong Finds That Home Is Where His Art Is

Cory Wong
Cory Wong

Minneapolis-born guitarist Cory Wong just released “Bluebird,” a new single from his upcoming album, Trail Songs: Dawn, a follow-up to the quieter Trail Songs: Dusk. The jazz-meets-bluegrass track, which features mandolinist extraordinaire Chris Thile, is available now on all streaming services.

Trail Songs: Dawn, which was made on all acoustic instruments, drops on Aug. 7. 

“I wanted to release two albums over the summer that reflect my personality on acoustic instruments,” Wong says in a press release.

The beginning of lockdown was an emotional time for the guitarist and podcast host who found himself sitting still for the first time in a decade. It was during those circumstances that he wrote and recorded the album.

“The last few years have been a wild ride with Vulfpeck blowing up, and my solo career taking off as well,” says Wong. “It’s been really fun, but it’s been at a constant high-speed pace. In March, when everything went into lockdown, it was the first time in a long time I was able to just clear the calendar for a few months and take a breath. It kind of felt like there were no rules for an artist’s output…in a good sense. Some people needed time to just absorb everything going on, and others needed to express parts of their humanity through music. I am one of those artists who needed to express my feelings through writing and recording music, but more specifically, songs from sequester.”

I’ve never been in one place for this long in the last 10 years. It’s crazy, it’s different, but it’s in some ways exactly what I needed.

Wong says the music he wrote the album became more reflective and contemplative than anything he’s ever written.

“I started by writing tunes on the guitar, and then added layers while mocking up demos,” he says. “And then I sent the demos and scores out to my friends to replace the demo parts. It was really a magical thing to be able to bring some of my friends together to play music from around the world in a time where many of them felt isolated from any sense of community. This music is meant to be taken in and absorbed through the lens of the listener’s self-reflection. Some people dream of taking a trip to the Midwest to find a respite in nature to write. For me, I didn’t need to take a trip. I needed to stop taking trips! The Midwest is home for me, and this album reminded me of that.”


Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at [email protected].