Attempting to create his own Americana stew—little bit of Springsteen, dash of Petty, sprinkle of Dylan, etc.—Cory Chisel & The Wandering Sons’ first full-length is an anthemic album with exuberant, soulful delivery of arena rock from another era. You know, the kind with endlessly repeating choruses that hook you via brute force.
And it’s a hell of a try. A page full of names (including Brendan Benson and “Little Jack” Lawrence of the Raconteurs and White Stripes producer Joe Chiccarelli—Chisel’s degrees of separation to Jack White are almost non-existent) contain Chisel’s “Wandering Sons,” with many of the musicians only appearing on a handful of tracks. This is clearly Chisel’s project, but he’s had quite a bit of help.
But Death Won’t Send A Letter is perilously indistinguishable from its spicy forbearers—particularly when Chisel’s vocal style echoes Tom Petty to a fault—and as such doesn’t generate classics individual enough to truly be the next great Americana hope it hopes to be.