It’s been five year’s since Cory Chisel released his last album (2012’s Old Believers). He’ll break that hiatus on August 4th with the release of Tell Me True, produced by Dan Knobler (Feist, Rodney Crowell). Today Chisel shares the first track of his new album featuring longtime partner Adriel Denae- “Songbird” can be heard here. “Tell Me True is full of moments that rest on the strength of their voices and thoughtful lyricism over complex orchestration.” You can pre-rder Tell Me True today via iTunes and Apple Music. Tell Me True was recorded at Chisel’s own Refuge Foundation For the Arts- a 33,000 square-foot, 80 year old monastery and artist retreat that houses a recording studio, 50+ bedrooms, performance spaces and even a radio station in his hometown of Appleton, Wisconsin. Chisel will perform a record release show in Appleton on Friday, August 4th at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. Tickets start at $29 and can be purchased at www.refugearts.org/tickets/
Although it seemed like a long break in Chisel’s recording career, he was anything but quiet. Chisel and Denae had relocated to Nashville after making both Old Believers and Chisel’s full-length debut Death Won’t Send A Letter there (RCA) there. His time in Tennessee was fruitful, he wrote songs for Roseanne Cash and the title track to Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell’s The Traveling Kind earned Chisel a 2015 GRAMMY nomination. He also started a Country supergroup of sorts- Traveller – with Robert Ellis and Jonny Fritz. Traveller has recorded a forthcoming record and have been playing shows and festivals around the country. Meanwhile Denae wrote and record her solo debut record produced by Norah Jones (forthcoming).
But Chisel didn’t forget about the town that raised him – Appleton, Wisconsin. Chisel’s long love affair with his hometown is well documented in his songs and interviews. So he decided to begin a festival there in 2013. Mile of Music is now in its 5th year, or “Mile 5,” and attracted 60,000 people over the course of the weekend last year. The festival is cover-free and takes place in 70 venues across the city with more than 900 live performance Chisel’s album release will coincide with the festival weekend.
It was Chisel’s return to Appleton that led him to a strange and once-in-a-lifetime offer: to become the steward of an 80 year-old monastery on the outskirts of town. The place was situated on 10 acres along the riverfront. It had 55+ bedrooms, a commercial kitchen, groves of fruit trees and a massive chapel with top notch acoustics. To Cory, the possibilities were endless. He returned to Appleton to move in to what he has now named The Refuge. In his short time as steward he has built a recording studio, started an artist-in-residence program, moved the local radio station into the building and raised enough money to create an endowment that would help artists record and release records free of the burden of debt that so many musicians must take on. It was here that Chisel and Denae recorded Tell Me True – in the chapel of The Refuge that they had built.