Times change and some artists get stuck in their beginnings, others move on. Both can work in their favor, at other times, getting stuck in the old can be a curse.
California singer-songwriter Stevie Cornell took a solid break of some twenty years or so, and then decided to move on. He started out as a part of the East Bay punk scene of the 1970s, with a band that never released even a single.
Then, in the ’80s, he decided to move on and play some roots music, with Movie Stars, who released two favorably received albums. Then came another break, and now with his self-titled album, Cornell is back, and it seems that roots and Americana have stuck with him.
Yet, that is not the only thing that inspires Cornell these days. Stylistically, Cornell seems to be all over the place from tinges of soul (the opener “If Cryin’ is a Crime”) to jazz undertones of “Sailboat.” Still, that roots background runs throughout the album with some subtle arrangements, and it seems that his punk beginnings are nowhere to be heard.
Maybe that is for the best because subtlety seems to work quite well for Cornell here. As he puts it, “This album release marks my official return to music after a Rip Van Winkle twenty years away! Styles have changed, and I’ve changed too, but I’m still all about the song. Rather than rely on loops and beats, I wrote all of these songs on paper at a real piano, like some old guy in a tiny Brill Building office full of heartache and cigarette smoke.”
The results go beyond just unassuming roots-pop, as Cornell’s songwriting is full-bodied and quite catchy, suiting his vocals the way it should. One for the upcoming summer days and a lot of cold drinks around.
Stevie Cornell – ‘Stevie Cornell’ Review
After a break of some twenty years, Stevie Cornell comes back to music with some enjoyable, subtle roots pop.