Prolific funk guitarist and bandleader Cory Wong has released his latest album, Power Station. The fifteen-track collection features collaborations with a long and eclectic list of high-profile guests including Billy Strings, Chromeo, Béla Fleck, Victor Wooten, Sierra Hull, and more.
For the last several weeks, Wong has been releasing songs from Power Station via the second season of his online musical variety series, Cory and the Wongnotes, streaming now on Wong’s YouTube channel. Each of the guest appearances on the album corresponds to a new installment of the variety show, which releases a new episode every Tuesday. Previously released season two episodes include collaborations with Chromeo and Big Wild.
Cory and the Wongtones – Season 2 Trailer
On Power Station, Wong and his core crew ably work this parade of collaborators into their orbit. With a bespoke approach tailored to each artist’s strong suit, Wong meets his guests in neutral ground and gently tugs each one deeper into the wide world of the Wongnotes.
After blasting off with the titular track, a shimmering burst of disco decadence, the funky ride continues with upbeat tunes featuring Big Wild (“Crisis”), Chromeo [“J.A.M. (Just A Minunte)”], Joey Dosik (“First Avenue”), and Lindsay Ell (“Every Time I Look At You”).
“Olympia”, one of three songs on the album without a featured guest, is vintage Cory Wong, its minimalist instrumentation showcasing the band’s skill while allowing sweet, simple melodies to remain in the forefront.
Mark Lettieri brings out some Snarky Puppy-style jazz-fusion inspiration on “Concrete”, Victor Wooten makes certain that “Direct Flyte” thumps harder than the rest of the pack, and Nate Smith‘s inimitable touch on the snare and hi-hat steals the spotlight on “News To Me”. On “Here To Say”, featuring veteran Steely Dan session guitarist Larry Carlton, the Wongnotes provide an appropriately lavish backdrop for Wong and Carlton color in with creative leads.
After a run of ten jazz-funk earworms, Power Station cuts the lights for a stretch of mostly-acoustic, bluegrass-focused songs featuring some of the genre’s best and brightest. While the two Fleck collabs, “Line and Lure” and “Pebbles”, remain within the realm of the traditional, Power Station‘s summits with Billy Strings and Sierra Hull endeavor to throw genre out the window.
Assisted by an active backbeat, the Strings collab, “Road Trip”, struts and bounds along its path, Eddie Barbash shadowing the sunny guitar theme on soprano saxophone. With a breakdown clearly catered to a live guitar showdown, look for this track to fill a similar slot to “Blue Bird” (which initially featured Chris Thile) when guests stop by Cory’s gigs in the future—and we hope one of those guests is you, Billy Strings. The song ends in a wash of enveloping piano, a sound and feel more akin to Wong and Jon Batiste‘s Grammy-nominated Meditations EP than his acoustic Trail Songs LPs.
With Sierra Hull, Wong delivers perhaps the most familiar song on the album, “Over The Mountain”, which the two regularly performed together on tour early this year. Anchored by a traditional melody, the song soon takes off for new heights as the two prodigious musicians push each other in unexplored directions.
“Nostalgia”, the album’s final track, seems to meld the ideas of Power Station‘s two relatively distinct acts. With an upbeat strum pattern lifted by atmospheric textures, the song embraces the warm simplicity of looking back on what was while symbolically opening its arms to whatever might come next.
Cory Wong – Power Station – Full Album
Cory Wong Power Station Tracklist
Crisis (feat. Big Wild)
J. A. M. [Just a Minute] (feat. Chromeo)
First Avenue (feat. Joey Dosik)
Every Time I Look at You (feat. Lindsay Ell)
Concrete (feat. Mark Lettieri)
Direct Flyte (feat. Victor Wooten)
Here to Stay (feat. Larry Carlton)
News To Me (feat. Nate Smith)
Road Trip (feat. Billy Strings)
Over the Mountain (feat. Sierra Hull)
Line and Lure (feat. Béla Fleck)
Pebbles (feat. Béla Fleck)
Cory Wong is currently traveling the world performing an array of live dates including sold-out headline shows, festival sets, and more. North American dates begin tonight, Friday, April 29th, with two very special late-night sets at New Orleans, LA’s Republic NOLA as part of the 9th Annual Nolafunk Series During Jazz Fest. Click below for a full list of confirmed Cory Wong tour dates. For ticketing details and more information, head here.
Cory Wong 2022 Tour Dates
29 – New Orleans, LA – Republic NOLA (9th Annual Nolafunk Series During Jazz Fest – 2 Sets)
7 – Minneapolis, MN – Symphony Ball 2022 Concert & Party: Brilliance †
13 – Richmond, VA – Friday Cheers
28 – Chillicothe, IL – Summer Camp Music Festival *
29 – Petoskey, MI – Great Lakes Center for the Arts
3 – Lorton, VA – Workhouse Arts Center
4 – Oak Hill, WV – Mountain Music Festival *
5 – Lexington, KY – The Burl
24 – Rothbury, MI – Electric Forest Festival *
25 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Bowl Jazz Fest *
29 – Ottawa, Canada – Ottawa Jazz Fest *
30 – Montreal, QB – Jazz Fest @ Club Soda *
1 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall
4 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre **
10 – Rotterdam, NL – North Sea Jazz Festival * ‡
11 – Vienne, FR – Jazz a Vienne 2022 ^ ‡
12 – Madrid, ES – Noches del Botánico * ‡
13 – Umbria, IT – Umbria Jazz * ‡
16 – Pori, FI – Pori Jazz 2022 * ‡
19 – Molde, NO – Moldejazz * ‡
28 – Darrington, WA – Summer Meltdown *
30 – Newport, RI – Newport Jazz *
11 – Telluride, CO – Telluride Jazz Festival *
12 – Telluride, CO – Telluride Jazz Festival *
18 – Phoenix, AZ – Arizona Federal Theatre #
20 – Des Moines, IA – DGPT
27 – Bridgeview, IL – Sacred Rose *
16 – Jeffersonville, VT – DGPT
18 – Paso Robles, CA – Whale Rock Music & Arts Festival *
15 – Charlotte, NC – DGPT
* Festival Performance
† Special Guest Performer with The Minnesota Orchestra
^ w/George Benson
‡ Joined by Special Guest Dave Koz
# w/Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
** w/Blues Traveler