Cory Wong continues to deliver as the versatile guitarist has released a new batch of recordings with Trail Songs: Dawn, released on Friday via Roundwood Media. The seven-track album acts as the companion to Trail Songs: Dusk which arrived just last month, and features Wong’s previously shared duet single alongside Chris Thile, “Bluebird”. Mandolinist/Guitarist Sierra Hull and harmonica player Cy Leo also make guest appearances on the instrumental album.
The arrival of Trail Songs: Dawn is the latest accomplishment in what has been a busy year for the talented guitar player known for his funk-inspired playing and a signature sharp Fender Stratocaster tone. The new album marks Wong’s fifth released so far in 2020 following the above-mentioned Trail Songs: Dusk, his Meditations collaboration with Jon Batiste, a Live In Amsterdam concert album alongside the Metropole Orkest, and Elevator Music for an Elevated Mood which arrived way back in January.
The music featured on the past two Trail Songs albums were all conceived back in the spring when Wong found himself in unfamiliar territory off the road indefinitely, with enough new free time to create and write. He explains,
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 the 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.
The music I wrote for this album is nothing like the music I’ve put out before. It’s reflective and contemplative. It’s all acoustic music, recorded on acoustic instruments. I started by writing tunes on the guitar, and then added layers while mocking up demos. 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.
Wong also teamed up with Premier Guitar back in the spring to launch his own Wong Notes podcast series, which hears him talk shop with other notable guitarists including Béla Fleck, John Scofield, Molly Tuttle, Eric Johnson, and more.
Stream Wong’s new acoustic album in full via the Spotify player below.
Cory Wong – Trail Songs: Dawn