A NoHo Arts music review of Stevie Cornell’s “Stevie Cornell” album release.
Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros 04/23/2022
Stevie Cornell is a California-based musician who began his music life as an artist back in the East Bay punk scene of the 70s with The Young Adults band – some of the band’s former members went on to form The Dead Kennedys and Wire Train. The ’80s rolled on and Stevie was a founding member of the critically acclaimed San Fransisco Americana group, Movie Stars. Then came touring with John Welsey Harding, Red Meat and a couple of decades of family bliss in Vermont. And now, he’s back and ready to invent himself again with his new release, the aptly named, “Stevie Cornell.”
The album is a bit of a surprise considering his eclectic punk background. Each song a little different from the next, it seems like a musical traveler sending postcards to himself. The songs are gorgeous, pretty, haunting, catchy, fun, deeply personal, immersing the listener is this man’s life and his questions about his life and the world around him.
It’s beautifully produced, poignant in places, stirring in others, romantic and sad. Everything a musician’s heart is, but not sappy at all, not for a minute. Just honest and sweet and heartfelt and very very good. So an old punk brings himself full circle, from touring tough, to family man and back again to thoughtful songwriter, full of stories and philosophical about a life well lived, though far far from over.
Gorgeous production, open and spacious and giving each note and word all the space it needs to mean something. I love this record. And we all need some hope and light and peace, and this is how I felt listening to these lovely, interesting and beautifully written songs.
19 April 2022
by Cody Conard
Stevie Cornell is a singer-songwriter from Santa Rosa, CA whose music roots go back to the 70s when he was a member of the Easy Bay punk group the Young Adults. He’s returned to music after a twenty year hiatus to raise a family, and his new self-titled album Stevie Cornell is the result. Yet this gap doesn’t show at all as the music has all the exciting freshness of a newcomer and all the superb skill of an experienced troubadour.
Cornell’s trajectory somewhat echoes that of Nick Lowe, whose raucous beginnings gradually gave way to a gentler croon subtly influenced by pop of the 50s and early 60s. This is clearest on the opener “If Cryin’ is a Crime” with his fantastic Everly Brothers close harmonies, or on “Whispering Wind,” with its jangly guitars and melancholy Merseybeat swing. With every moment, Cornell brings to these songs a deft touch, a knack for classic pop structure, and a craftsmanship rare in this day and age. He skillfully avoids retro novelty at every turn, and any number of these songs could have been genuine hits for acts like Roy Orbison or Glen Campbell.
Stevie Cornell is in some ways the perfect introduction to an artist, but it also feels like the crowning achievement from an artist who has created a work of art filled with everything he has learned along the way.
Stevie Cornell Finally Awakens From His Rip Van Winkle Act
Darryl Sterdan 4/13/2022
Stevie Cornell reintroduces himself (finally) with his endearingly rootsy, self-titled comeback album — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
A singer-songwriter and multi instrumentalist whose roots go back to the vibrant East Bay punk scene of the 1970s, Cornell captures an unrestrained sense of wonder and hope on his sweetly sincere, llong-overdue new release, maintaining an indomitable musical warmth even as his poignant lyricism couples heartbreak and loss with reflection and acceptance.
“This album release marks my official return to music after a Rip Van Winkle 20 years away,” Cornell says. “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. I produced each track according to its own wishes, and so I’ve ended up with an album that wanders all across the landscape of my entire musical past, which, as you can tell by listening, is a pretty broad piece of geography! I filled the tracks with plenty of ear candy (I play a lot of instruments ) but the songs work just as well when I perform them solo.”
Cornell’s rich musical story begins with ’70s legends The Young Adults, a popular live band who never released any vinyl. Despite being in the middle of the early punk scene, they went against the grain by sporting cheesy leisure suits and long hair, and dared to play slow songs as well as more standard punk anthems like Shut Your Fucking Mouth. The band’s members went on to play in iconic bands like Dead Kennedys and Wire Train.
In the ’80s, Stevie was a founding member of The Movie Stars, a top San Francisco Americana group who released two critically acclaimed albums, but never found commercial success in the exploding grunge era. After a stint on the road with John Wesley Harding in the early ’90s, he played pedal steel with the great retro country band Red Meat before decamping to a tiny village in Vermont to raise a family.
Returning to California after many years, he settled in Santa Rosa, where he is kicking off the second half of his musical career with his eponymous album. His eclectic approach to music is a result of the many twists and turns his journey has taken. But through it all he’s stayed true to the idea that you can say it all in a tight three-minute song.
Listen to Stevie Cornell (the album) below, and find Stevie Cornell (the man) at his website, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Stevie Cornell Releases Superb Self-Titled LP
posted by Randall Radic
NorCal-based singer-songwriter Stevie Cornell recently dropped his self-titled album via Sonoma-Sonic Records.
Stevie shares, “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. I produced each track according to its own wishes, and so I’ve ended up with an album that wanders all across the landscape of my entire musical past, which, as you can tell by listening, is a pretty broad piece of geography! I filled the tracks with plenty of ear candy (I play a lot of instruments) but the songs work just as well when I perform them solo.”
Stevie began his musical career in the East Bay punk scene in the band Young Adults, a popular live band that never released any vinyl. The Young Adults didn’t look like the typical punk outfit, wearing leisure suits and long hair and daring to play slow songs in addition to the standard punk fare. Members of the band went on to the Dead Kennedys and Wire Train.
During the ‘80s, Stevie was one of the founders of the Movie Stars, a San Francisco Americana group, which released two albums. After a brief stint on the road with John Wesley Harding in the early nineties he played pedal steel with the great retro country band Red Meat, before decamping to a tiny village in Vermont to take time off to raise a family. While there he taught guitar to lots of Vermont kids, including a young Noah Kahan, while still writing songs and performing locally.
Now back in California, Stevie lives in Santa Rosa, where he is resuming his musical offerings to the world.
Encompassing a dozen tracks, highlights on the album include “If Crying Is a Crime,” a bluesy, country-flavored tune rife with drawling guitars and Stevie’s delicious vocals. For some reason, the song conjures up suggestions of The Everly Brothers, smooth and soulful.
“Black Hole In My Heart” rolls out on dark, bluesy colors as Stevie’s aching voice narrates the pain of lost love. A dazzling guitar solo gives the tune luxurious sad hues. “Whispering Wind” travels on jangly guitars, followed by descending to a bass-filled melody. When the gleaming guitars enter again, the tune sits somewhere between The Eagles and The Byrds.
A personal favorite, “Over Too Soon,” pushes out low-slung, country savors as Stevie’s creamy voice imbues the lyrics with tender warmth.
Stevie Cornell has it going on! His self-titled album features dreamy country textures, cashmere rhythms, and Stevie’s velvety voice.