Cory Mon & the Starlight Gospel
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Cory Mon & the Starlight Gospel

Orem, Utah, United States | INDIE

Orem, Utah, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Folk

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Jan
14
Cory Mon & the Starlight Gospel @ The Bubble Lounge

Telluride, Colorado, USA

Telluride, Colorado, USA

Jan
13
Cory Mon & the Starlight Gospel @ The Bubble Lounge

Telluride, Colorado, USA

Telluride, Colorado, USA

Oct
14
Cory Mon & the Starlight Gospel @ Velour

Provo, Utah, USA

Provo, Utah, USA

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This band has not uploaded any videos

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CWMA 2011: King Niko, Cory Mon & The Starlight Gospel & The Lindsay Heath Orchestra Page 1
Highlights of 25 local bands, nine live showcases, three finalists and one winner: King Niko.
By City Weekly Staff

In the end, there can be only one ... and the one came from the few. One winner of the City Weekly Music Awards, that is, and becoming that one was no easy task. A small posse of music scenesters nominated more than 100 bands for consideration for City Weekly's annual tribute to the local music scene. That’s a testament to the pervasive talent coming from all corners of the state. That’s also a lot of bands to fit into eight live showcases, so a series of votes and discussions and scheduling jujitsu whittled the list down to 25.
That’s when City Weekly readers took over, voting online and at the showcases for their favorites. Ultimately, three bands were chosen to play the final showcase: Lindsay Heath Orchestra, Cory Mon & the Starlight Gospel and King Niko, with King Niko taking the $2,000 prize at The Complex on Feb. 19.

Contributors: Angela Brown, Chris Brozek, Julianna Clay, Austen Diamond, Corey Fox, Jamie Gadette, Dave Morrissey, Jeanette Moses, Dan Nailen, Gavin Sheehan, Ricky Vigil

Photos by Erik Daenitz

>> Read Some of Our Favorite Things: <<
A few music-related shout-outs from City Weekly writers.

>> 2010's Utah Local Music Releases <<

KING NIKO: CWMA Band of the Year
You might hear the members of King Niko crack jokes through an interview or one of their manically energetic sets and think the quintet is somehow lacking gravity. But rest assured, the boys blending poppy hooks, some punky aggression and their much-relayed desire to “make the girls dance” are serious about their music, and their love of the local music scene.

That infectious good-time spirit no doubt helped the band make it to the final showcase of this year’s City Weekly Music Awards, and ultimately win Band of the Year honors, thanks to the voting fans in attendance.

For the past two years, the young quintet has enjoyed some major highs, like opening for 30 Seconds to Mars and releasing two solid EPs, while continuing to grind away like any relatively new band, working their way up the ladders of various venues.

Talking to singer Ransom Wydner, you get the feeling King Niko wouldn’t have it any other way, even though breaking through on the local scene hasn’t been easy.

“You’ve got to put in your work in the trenches,” Wydner says. “You’ve got to play some shows you don’t necessarily want to play early on. You’ve got to play shows in the middle of the week when you’re not sure anyone’s going to show up. You’ve got to develop relationships with the bands you’re playing with, or with the club owners and promoters. Eventually, if you’re easy to work with and you promote, you’ll be OK.

“We’re not super-popular, but we do our work, try to tell people when we have a show and promote. And if you do that and put on a good show and try hard, you find it easier the next time around to get a better show at that club.”

It’s a strategy that’s clearly worked well so far for the band. And so has delivering songs that get the girls dancing; the combination of the band’s online fan base and motivated fans who showed up for their CWMA final showcase put King Niko over the top, despite the challenge of having their first showcase on the very first night of the CWMAs, at all-ages venue the Avalon Theater.

Now, with the Band of the Year title and cash in hand, King Niko is looking forward to doing some more recording after writing more songs with new keyboardist Reid Laitinen. Benny Moffat, Zachary Sloan and Tim Rawcliffe round out the band.

In the meantime, you just might catch Kink Niko landing a few more weekend gigs instead of those midweek shows. (Dan Nailen)

CWMA DJ Spinoff Winner: FLASH N FLARE
At the 2011 CWMA DJ Spinoff, Flash n Flare (aka Kyle Erickson) was smack-dab in the middle slot of the five performing DJs, and his mix of bombastic beats, familiar pop samples and old-school hip-hop like the Wu-Tang Clan proved to be the most popular with the crowd on hand.

“I’ve always had a tough time describing my style,” Flash n Flare said in an interview just before the spinoff. “When I began spinning, hip-hop was my love and dance music was my mistress. Now, I don’t really know which is which. I love them both; you can hear each of their influences in any of my sets. But I play a lot of styles other than those two. I take great pride in having an eclectic selection of music every set.”

Flash n Flare’s diversity allows him to spin at everything from nightclubs and weddings to restaurants and corporate parties, and he notes that “each situation asks for different styles of music.” Even so, “My favorite stuff will always be an electro beat with some hip-hop laced in. I’m a sucker for it and it always pounds in a club.”

The DJ, who lists A-Trak, Z-Trip and DJ Shadow as inspirations, sees g - City Weekly


How can I say this best? Today's JOTD is Western roots-rock. Yup.

You probably guessed that from the picture posted above, or at least it had you thinking, "What the hell is this?" Well, let's all get out of our comfort zones and enjoy some Cory Mon & The Starlight Gospel! The first time I played this (in the interest of full disclosure -- I flat out blasted it in my house, windows open and everything), my dogs ran upstairs and went straight to their beds. I'm not sure what that means, but hey, I dig the sound of "3 Step." It sort of makes me think of what Crazy Horse would sound like if they went all Western on my ass. See, now you're interested.

Turncoats, the sophomore release from Cory Mon & The Starlight Gospel, is available now. It's dark, it's daring, it's sort of like the soundtrack to the weirdest days of your life. So far, anyway.
- Speakers in Code


Cory Mon & The Starlight Gospel, Turncoats

With a pliable voice that veers from somewhere near The Waterboys’ Mike Scott to Tom Waits’ gravelly croon, Cory Mon is capable of evoking any number of emotions in the listener’s imagination. This 11-song set by one of three top finishers in the 2011 City Weekly Music Awards is remarkably assured; Mon has a definite vision and it’s present in everything from the dusty folk-rock of songs like “Gypsy” and the addictive “3 Step” to the Old West motif of the album’s artwork. “Hold” and “Colors Fade” are both winning ballads, and the harmonica-fueled “Broken Train” is a highlight. Throughout, guitarist Eric Ellsworth proves a worthy partner/foil to bandleader Mon. Turncoats is a strong addition to the band’s catalog. (My Forlorn Wallet)
- City Weekly


Diversity is an admirable quality. It discourages any attempt at pigeonholing while generally making the music more intriguing. So credit Cory Mon & The Starlight Gospel with keeping their listeners guessing. Thankfully, the variation doesn’t detract from the overall experience; while they often veer significantly from track to track, the overall sound isn’t so inconsistent as to appear schizophrenic.Still, Mon’s ambitions do create a roadblock of sorts when it comes to establishing a singular style. In listening to the plucky “Gypsy,” following the swampy growl of “Fever,” one begins to wonder if it’s actually the same group. Likewise, the shadowy blues bent of “Love Come Home” seems a strange way to foreshadow the mellow ooh’s and aaah’s of “Wings.” Fortunately, Mon’s vocal ensures some degree of consistency. His sassy, expressive inflection gives each song its distinctive design and, truth be told, provides the single most compelling element for the album as a whole. A rustic patchwork of sepia-tinged imagery imbues the effort overall, but the “Every Mon” approach occasionally proves a distraction when it comes to establishing a decisive first impression.

As one would expect, repeated listens foster familiarity, and the unlikely segue way between songs proves less jarring over time. Ultimately though, the freewheeling ambitions of Turncoats threaten to betray its initial impact.
--Lee Zimmerman - Amplifier


What is it about the impending arrival of Spring that brings out great new albums? I know Spring is a few weeks away yet, but it seems that great albums are in bloom all over the place. Especially in the folk/rock arena, with artists such as Bobby Long, Lee MacDougall, and Wes Kirkpatrick all releasing albums in recent weeks.

Thankfully, the streak seems to be continuing with Cory Mon & The Starlight Gospel and their release Turncoats, which just came out this week. Evidently it wasn't the easiest project to work on together and there was a bit of turnover in the band lineup while recording. "There was a lot of turmoil," says Cory. "Artistically, it didn't work out, but we're still great friends with everyone."

Like many bands I've reviewed of late, it's tough to pin down just one style for Cory and the band. They bring aspects of folk and Americana traditions while also bringing in bits of country and rock for good measure. And Cory's voice is the constant across all of it, with a sound that reminds me quite a bit of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's lead singer Scotty Morris. The songs on Turncoats run the gamut from the Western-sounding "3 Step" and the Doors-sounding "Gypsy" to the bossa nova beach-party groove of "Dr. Pleasure M.D." and '70s-style guitar groove of "Venus."

Honestly, "3 Step" would be right at home in the soundtrack for a modern Western. (I hear Quentin Tarantino may be working on one and he should definitely give it a listen!) The awesome bass line and sliding guitars give it some serious texture, while it seamlessly slides into a more polished sound with electric-guitar solos in the background. All of this comes along with Cory's voice telling a dark story about fears of turning into something worse: "Catch me clutching to my crime. / Swear I loathe your jealous type. / You crave possession, now I find my own way home, way home."

Then we literally slide (via electric guitar) into "Fever" where Cory growls the lyrics about a guy trapped by the love (perhaps lust) of a woman. "Fever / You're in trouble son / She's your fever." It's his father asking him why in the heck he's being led by the nose. His father's been there too: "You won't catch me trippin' over wise man's robes / But why did you go and let her in?" All the while, there's this amazing bass line and haunting guitars walking the song along.

And then there's "Gypsy," which almost has a Doors-feel with a "People are Strange" similar bass line and mixing up the beats and song styles measure to measure. This one is more upbeat than the first two tracks. It seems as though the person singing was looking for advice and may have been confused by the Gypsy offering hers. As he tries to figure it out, he's playing with ideas. "I think I'll move to Arizona, where it's said the souls are warmer / Tired of all these strangers think they read my mind / Turn around they watch you fall, they watch you fall, they watch..."

The whole album mixes styles and rhythms with amazing ease. In "Dr. Pleasure M.D." it has almost a bossa nova groove that reminded me of a beach party, while "Venus" has a '70's style guitar that would be at home in many films of the era. It's obvious that Cory and the entire band have a wide variety of influences, which they mix and match to meet the needs of a particular song.

Cory Mon & The Starlight Gospel offer a unique blend of musical styles that makes Turncoats a great album. If you're looking for a new Americana band to try, I'd encourage you to pick this one up. It's definitely not your parents' version of Americana! Be sure to check them out on Facebook and MySpace for news and tour information!
- Blogcritics.com


The release date of Cory Mon & The Starlight Gospel’s sophomore album, “Turncoats,” is almost here, finally. “I’ve never been happier,” said Mon, 33, of Orem.

It’s not hard to believe him, after what he has been through. In between the roots-rock band’s 2009 album and this one, his band broke up. And he went broke after putting every dollar into the recording.

In addition, he’s had crushing relationship problems. And he has had to put the rest of his life on hold as he dealt with periodic bouts with depression, an illness that has plagued him since college.

It’s no surprise, then, that Mon readily admits that among the new album’s 11 songs are some of the darkest he’s ever penned.

But happiness comes to the musician when he has a guitar in his hands, prompting a ready smile that curls up in the middle of a wispy ginger beard.

“The best way to get through bad times is to write about it,” he said. “I’ve had ups and downs, and music has helped me deal with depression. It’s a way to harness it.”

Mon was born in Chicago, but moved to Orem when he was about 5. His parents and siblings are in dentistry, and Mon went to Southern Utah University with an idea of following his family’s footsteps.

But it was there that he first struggled with depression, and he turned to the guitar to take his mind off the ominous ideas in his head.

Inspired by Ben Harper, he learned how to play and began writing songs. One thing led to another, and Mon isn’t a dentist.

After serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Arkansas, Mon returned and got married. Eight months later, he got divorced.

But things started to turn around about five years ago, when he found a comrade who has helped him turn introspective acoustic guitar songs into Western-tinged roots rock that swings and swerves.

The comrade was Eric Ellsworth, a Nashville transplant and multi-instrumentalist. Ellsworth had served a Mormon mission in Pocatello, then moved to Utah (where he courted and eventually married a singer in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir).

Mon and Ellsworth found a successful songwriting process. Mon wrote the lyrics and the skeleton of a song, and then turned it over to Ellsworth, who would flesh out the song with robust arrangements. The band was launched in the Provo music scene, playing alongside acts such as Neon Trees, Joshua James, Parlor Hawk and Fictionist. Besides being a musical comrade, Ellsworth became one of Mon’s best friends and understood the darkness of Mon’s lyrics. “The darkness comes from getting older,” Ellsworth said. “[It comes] when you’re 30 and living in Orem. When you’re 30, you’ve had a lot of bad relationships.”

Ellsworth also cheers his friend on when Mon get discouraged and says something like, “I should go work for a corporation and get health care.” (Health care wouldn’t be a bad idea. Mon had open-heart surgery when he was 15 to treat aortic stenosis, a condition in which the aortic valve does not open fully. He has had to postpone further treatment because of lack of funds.)

In 2009, the band released “6 Days in the Devil’s Workshop,” but the musicians are more proud of “Turncoats,” with an album title prompted after two band members left during recording.

Now Mon’s band is a tight foursome, thanks to the addition of Joshua Dunn on bass and Ronnie Strauss on drums.

In the past two years, things have been looking up for the band, having opened for JJ Grey & Mofro, Todd Snider, Derek Trucks, Mavis Staples, Tim Reynolds, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Matt Nathanson and Mike Farris. Most important, Mon won the 2010 Telluride Blues & Brews Festival Acoustic Competition, which led to more Colorado gigs as well as Utah shows.

Darin Piccoli, co-owner of The State Room in Salt Lake City, is also a fan, and has booked Cory Mon & The Starlight Gospel six times in the past year. “I think his music has a cool blend of folky rock-meets-spaghetti Western,” he said.

Corey Fox, owner of the Provo club Velour, was an early fan, and is touting the band’s new album. “This new album finally captures what they are like live,” Fox said. “Their other records don’t do them justice. They’ve really stepped up their game.”

“Turncoats” was recorded in January 2010 and will be released on Tuesday. The cover depicts three of the band members in coffins. Don’t worry. They’re not really dead. Just dark.

dburger@sltrib.com - Salt Lake Tribune


March 1, 2011 sees the release of Cory Mon & The Starlight Gospel's Turncoats, produced, recorded and engineered by Chad Weis (Mason Jennings, Martin Sexton, The Bad Plus, Ben Kweller).

Helmed by singer/songwriter Cory Mon (vocals, keys, harmonica, guitar), The Starlight Gospel features Eric Ellsworth (vocals, keys, harmonica, electric guitar), Joshua Dunn (standup and electric bass), and Ronnie Strauss (drums & percussion).

Written and recorded at Mon's home studio, Turncoats will be released on Mon's own label, My Forlorn Wallet. Given the proliferation of DIY, self-released, self-financed albums with the advent of independent digital distribution through companies such as Bandcamp and CDBaby, Amplifier has asked Mon to give its readers the nitty gritty on the pros and cons of controlling his own destiny.

Amplifier: Why put out your own music on your own label?
Cory Mon: Our own label, My Forlorn Wallet Records, came out of absolute necessity. 1: we retain all the profit (in our current "struggling to be heard and noticed' situation this is absolutely necessary) 2: we play by our own rules, create our own image and create the music we wish to create. And 3: It gives us a professional platform from which to pitch and expose our music to the music industry. In today's world of music it seems that there are less labels looking and, of those labels looking, they have become extremely conservative with the "risks" or bands that they are taking a chance on. It also seems that the "little guy" has more opportunities than in the past. It's still loads and loads of work but an independent, or one's "own" record label, seems to hold a bit more clout these days. But maybe that's just because our music and professional representation of such has improved. ;)

We created My Forlorn Wallet Records (which is essentially a community of musicians, artists and good folks) as a support system. There are a lot of amazing artists and musicians out there that have absolutely no idea as to how to move forward with the business side (much like myself and Wes Kirkpatrick, co-founder My Forlorn Wallet, many years ago) so we created this label to assist one another in the process of not only getting our music out there to radio stations, but also online and to store-fronts.

Q: Are radio and retail (physical CDs) still of major importance to an indie artist?
A: Radio is still golden. Sure, there are many other avenues for finding music, but radio play is still important. Thus the reason we will run a radio campaign for our coming record release...campaigns are spendy and guarantee nothing, but we feel it's still important enough to scrummage up enough money to run a campaign. I believe in the album we just recorded; now we hope some stations latch onto it.

Retail (physical CDs) - personally I love to have the hard copy of a band that I really like. Call me old school, but I love how an album is not only about the music but is a piece of art at the same time. If you see the two records we are releasing in March 2011 under My Forlorn Wallet Records, they are both beautifully packaged. Turncoats is a work of art; our music and the art/photography of Jake Buntjer and Corey Fox. That being said, retail physical distribution seems to have lessened... I remember the days of racks and racks of physical albums. It's rare to find stores that can carry a vast amount of albums and still make money. We have not focused on getting our albums in physical retail stores. There are independent record stores in the cities we have followings in that stock a few of our albums but that is about it. Our physical distribution is weak to say the least. I wish I had more answers here...

Q: Do you have any specific marketing plan?
A: Marketing plan... hmmm. Step 1: Record an album that we are ultra pleased with. Step 2: Hire a great publicist and radio representation. Step 3: Tour, scrape and fight for shows that are most advantageous to finding a true following. Let's be honest we are artists that are still hungry to be seen, heard and represented by the right folks...

Q: How did you go about finding the right publicist and radio rep?
A: Word of mouth. We asked any and every connection we had, gathered a lists and worked our way down the lists with interviews etc. For example, our publicist Monica Hopman at Think Press was recommended to us through Jerry Lima at Monterey International. We have worked with Jerry and Monterey opening for a handful of their bands. We were asking specifically for a publicist that would give us 'personal' attention, one who would fit well with our 'family of artists' concept. Jerry highly recommended Monica and, in the end, after chatting with a handful of publicity companies and agents, we were positive that Monica/Think Press was the right fit.

Q: How much will you tour behind this album?
A: As vague as the answer is: a solid amount of touring. Touring is a tricky one. You have to have clout in - Amplifier Magazine


Muruch
25
Jan
Cory Mon & The Starlight Gospel: Turncoats

Turncoats, the sophomore release by Cory Mon & The Starlight Gospel, will be released March 31st. A fantastic mix of gentle bluegrass instrumentation and simmering Western blues, the album is at times reminiscent of The Felice Brothers.

Strangely, the only true weakness to be found on Turncoats is in lead singer-songwriter Cory Mon’s voice. Though by no means bad, his vocals seem lackluster compared to – and occasionally sound strained keeping up with – the excellent arrangements on the album.

The exception is the song “Colors Fade,” in which Cory gets some welcome grit in his pipes for the verses before belting out the glorious chorus. Why he chose not to display such vocal power in the other songs is inexplicable to me.

Perhaps it’s the production of the album. Songs from Yonder is the Clock, for example, sounded so much better when The Felice Brothers played them live.

Whatever your opinion of Cory’s voice, his songs and his band, The Starlight Gospel, are strong and brilliant enough to make Turncoats an album worth hearing.

The album is not yet available for pre-order, but should be at the links below in the coming months… - Muruch


City Weekly's ad hoc CWMA committee collectively nominated more than 100 Utah bands to be part of the live showcases. After much discussion, a few rounds of voting and some last-second emergency substitutions, we got that list down to the 25 acts participating this year. We think you'll agree they represent some of the best original music being created here in Zion.

>> Get the skinny Dan Nailen's How to CWMA article <<

Friday, Feb. 4, Avalon Theater

CORY MON & THE STARLIGHT GOSPEL, 7 p.m.
From the lyrical depth of his songs to his soon-to-be-released album’s title, Cory Mon is the most honest he’s ever been on his new project, Turn Coats, slated for release in March. “The more and more I write songs, the more and more honest it becomes,” Mon told City Weekly last fall. “This album approaches darkness more than I ever have, but it’s well expressed and balanced.” The resulting tunes are a glimpse into the psyche of this soulful singer, found in the Western-tinged roots-rock extravaganza that is Turn Coats—Mon’s best effort yet. The album’s raw energy is seasoned with experience, yet is youthfully experimental. Mon’s backed by the Starlight Gospel, but their name is deceiving; led by musical prodigy Eric Ellsworth, they’re desert-dwelling rockers, not a church choir. ReverbNation.com/CoryMon (Austen Diamond) - City Weekly - Salt Lake City


City Weekly's ad hoc CWMA committee collectively nominated more than 100 Utah bands to be part of the live showcases. After much discussion, a few rounds of voting and some last-second emergency substitutions, we got that list down to the 25 acts participating this year. We think you'll agree they represent some of the best original music being created here in Zion.

>> Get the skinny Dan Nailen's How to CWMA article <<

Friday, Feb. 4, Avalon Theater

CORY MON & THE STARLIGHT GOSPEL, 7 p.m.
From the lyrical depth of his songs to his soon-to-be-released album’s title, Cory Mon is the most honest he’s ever been on his new project, Turn Coats, slated for release in March. “The more and more I write songs, the more and more honest it becomes,” Mon told City Weekly last fall. “This album approaches darkness more than I ever have, but it’s well expressed and balanced.” The resulting tunes are a glimpse into the psyche of this soulful singer, found in the Western-tinged roots-rock extravaganza that is Turn Coats—Mon’s best effort yet. The album’s raw energy is seasoned with experience, yet is youthfully experimental. Mon’s backed by the Starlight Gospel, but their name is deceiving; led by musical prodigy Eric Ellsworth, they’re desert-dwelling rockers, not a church choir. ReverbNation.com/CoryMon (Austen Diamond) - City Weekly - Salt Lake City


Thursday Jan. 13
Velour’s Fifth Birthday: Cory Mon & The Starlight Gospel
Officially speaking, Cory Mon’s latest collection of roots-rock, Turn Coats, isn’t being released until March. But I’m guessing you’ll get an earful of the new goods at his shows between now and then. Just don’t expect a giant dose of mindless, feel-good pop from this Orem tunesmith. “As a songwriter, you want to write good, catchy, fun tunes—or whatever will make people listen—and I kind of said ‘Fuck it’ on this one and wrote exactly what I wanted to say,” Mon told City Weekly in a recent profile. “Music is so therapeutic for me, I use it to express angers and frustrations that I normally just internalize.” That doesn’t mean the songs on Turn Coats are off-putting. Quite the opposite, in fact; Mon and his band The Starlight Gospel make honesty sound extremely inviting on his new tunes. Holy Water Buffalo, Ferocious Oaks and Gypsy Cab are also on the bill for this, the first night of Velour’s three-night Fifth Anniversary Party; check the Concerts and Clubs listings for Friday and Saturday lineups. Velour, 135 N. University Ave., Provo, 8 p.m., $8 - City Weekly - Salt Lake City


By Austen Diamond
Cory Mon won’t lie to you. Well, at least, his music won’t lie to you.

From the lyrical depth of his songs to his soon-to-be-released album’s title, Mon is the most honest he’s ever been on his new project. “As a songwriter, you want to write good, catchy, fun tunes—or whatever will make people listen—and I kind of said ‘Fuck it’ on this one and wrote exactly what I wanted to say,” says the 31-year-old Orem-based songwriter.

Unlike some balladeers, Mon writes almost entirely from experience. “The more and more I write songs, the more and more honest it becomes,” Mon says. “This album approaches darkness more than I ever have, but it’s well expressed and balanced.”

The resulting tunes are a glimpse into the psyche of this soulful singer, found in the Western-twinged roots-rock extravaganza that is the new Turn Coats—Mon’s best effort yet. The CD won’t be released until March 2011, unless you attend the Dec. 3 pre-launch party.

The album’s raw energy is seasoned with experience, yet is youthfully experimental. This duality shows in his appearance, too. Wearing a tweed blazer and bushy beard, he could pose as a community-college sociology professor, but his eyes have the intensity of a brash, youthful rocker, like he was when he first started.

A down-and-out Southern Utah University student in 1998, Mon picked up guitar to save himself from depression, inspired by the musings of Ben Harper. His goal: to learn a few tunes, and maybe write one, as soul therapy. Progressing along, he’d record tracks on his computer. Unbeknownst to him, they were discovered. “My brother snuck into my computer and burned CDs and gave them to people around town ... if they ever surfaced, I’d be so embarrassed,” laughs Mon. “I know [my brother] has a CD somewhere that he’s holding for blackmail purposes.”

Mon’s friend Greg McGary got one and forced him on some open-mic stages, which Mon says was thrilling. “Music is so therapeutic for me, I use it to express angers and frustrations that I normally just internalize,” Mon says. “I remember the first open-mic experience was like, ‘Holy shit, that felt good.’ It was such a bigger release.” This, you can imagine, might have been felt exponentially when Mon opened four shows for JJ Grey and Mofro earlier this year.

After 12 years and four studio albums, Mon demonstrates his talents with wide-ranging songs and singing styles on the new CD, recorded and engineered in his Orem basement by Chad Weis (tour manager and front-of-house engineer for the likes of Mason Jennings, Martin Sexton and Ben Kweller). Mon’s backed by the Starlight Gospel, but their name is deceiving; led by musical prodigy Eric Ellsworth, they’re desert-dwelling rockers, not a church choir.

The band’s lineup has finally solidified after a period of changes during the production cycle—one reason for the album’s title. Bassist Devin Devore was preparing for law school, so they let him play on only four tracks, Mon says. Devore was replaced by Joshua Dunn. Also, drummer Jacob Skaggs was replaced by Bart Olsen for a few tracks; Ronnie Strauss is the current drummer. “There was a lot of turmoil. Artistically, it didn’t work out, but we’re still great friends with everyone,” Mon says.

Despite the turbulence, Mon and company still produced an album with an easy flow—except for the transition from mellow “Hold” into the cheesy “Dr. Pleasure MD”—and a little grit. The catchiest, most Western-sounding tracks, opener “3 Step” and “Gyspy,” are the album’s stars.

Nearing the album’s end, “Lover Come Home” is the most honest song Mon’s ever written, evolving from another depressed time. “It talks about hurt, deceit, family, friends, questioning God, not questioning God. It’s kind of about everything,” Mon says. “Those are the songs I really enjoy writing, the epic ones. That song captures what I enjoy in music, lyrically and instrumentally.”

Its dynamic waxing, waning and eventual build mirror, as a whole, Cory Mon & The Starlight Gospel.

CORY MON & THE STARLIGHT GOSPEL
w/ Wes Kirkpatrick, Dustin Christensen
The State Room
638 S. State
Friday, Dec. 3, 8 p.m.
$12 advance/$15 day of show - City Weekly - Salt Lake City


Orem native celebrates new DVD with return gig at Velour

Krystin Anderson

Saturday night at Velour Live Music Gallery will mark the return of an original Velour performer -- Orem native Cory Mon.
His band, Cory Mon & the Starlight Gospel, will join three other performing artists in a folk-rock lineup Mon described as well worth watching.

"I've played some great shows," said Mon, whose Saturday show will celebrate the release of his live DVD. "Pound for pound, this is one of the best things you'll ever see in Utah."

Mon made his start in the music industry running the Wasatch Concert Series, a nonprofit series of house shows for touring folk artists, but at the time had never seriously considered making performances of his own.

With the encouragement of his friend Mitch Bingham, who created Thousand Leaves Promotions to help him and other local musicians get their name out, Mon began writing, singing, playing and recording his music.

"From a friend's perspective, he just has a natural ability and desire to touch people's lives for good," Bingham said. "I think that's a key part of his music, and that draws people to him."

Releasing his debut album, "Living with the Ghost," was one of Mon's first steps as a musician. That was followed by the usual dues exacted of starting musicians: performing show after show after show.

"I started playing at Velour and I just kinda kept at it," Mon said. "[I was] trying to turn myself into an actual touring artist, which is really tough."

Justin Huntington, who helped design the cover art for the new DVD and played with Mon until late spring 2007, describes his music as an amalgamation of many styles.

"When people have asked me how to describe it I've said, in a couple words, roots rock and funk," Huntington said. "Cory has a really unique style of playing guitar; it's really percussive."

The other performers featured Saturday include Code Hero, Dave Eaton and Matt Jennings. Code Hero is a Utah County original, Eaton is a favorite local performer in Salt Lake City and Jennings is on tour from his home in Minnesota.

Cory Mon & the Starlight Gospel, for the upcoming show, will include Devin Devore, Eric Ellsworth, Jacob Skaggs and Jeff Stone.

The DVD, normally priced at $15, will be available for $10 at the release show. The audio tracks are encoded on the DVD as mp3s, enabling fans to hear the music by itself when they open the disc on a computer.

Ifyougo:

Cory Mon
Where: Velour Live Music Gallery, 135 N. University Ave., Provo
When: Saturday at 8:30 p.m.
Tickets: $15
Info: 818-2263, www.velourlive.com - The Daily Herald (Provo)


THE GROOVIEW

With lazy days and star-studded nights, summer flies by in the San Juans, especially with the amazing parade of fabulous musical delights drifting through.

Summer nights are action-packed, and if you feel like you’ve been going non-stop, the weekend brings a break from the frenzied pace with a refreshing roots-oriented vibe, plus a good splash of reggae thrown into the mix for good measure.

At the Bubble Lounge, things will heat up on Friday night, when Cory Mon and the Starlight Gospel take the stage. With their soulful, rootsy sound, CM&SG return to Telluride, hot on the heels of their latest release, 6 Days in the Devil’s Workshop, recorded with Chad Weis in his Minneapolis Studio. Weis is known for his work with Mason Jennings and Jack Johnson among others, and Mon says it was a treat to work with him.

“It was a great experience, and we got all kinds of connections in the music biz,” he relays. “Chad most importantly became a really good friend, but he’s also really hooked up. He does sound and is the tour manager for Mason Jennings, so he got us talking to all kinds of people. We’re working on getting on tour with someone larger so that we can ride coat-tails, the typical hope-filled approach, and have some things in the works.”

Indeed, the new CD showcases the far-reaching range of the phenomenal Mon. “There are 14 songs on the new CD, ranging from the full band to a solo track, which is kind of how we like to do it on stage,” he says. “It’s really diverse, with blues and funky gospel to hardcore rock and roll. There’s folky stuff too, so it’s kind of cool. The eclectic mix may drive some people crazy, but we do it all, and this record really captures the feeling of our live shows.”

One of the hot new groups to emerge from Utah’s growing live music scene, Mon says, is the band is playing the Zetroc Music Festival in Cortez this weekend. “We’re really stoked about returning to Telluride, it’s one of my favorite towns. We’d like to make it a regular stop. We’re also playing Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs, then we have a big show at Snowbird with JJ Grey and MOFRO, who are one of our favorite bands.”

With their funky infusion of rootsy rock tinged with soul-laden vocals, Cory Mon amd the Starlight Gospel will bring down the house, Friday night at the Bubble Lounge.... - The Watch - Telluride


Cory Mon & The Starlight Gospel to Shine at Bubble Lounge

by Rebecca Thoreson

Local and regional artists will shine at downtown venues, including Cory Mon & The Starlight Gospel who will shimmer for two shows at the Bubble Lounge, Friday and Saturday nights.

Don't be fooled by the name, this ain't no Sunday morning choir.

“It’s funny, people ask if we’re gospel singers,” laughs Cory Mon. “But we’re all really outdoors-oriented guys. We’re looking to discover that kind of peace which can be found in nature. It’s not based in any religion, but some of our music is about finding yourself, for sure.”

A former backpack rep who has frequented the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in years past, Mon is a well-known Utah singer-songwriter, and the hot young player has put together a smokin’ band that is on the upward spiral.

“I played for years and years solo, and definitely built a regional following that way,” Mon explains. “I’ve been working with Eric Ellsworth for about three years now, he plays keyboards electric guitar and does background vocals. We recently added Jacob Skaggs and Devin Devore, and they’re all great players. After we added Jacob and Devin, people started saying the nation has to hear this music!”

The response has indeed been tremendous to the new configuration, and Mon says the band may have caught a break. “We’ve got two albums out, and we’re getting ready to put out a third with the new guys,” he explains. "Anyhow, we were shopping around to see where we would do the next album, and it’s turned out we came in contact with Chad Weiss out of Minnesota, who is mostly noted for working with Mason Jennings, Jack Johnson and G. Love on his Brushfire label, so we’re going to be recording with a guy who is huge in our genre. It’s kind of serendipity.”

Mon and the Starlight Gospel guys jam out on Mon’s tremendously crafted tunes, and the band gleefully mixes it up, with their funky blend of roots, rock and folk-oriented grooves. Just check out the live DVD Clatter Racket on their myspace page, and you’ll see what the buzz is all about.

Cory Mon & The Starlight Gospel are in for two shows, Friday and Saturday nights at The Bubble Lounge. Be there to watch ’em shine.
- The Watch Newpapers Telluride


Cory Mon's new concert DVD, Clatter Racket, reveals the young face of a musician who's already weathered considerable life experience.

His songwriting and stage presence reflect his travels.
Mon doesn't wearily strum through a song with over-familiar boredom; he performs it every time like he means it -- with the same conviction as the day he wrote it.

In April 2007, Cory Mon & the Starlight Gospel filmed a show at Velour Live Music Gallery in Provo. The DVD, whose nine audio tracks are encoded as MP3s, was released in January 2008. The professionally filmed DVD also has a scene selection.

The concert footage is from one night, which is impressive considering U2 3D (2007) was compiled from five different venues. (Not all bands can finance the luxury of picking-and-choosing from multiple performances, so they have to get it right the first time.)

Clatter Racket features two songs from Mon's previous CD, Living with the Ghost (2005), including "Vibeke," the best song on the new album.

Other noteworthy tunes are "Take Control" and "Touch of Grace," which feature Eric Ellsworth (one of the band's most talented musicians) playing jazz guitar and piano, respectively. Also, "Special Sunday" is one of those songs with catchy, sing-along syllables, reminiscent of a Rusted Root ditty.

Mon told The College Times that pursuing music professionally can be discouraging. "In order to be successful in music, it will take a power far stronger than anything I can muster up myself. It keeps me humble. It keeps me searching," said Mon. "I am a better man/lesser man because I choose music."

Mon also said the most difficult aspect of professional musicianship at this stage in his career is promoting himself.

Cory Mon & the Starlight Gospel comprises five members: Eric Ellsworth (electric guitar and piano, backup vocals); Jacob Skaggs (drums, percussion, backup vocals); Devin Devore (upright and electric basses); Jeff Stone (guitar, backup vocals) and, of course, Cory Mon (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica, dancer, etc.).

The band has played at various universities, colleges, coffee shops, houses and backyards in Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, Nevada, California, Washington, New Hampshire and Vermont.

At Cory Mon's show, be sure to request "The Saddest Song Ever," his obscure masterwork, a song that can be felt, as well as heard.

Clatter Racket costs $10 and is available at Velour Live Music Gallery and at any Cory Mon show. To learn more about Cory Mon & the Starlight Gospel, visit http://www.myspace.com/corymon
Cut-line: Cory Mon (left) bobs and weaves energetically during a performance.

by Jason Pyles
http://media.www.uvcollegetimes.com/media/storage/paper982/news/2008/04/07/Life/Hoping.To.Find.His.Soul.In.A.Song-3305186.shtml - The College Times (UVSC)


Cory Mon's new concert DVD, Clatter Racket, reveals the young face of a musician who's already weathered considerable life experience.

His songwriting and stage presence reflect his travels.
Mon doesn't wearily strum through a song with over-familiar boredom; he performs it every time like he means it -- with the same conviction as the day he wrote it.

In April 2007, Cory Mon & the Starlight Gospel filmed a show at Velour Live Music Gallery in Provo. The DVD, whose nine audio tracks are encoded as MP3s, was released in January 2008. The professionally filmed DVD also has a scene selection.

The concert footage is from one night, which is impressive considering U2 3D (2007) was compiled from five different venues. (Not all bands can finance the luxury of picking-and-choosing from multiple performances, so they have to get it right the first time.)

Clatter Racket features two songs from Mon's previous CD, Living with the Ghost (2005), including "Vibeke," the best song on the new album.

Other noteworthy tunes are "Take Control" and "Touch of Grace," which feature Eric Ellsworth (one of the band's most talented musicians) playing jazz guitar and piano, respectively. Also, "Special Sunday" is one of those songs with catchy, sing-along syllables, reminiscent of a Rusted Root ditty.

Mon told The College Times that pursuing music professionally can be discouraging. "In order to be successful in music, it will take a power far stronger than anything I can muster up myself. It keeps me humble. It keeps me searching," said Mon. "I am a better man/lesser man because I choose music."

Mon also said the most difficult aspect of professional musicianship at this stage in his career is promoting himself.

Cory Mon & the Starlight Gospel comprises five members: Eric Ellsworth (electric guitar and piano, backup vocals); Jacob Skaggs (drums, percussion, backup vocals); Devin Devore (upright and electric basses); Jeff Stone (guitar, backup vocals) and, of course, Cory Mon (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica, dancer, etc.).

The band has played at various universities, colleges, coffee shops, houses and backyards in Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, Nevada, California, Washington, New Hampshire and Vermont.

At Cory Mon's show, be sure to request "The Saddest Song Ever," his obscure masterwork, a song that can be felt, as well as heard.

Clatter Racket costs $10 and is available at Velour Live Music Gallery and at any Cory Mon show. To learn more about Cory Mon & the Starlight Gospel, visit http://www.myspace.com/corymon
Cut-line: Cory Mon (left) bobs and weaves energetically during a performance.

by Jason Pyles
http://media.www.uvcollegetimes.com/media/storage/paper982/news/2008/04/07/Life/Hoping.To.Find.His.Soul.In.A.Song-3305186.shtml - The College Times (UVSC)


Discography

Turn Coats (due: March 2011)
"Six Days In The Devil's Workshop" (LP 2009)
"Cory Mon" (LP 2009)
"Clatter Racket" (Live DVD/CD 2008)
"Living w/ the Ghost" (cory solo LP 2005)

Photos

Bio

From the lyrical depth of his songs to his most recently released album’s title, Mon is the most honest he’s ever been on his new project. “As a songwriter, you want to write good, catchy, fun tunes—or whatever will make people listen—and I kind of said ‘F**k it’ on this one and wrote exactly what I wanted to say,” says Mon.

Unlike some balladeers, Mon writes almost entirely from experience. “The more and more I write songs, the more and more honest it becomes,” Mon says. “This album approaches darkness more than I ever have, but it’s well expressed and balanced.”

The resulting tunes are a glimpse into the psyche of this soulful singer, found in the Western-twinged roots-rock extravaganza that is the new Turn Coats—Mon’s best effort yet. The CD releases March 2011

The album’s raw energy is seasoned with experience, yet is youthfully experimental. This duality shows in his appearance, too. Wearing a tweed blazer and bushy beard, he could pose as a community-college sociology professor, but his eyes have the intensity of a brash, youthful rocker, like he was when he first started.

A down-and-out Southern Utah University student in 1998, Mon picked up guitar to save himself from depression, inspired by the musings of Ben Harper. His goal: to learn a few tunes, and maybe write one, as soul therapy. Progressing along, he’d record tracks on his computer. Unbeknownst to him, they were discovered. “My brother snuck into my computer and burned CDs and gave them to people around town ... if they ever surfaced, I’d be so embarrassed,” laughs Mon. “I know [my brother] has a CD somewhere that he’s holding for blackmail purposes.”

Mon’s friend Greg McGary got one and forced him on some open-mic stages, which Mon says was thrilling. “Music is so therapeutic for me, I use it to express angers and frustrations that I normally just internalize,” Mon says. “I remember the first open-mic experience was like, ‘Holy sh!t, that felt good.’ It was such a bigger release.” This, you can imagine, might have been felt exponentially when Mon opened four shows for JJ Grey and Mofro earlier this year.

After 12 years and four studio albums, Mon demonstrates his talents with wide-ranging songs and singing styles on the new CD, recorded and engineered in his Orem basement by Chad Weis (tour manager and front-of-house engineer for the likes of Mason Jennings, Martin Sexton and Ben Kweller). Mon’s backed by the Starlight Gospel, but their name is deceiving; led by musical prodigy Eric Ellsworth, they’re desert-dwelling rockers, not a church choir.

~~~ Cory Mon has shared the stage with the likes of JJ Grey & Mofro, Todd Snider, Tim Reynolds, Galactic, Derek Trucks, Mavis Staples, Tom Freund, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Matt Nathanson, Sean Hayes, Joshua James, Mike Farris ~~~

***CORY MON*** 2010 Telluride Blues & Brews Festival Acoustic Competition Winner