Cory Wilkins
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Cory Wilkins

Band Alternative Rock


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"Hometowns CDs Review of Turn Up the Band"

Album Name: Turn Up the Band (2004)

Artist: Cory Wilkins & Blind Pedestrian

Label: self-released

Songs: 1) Turn Up the Band 2) Feels Like Rain 3) Just Another Man 4) Won't You Come My Way (I Said Yeah) 5) Say You�ll Be My Girl

Price/where available: for $7.00

Names of band members on album: Cory Wilkins (guitar, harmonica, vocals), Marty Chiaravalloti (bass), Laura Wilkins (drums), Don Richards (keyboard), Ernie Lemelin (guitar, saxophone)

With a penchant for weighty lyricism, singer/ songwriter Cory Wilkins does rock, country, pop, and blues and holds it together with evocative guitar work. His gruff inflections sound eerily similar to Bruce Springsteen, and behind the solid vocal performance are tight musicianship and catchy tunes.

"Well, they say this world is dyin' / and that everything we're tryin' / is just a drop into that deep blue sea / but tonight, girl, I don't care / I just wanna feel your stare / because the world belongs to you and me." These lines from "Turn Up the Band" showcase Wilkins at his best; he tames a rocker by giving the chorus a folky feel.

Wilkins' skill is accentuated by his fervent strumming, which bolsters the feeling that the band has achieved something with each cut. There are no empty words or acoustic filler. These are well-mastered songs.

"Won't You Come My Way" is a short ballad with a good guitar solo. Though its structure is repetitive, the track is made enjoyable by its country rhythm and bass line.

"Just Another Man" deviates from the lighter tracks: "Battlefield choked up with dust and mud, as we kill our fellow man / Wash each other with our own blood, ain't we don' the best we can?� While the song's stinging rebuke represents the best of Wilkins' songwriting, the forceful instrumental delivery makes the words resound with more poignancy. The driving guitars endure until the final notes of the disc's mellow closer that has Wilkins crooning the line "Say you'll be my girl."

(To hear a sample from "Turn Up The Band," call 619-233-9797, wait for the prompt, then punch in ext. 4424.) - San Diego Weekly Reader

"Views of a Self-Taught Musician"

Views of a self-taught musician

Cory Wilkins learned to play on his own

By Christina Chomut

Rocker Cory Wilkins took some time to talk about his influences, the importance of music theory, his recent move from Florida and the significance of Ray Charles. With two albums under his belt and another coming out this summer, the New Hampshire native is more than the sum of his parts.

Q: Are you a self-taught musician or did you have professional training?

A: Self-taught. My brother had an old, beat up guitar - one of those ones where the strings are about four inches over the fret board (laughter). I kind of stole it from him because he didn�t play that much and I really wanted to learn how to play. He taught me like two or three chords and I used to sit in my room and play them over and over and over again, cause I didn't have a life ... Just kidding. I was playing drums in another band and I got their guitarist to show me a couple of more chords. I had this little tape recorder and I used to sit there and play stuff and record it. Then I would play it back to myself and figure out where I was messing up.

Q: Have you studied music theory at all?

A: I did. When I was a junior in high school I took a music theory class. Thankfully, a lot of the stuff that I learned in that class, like the basic idea behind chord progressions and scales and such, I had already worked through in my head. It was really nice taking a structured class like that because, for one, I understood everything as soon as it was told to me, and, for two, I was able to put names with all the stuff that I already knew. For me, it made me a lot better guitar player because if someone wanted me to play a chord progression and it was in accordance with the number system, it actually made sense.

Q: What was of of the deciding factors for you and your sister to move from Florida, where you had already established a name for yourself, to San Diego?

A: I had some friends that live out there tell me that the music scene in San Diego is pretty competitive, but it's pretty lively too. There is a lot of music and a lot of bands. It takes longer to break into the music scene out here and a lot longer to get the decent gigs. The nice part about Florida was that, since there weren't a lot of bands around and there was a handful of clubs that wanted decent live music, it made it a lot easier for us to play.

Q: Do you find audiences in North County and San Diego to be receptive to your style of music?

A: There aren't a lot of bands around right now who draw from what I draw on. I am still young enough to kind of have the mind set that music can change people and music can get people to think. So, to me, having that powerful sound and starting to work with this band. This band has actually only been together for a couple of months in ins current incarnation. That's another thing about San Diego: The musician turnover is ridiculous. But these guys are really great and really fun - I've never enjoyed playing with a group of people so much. Back to your question. The San Diego audiences are a bit hard to win over. I think because of the constant turnover in band members and inconsistency in music, this has become a problem.
Q: So, what would you consider your musical influences to be?
A: In lyrical and performing, I like to put on a high-energy rock 'n' roll show, so I would have to name [Bruce] Springsteen as one of my largest influences. Also, John Fogerty is an amazing musician and song writer. For performance, Mick Jagger, all the Stones, Kurt Cobain and oh so many more.

Q: Many people would consider any type of physical disability as a handicap. In your particular situation, in terms of having lost your sight, I feel as though this so-called "handicap" catalyzed something that might not have otherwise happened in your life. Would that be a correct assumption?

A: Absolutely. Actually, there is another one of my huge influences, ... Ray Charles ...When you are a blind guy, you don't really have a lot of options. I used to tell people that when I was a little kid I really wanted to be an airline pilot, but they wouldn't let me do it. So, I guess I will settle for the guitar. - Today's Local News; June 2, 2005



WHO: Rock and blues guitarist

AGE: 23

HANGS OUT: I hang out at O'Connell's
quite a bit, the one on Morena. It�s a tiny little bar, but it's lots of fun.
BEST PLACE FOR EATS: You can find me most of the time at Karl Strauss in downtown, they have a late-night happy hour on Saturdays. If I'm not working, I'm there.

LOCAL BANDS YOU LOVE: I don't see local bands as much as I should. But San Diego has a pretty healthy singer-songwriter scene, and it's fun to go see those guys.

"Life's Been Good to Me So Far" by Joe Walsh.

PLAYS: I play Texas Hold 'em online.

CLICKS: I'm legally blind, so Web sites don't do me any good. I do have a computer that talks to me, and there are some computer games that work with screen readers like mine that allow me to play poker with other people.

WATCHES: Sports and the news.
I'm addicted to CNN.

LOVES: All music when it's done well;
going to Padres games.


1. "Born to Run," Bruce Springsteen
2. "Adam Raised a Cane,"
Bruce Springsteen
3. "Land Locked Blues," Bright Eyes
4. "Down on the Corner,"
Creedence Clearwater Revival
5. "Who Will Stop the Rain,"
Creedence Clearwater Revival
6. "You'll Never Make a Saint of Me"
Rolling Stones
7. "Learning to Fly,"
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
8. "Love Me 2 Times," the Doors
9. "Up on Cripple Creek," the Band
10. The entire "Abby Road" album
by the Beatles

HATES: Really cold weather. - San Diego Union Tribune; November 3, 2005


Wilkins' original song repertoire spans 4 albums with an additional 30+ unreleased tracks.

SAN DIEGO SUMMER - Now Available!
Available online at


FREE [single] - 2004

BALLAD OF THE SEA [concept single] - 2004
Licensing opportunity available



Feeling a bit camera shy


Cory Wilkins, singer, songwriter and guitarist, has a powerful, soulful voice and a unique guitar style drawn from his blues and rock roots.

Blind since birth, he has actively pursued music all his life as self-taught drummer, guitarist, and songwriter who began his musical career at 14 years old, playing drums in New Hampshire clubs.

Since then, Wilkins relocated to Southern California where he recorded his most recent album "San Diego Summer," assembled his current band, including his sister, Laura, on drums, and has been performing regularly at top venues throughout San Diego, Orange County, and L.A.

Wilkins has independently released four CD's, most recently "San Diego Summer," which hit the shelves on August 30th, "Turn Up The Band," plus the single "Free," in 2004, and "Brave The Rain," in 2000.

Wilkins has received accolades from representatives of Sony Records and Capitol Records; "This is a band that everybody needs to hear!" says Tom Long of Sony.

The San Diego Weekly Reader says "With a penchant for weighty lyricism, singer/songwriter Cory Wilkins does rock, country, pop, and blues ... behind the solid vocal performance are tight musicianship and catchy tunes."

Recently named one of San Diego's top 5 bands, Wilkins' high energy good old rock and roll shows have people taking notice.



• Nominated for 5 L.A. Music Awards in 2006:
ROCK ALBUM OF THE YEAR, "San Diego Summer"
SINGLE OF THE YEAR, "San Diego Summer"

• Received "excellent" and "superior" reviews from representatives of Sony and Capitol Records at an open audition in Boyton Beach, Florida.

• Voted one of San Diego's Top 5 Bands by San Diego Music Scene.

• Performed at Angel Stadium (CA) for the World Wide Tattoo Tour Inkslinger's Ball.

• Featured in the Humphrey's By the Bay (CA) Indie Limelight concert series.

• The original song "Sorry" appears on No Cover Magazine's Groupies Suck vol. 8 Compilation CD, available at Barnes & Noble and other fine bookstores nationwide .

• Featured on KCLA’s Dirty Dave show for a one hour live interview. Received international and domestic radio airplay, including on KCLA (Los Angeles), WDYN (Rochester, NY), FRSD (San Diego, CA), ISON (Australia),

• 2005 - Played over 200 live shows at many of San Diego's finest original music showcase venues, including The Hard Rock Cafe, 'Canes, Brick By Brick, Dream Street, and The Blvd., as well as at major San Diego events including the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and the Carlsbad Marathon.

• “San Diego Summer” sold 100 copies on it’s release date alone. Since its June 23, 2004 release "Turn Up The Band" has sold over 500 copies at live performances, and sold out at every show in 2004. Six hundred copies of “Brave the Rain” sold at live performances in New Hampshire and Florida from 2000-2002.

• Featured in the San Diego Reader, the San Diego Union Tribune, Today’s Local News (CA), the Coast News (CA), the Courier (NH), the Sarasota Herald Tribune (FL).