Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

cover art

Cory Mon and the Starlight Gospel


(My Forlorn Wallet; US: 1 Mar 2011; UK: 1 Mar 2011)

Intermittently fun, if you can tolerate the voice

Cory Mon has a distinctive voice. Sounding something like the unholy love child of Tom Waits, Roy Orbison and Grandpa Walton, Mon sings a twisted form of hillbilly-blues-folk-psychedelia. Oh, and there’s some Ennio Morricone thrown in there too, in the twang-diddley-twang of the guitars. It all sounds something like the soundtrack to a movie that hasn’t been made yet, and probably never will be.

The songs are energetic and entertaining enough when the band comes down on the rock ‘n’ roll side of the spectrum. The band has a sound that sets it apart when Mon takes advantage of it. “3 Step” starts well and just gets better, building layers of twangy guitars and shuffling percussion to a crescendo of screeching both human and instrumental. “Dr Pleasure MD” is equally successful, as a jaunty bed of guitars propels the admittedly silly (but fun) little tune. “Venus”, too, rumbles along with a convincing blend of funk and spiky guitar. But Mon gets in trouble when he pushes his voice—and his shtick—to carry too much of the load, as on the folkie-sounding “Hold” or on “Fever”, which might be better entitled “I Wish I Was the Next Tom Waits”. Note to Cory: You’re not. Another note to Cory: The guys in your band are solid. Take advantage of them.


DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, and, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.

Cory Mon and the Starlight Gospel - "3 Step" (live)
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks

© 1999-2014 All rights reserved.™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.