With a mixture of folk, bluegrass, rock, and R&B, Corey Hart has a musical talent that is unique and memorable. Hart now lives in Madison with his family, but is originally from Milwaukee. At a young age, Hart knew music would be a big part in his life. After attending University of Wisconsin-Madison, Hart went on to Berklee School of Music for a short period of time but became too eager to pursue his music and left. Hart traveled, and with his experiences, he was able to write songs with vivid details and stories.
Hart’s music is filled with energy, yet his vocals and use of banjos and fiddles give off a melodious vibe. His unique style won him Madison, WI Songwriter of the Year in 2007, which gave him recording time. Hart has so far recorded two albums: “Words Like Wildfire” released in May 2007 and a five-song EP “Winter Bones” released March 2011. He also lived in North Carolina and recorded “Wooden Houses” in July 2009 with musician Danny Johnson. His album “Winter Bones” earned him best male vocalist and best Folk/American album awards at 2012’s MAMAs. He was also nominated for best vocalist that year. Hart is still writing songs and performing across Wisconsin.
Maximum Ink: Who were some of your earliest influences?
Hart: Growing up in Milwaukee, I was a huge Willy Porter fan. I still am. I can’t wait to catch his show at the Shitty Barn this season. When I was really young, I remember my family listening to a lot of Paul Simon and James Taylor. The first concert that I ever attended was Paul Simon’s Rhythm of the Saints tour. That made a strong impression on me.
MI: What is your favorite part about recording an album?
Hart: I love the sense of focus and intensity it brings to the material. I enjoy figuring out arrangements and instrumentation. It’s also a lot of fun to make music in a space that is designed to make music sound good.
MI: With two MAMAs for “Winter Bones”, what do you think made this album so special?
Hart: I’m not sure that it was any more special than any of the other albums that came out that year, but I had a lot of fun making it. It was recorded very quickly, with most of the tracking done live. I think that gives the recordings a unique kind of energy. I was also lucky enough to have some really great players on that record.
MI: What are your plans for the rest of the summer?
Hart: As far as music, I have a couple full band shows (Shitty Barn on Aug 6 and Atwood Fest on July 26) as well as several solo acoustic shows (Paoli Schoolhouse on July 19th and Crescendo on Aug 23). I am also playing in Whitney Mann’s band, and we have some shows coming up (Catfish River Music Festival in Stoughton on July 6). When I’m not playing music, I’m usually hanging out with my family; going to farmers market, playing outside, gardening, and tending to the chickens.
MI: Where is your favorite place to perform?
Hart: Shitty Barn. Hands down. That place is pure magic. The Majestic, High Noon Saloon, and Cafe Carpe are all fantastic too.
MI: Madison clearly loves your music, how does it feel to have such a large fan base in your hometown?
Hart: It’s very humbling to have people pay their hard earned money to come see a show. I still wish more people in Madison knew just how good some of the local music is. There are some talented folks in this town.
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