Young Cory Piatt is currently mandolinist with The Kenny & Amanda Smith Band. He has been playing almost half his 17 years, and has developed a stunning mastery of his instrument in this short time, as evidenced by his debut solo project, Daydreams, on Patuxent Music.
It was only a few years ago that a young Sierra Hull hit the scene, cowing mandolin players 3 and 4 times her age into submission. She was an Adan Steffey disciple, where Cory seems to have been led more by Chris Thile, who was frightening mandolinists as a teen since he hit the late ’90s.
From the opening track, you can tell that this teen is the real deal, displaying a pro’s confidence, a light touch, and a lovely, delicate tone.
Assisting in the rhythm section are Jim Van Cleve and Bryan McDowell on fiddle, Scott Vestal and Cory’s brother Owen Piatt on banjo, Mark Schatz on bass, Jake Stargell on guitar, and Randy Kohrs and Gavin Largent on reso-guitar. Even with such monster pickers surrounding him, Piatt more than holds his own throughout, trading licks with some of the best modern grassers the music can offer without missing a beat.
6 of the Daydream’s 11 tracks were written by Cory, all instrumentals. Each is a strong contribution to the contemporary repertoire, ranging stylistically from fiddle tunes, and Brazilian choro, to new acoustic romps. The only non-Piatt instrumental here is Darol Anger’s brilliant Ride The Wild Turkey, which gives everyone a chance to show off, with some jaw-dropping mandolin work.
As impressive as it is for a 17 year old to play this well, understand that Cory was just 15 when Daydreams was recorded. And the tunes he wrote for the album date back a couple of years before that. Piatt tells us that he had to have surgery on his foot when he was 13, and was bedridden that whole summer recovering. He used that time to come up with these original compositions.
The other 5 tracks are songs, but Cory stays behind his mandolin on the record, content to allow singers like Ronnie Bowman, Keith Garrett, and Brandon Bostic to tackle the vocals. New songs from Chris Harris, Jennifer Strickland, and Craig Market are included, along with a cover of country singer Kevin Denney’s That’s Just Jessie.
Daydream is quite a coming out party for this extremely talented artist, and one hopes to hear much more from Cory Piatt in years to come.
The album is available where ever bluegrass is sold, from Piatt’s web site, and via download from iTunes and Amazon.