Michael Chorney is a self taught musician, arranger and composer. If you asked me what genre of music he makes, I’d have no idea. All of them? None of them?
He spent years mastering different musical genres in both guitar and baritone sax. He’s played British Isles-inspired folk music, improvisational jazz, soul, rock. And over the years, in his own music, the lines between these genres have gotten really blurry. And that’s how he wants it, an ambiguous audio interface is a fun one, he says. Michael has been the bandleader of some of the most lush, uncategorizable music in this state. Bands like viperHouse, Magic City, Orchid, the So Called Jazz Sextet, and Hollar General.
I talked with him at his house, a renovated goose coop in Lincoln Vermont, and one of the quietest places on earth—or so he says. We talk about his music and growing up in Buffalo and driving to gigs with a blownout muffler. He talks about his collaboration with Anais Mitchell on the 2010 folk opera, Hadestown.
And he sings. You’ll hear a lot of music this hour, some of it from his upcoming album with Hollar General.
The photo here by Jay Sansome. Black and white photo of Michael is by John M Moyers.
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I’m a huge fan of Michael Chorney, and it was so cool to hear this, to get a momentary backstage pass on his life. I can’t understand really how we’re so lucky to have his level of talent in Vermont. Thank you so much for letting me spend an hour with this guy. Tremendous stuff.
This was both a great listen and a wonderful, rewarding peek into the thoughts of one of Vt’s truly great musicians. Really inspiring. Thanks Erica, and thanks Michael for being so open, true and funny.
This is a story that was crying out to be told. Michael Chorney is a deep and supremely talented person and musician and we’re lucky to claim him as a Vermonter. Erica, this piece is such a perfect match–Michael’s voice and vision plus your skill as a storyteller and story-facilitator has yielded a beautiful listen. Many thanks to both of you.
Beautiful music, beautiful human being. Thank you for shedding more light on Michael, his music and where it all comes from. That’s one deep well…..love him.
And I must say the way this interview weaves the story with the songs is one of the best I’ve ever heard about anyone who’s music I love. Thank you.
Really loved this, Erica. Interesting conversation with someone who can feel music. Ggreat questions too. Could you sing along with him? Thank you for doing this…would ‘Michael like to appear in Colorado?
Beautiful, tender, powerful interview of one of my favorite beings.
Thank you Erica for shining the light and bringing it out.
I love your shows.
I’m dumbstruck that music like this comes out of Vermont. Something singular is being captured here. Congratulations to Erica and Michael both for capturing it.
And, of course, the music, damn.
This is a deeply moving and courageous piece. Self-reliance, indeed. Thank you Erica and Michael for sharing this conversation with us.
Erica: Sensitive and insightful as always; perhaps your interviewing abilities are developed as a result of your
experiences as an investigator? And, I admire the tone of your voice and your diction; definitely you were a singer!
Good luck, and keep up the good work!
As a non-musician who stands in awe of musicians and artists in general, I loved this show for the doors you opened allowing a view into Michael’s creative process and for his eloquent descriptions of that process. Also, I trust Michael knows that records are making a comeback, big time, for the very reasons he is putting one out.