Covid gave me a lot of good songs, since I had so much time on my hands…but when it came to playing there wasn’t much, had the knock the rust off afterwards…

Corey Wise

Singer/Songwriter, Corey Wise Music

We got on the line with Corey Wise, a native to the area who now calls Nashville home. We talk about early influences, his progression to country music, what the process was like for his latest EP, what’s happening in Nashville, and what’s next for this musician.


Amy Gabay 00:05
We got on the line with Corey Wise, a native of the area who now calls Nashville home. We talked about early influences, his progression to country music, what the process was like for his latest EP, what’s happening in Nashville, and what’s next for this musician. You can find more conversations, food reviews, live music and events on our website I’m Amy.

Brent Hanifl 00:28
I’m Brent.

Amy Gabay 00:29
And this is La Crosse Local.

Corey Wise 01:05
My name is Cory Wise. I was actually born in La Crosse, Wisconsin. And I actually graduated high school up by Upper Michigan. And then I went to college in La Crosse at Western TC. Yeah, I went there and that’s where I kind of started playing music. I was playing a lot of small town bars in the Coulee Region. My dad’s from Arcadia, Wisconsin. And that’s kind of where I got my start just playing for the bare minimum. You know, for tips. Just going out from there.

Brent Hanifl 01:43
Were you always a singer and a guitar player or what? When did that start? Like when was your first instances of you know, being exposed to actually thinking that you could play and sing?

Corey Wise 01:53
I was in high school. And I got this Junior Les Paul guitar, electric. And I started playing like a lot of CCR, a lot of the classic rock type stuff. And that’s kind of where I got my start on guitar. And then, towards the end of high school, I started trying to write my own songs. And they weren’t good by any means. That was basically where I just started, you know, and I wanted to play because, you know, the cliche, like, you know, girls, I mean, playing around the campfire for all your friends and stuff. There’s nothing like it. And then so once I moved down to college, I decided that I wanted to kind of start doing this more and try to make money off of it.

Brent Hanifl 02:40
You reference Creedence, who were some of your musical influences growing up, like what kind of from early age to on?

Corey Wise 02:48
So I kind of went through I mean, just like every kid, I mean, you go through a lot of different phases in music. I grew up listening to everything, you know, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Conway Twitty, you know, all those old guys, both on my mom and dad’s side. And then once I got into, you know, like elementary school, middle school, I was, I was listening to a lot of rap, a lot of like Eminem and stuff. Then I got into the classic rock, kind of from my dad more of, towards the middle of high school, I started getting back into country music. And since then, it’s basically been country, mix them with a little bit of rap I listened to still.

Brent Hanifl 03:27
But so I mean, you know, coming back to country, did it just make sense? I mean, what was there a defining moment in that or is just something that, yeah, you fit that genre, in some ways?

Corey Wise 03:38
Well, just being that I grew up listening to country, and that’s all I knew, you know, from an early childhood, both my mom and my dad listened to it heavily. So it was kind of embedded in me. When I was, like I said, when I was in high school, that was, when I really started to get back into it, just because it was it just seemed natural, you know.

Brent Hanifl 04:02
Digging into your, you know, your latest EP and some of your past writing, and also your social media, just checking out, you know, the different events that you played. It looks like it started in 2014 when you had a full band, or you’d be doing solo all the way up to pre COVID. How was that experience for you, COVID hitting?

Corey Wise 04:22
Man, it’s so funny, um, I just remember them being like, you know, like, two weeks, you know, and then we should be back on track, you know, and it wasn’t much for us artists and stuff, you know, are just like, oh, cool, you know, a little break. And then obviously, it just kind of grew, you know, more and more and then it’s, it started looking like we weren’t going to be doing like live shows for a long time. You know, and so, that’s when I got my first experience on like, zoom. You know, zoom writing, with people you know, over the camera. And then also live, like Facebook Live, Instagram Live, like kind of concerts, I guess. And I put up like my Venmo account so people could you know, pay through that. It was a learning experience. I learned a lot about social media and all this stuff. And it did help me in the long run, because now I know more about it. Yeah, I would say COVID gave me a lot of good songs, because I had so much time on my hands. But when it came to playing, it was like, you know, there wasn’t much. And I think everybody kind of went through that had to knock the rust off afterwards.

Brent Hanifl 05:37
Well, looking at your you know, I think it’s a couple of singles. You know, EP you got a couple songs. Wonder Why, Small Town Talking. Is that what came out of COVID? Or is that, what was the process for that?

Corey Wise 05:48
Wonder Why? Yeah, and they were both written during COVID. Actually, I wrote Wonder Why with Noah Hicks and Colby Willeford, down here in Nashville. And that was like, right in the beginning of COVID. We had gotten together, I think that was my last right in person. Before COVID really hit Small Town Talking was written over zoom with my buddy Anderson Daniels, and he’s from up in the cities in Minneapolis. I was grateful for both of those songs. I think Wonder Why may have been written COVID or not, but Small Town Talk I don’t know if that would have been written if it wasn’t for COVID. You know?

Brent Hanifl 06:45
So what’s happened in Nashville?

Corey Wise 06:47
Well, it’s warm.

Brent Hanifl 06:49

Corey Wise 06:50
It’s great down here. No, a Nashville has been great. I’ve been down here for four and a half years now. And I travel up there a lot to play. You know, since I’ve moved here I’ve released all the music I have out. I think I’ve grown tremendously as a writer and an artist. I always like to say it’s like a city full of best friends that you don’t know yet you know? And because everybody’s kind of doing the same thing. And you go out and you network. And it’s a cool city for sure. I’ve definitely gotten a lot out of Nashville. And I’m kind of doing more of the independent thing, versus trying to get on a label. I have some buddies that do totally independent, and they’re doing great right now, through being able to put out your music, you know, by yourself on streaming platforms versus having to have a label like back in the 90s. Yeah, Nashville is great. And I’ll probably be here for as long as I can see.

Brent Hanifl 07:52
So what’s next for you? What are you excited for? Are you excited for the kind of the loosening of the ability to play and those sort of things? What’s happening?

Corey Wise 07:59
Oh, God, absolutely. I mean, I’ve been playing but like, it’s I haven’t been playing like I used to, you know, I just got out of the studio last week. And we’re doing three songs. And I actually haven’t like announced it or anything yet. But we’re doing three songs. And I’m going to release them probably about two weeks apart as singles. And it’ll be a totally different sound from what I usually do. Because right now, I was kind of trying to figure out my sound, really. And I think I kind of captured that in what I’m doing now. It’s more of a, like an Americana country type thing. Like harmonica fiddle, that kind of stuff more traditional. That’s kind of my roots. So that’s what I’m looking forward to.

Brent Hanifl 08:46
So you kind of referenced, you know, making some pitstops back in the La Crosse County region. Are you going to be doing any shows or hope to do any shows in the area soon?

Corey Wise 08:54
I just booked like a show in Ettrich, Wisconsin, Blair, Wisconsin, and Centerville, Wisconsin. Just like a few bars just doing like an acoustic thing. Kind of like a four day run. That’ll be the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th, I believe, of March. Yes. I’ll be back up there, full band. I got some stuff coming up in La Crosse area this summer. I’m not sure if I can talk about those yet. But, I mean, there’s a few that that’ll be big and I’m excited for.

Brent Hanifl 09:30
So is the full band, is that something that people are from around here that you pull back together? Or is this a crew that you’re gonna bring it on the road?

Corey Wise 09:37
When I do band stuff, I just bring up guys from down here. I have three other dudes and then sometimes a sound guy that I’ll bring up and we’ll pile in the van and we got a trailer, and then we’ll make our way up there. We used to have like, my original band was the Corey Weisenberger Band. And that was we did like river fests. We did Oktoberfest one year, you know, kind of all the festivals in the area. Once I moved down here, I kind of made a decision to totally get rid of that band, and then kind of start something with guys from down here. I’ll be with my guys from down here when we play up there ever.

Brent Hanifl 10:17
Cool. So just kind of following along with you, you know, checking out your Facebook, you’re on Spotify, what’s the best avenue for people to find out more about you?

Corey Wise 10:25
I have a website. It’s And from there, you should be able to access like, my Instagram, you know, like where I’m playing, Facebook. I mean, I guess the best place to see where I’m playing if you’re in that area, I would say my Facebook page, which is Facebook/Corey Wise Country. There I post the most about playing like locally in that area. All my full band shows and everything I post on like Instagram and stuff or on the website you can see where I’m playing.

Amy Gabay 11:06
La Crosse Local Podcast is a production of River Travel Media. Do you have an interview idea you’d like to share with us? Message us on Facebook at La Crosse local. Find out more about us at and you can subscribe to the La Crosse Local Podcast on your favorite podcast app. If you like us, rate us five stars. We appreciate it.


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La Crosse Local is an arts, food, and entertainment podcast and publication for La Crosse County and its surrounding communities.

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