The Cornerstones are a trio of musicians local to the Philadelphia, PA region, each different musical artists in their own way, but together create a new sound of acoustic roots music. Will Paynter and Jay Popky are the founding members of Sonoma Sound, but also play with many other bands and musicians. Stacy Weathers plays in multiple bands and is a well-known songwriter in the Philly area. Both Jay and Stacy are familiar to the Philadelphia Folksong Society and Philadelphia Folk Festival. The band is nearly finished recording their debut CD, “Three x Three” featuring three compositions from each Cornerstone!
Tell us about your musical background as The Cornerstones? The Cornerstones are: Will Paynter/bass, Jay Popky/acoustic guitar, Stacy Weathers/banjo, and all three of them providing lead and harmony vocals, and songwriting. The Cornerstones are an acoustic trio which brings together three good friends, musicians, and songwriters who’ve collaborated with each other for many years, combining our unique styles to form a vibe we hope the listener finds at least interesting, but going for something more like infectious, or possibly even captivating. Undoubtedly, our music serves as a guide to the various musical terrains we have explored separately and together. Those include roots, reggae, Americana, country, folk, rock, Latin and world beat sounds, old-time, bluegrass, the blues, jazz, plus others we quite possibly couldn’t identify! But the end product is three friends having a great time hoping whoever is within earshot feels joy and wants more.
What has been your favorite venue or festival to play and why? Stacy and Jay have such deep ties with PFS and are long time camping attendees of the Philly Folk Fest, that has to be our favorite. Both Sonoma Sound and The Cornerstones have performed at fest and Will has become a convert. The fest crowd is unique given its rich almost 60 year history, long standing family traditions of generations of attendance, and the crowds at fest always listen. When you’re musicians with something to say, it gets no better than that.
You have a CD Release show happening at PFS on June 29! What can we expect from the new album and from the release show? I will quote a friend who wrote me after listening to our CD: “You, Will and Stacy having a great time together> It comes through… three unique styles that blend and stand alone, never in conflict, and always in harmony. That cd is a work of art.” I couldn’t believe my friend said this to me because it’s truly what the three of us want. We each bring a different style and mosaic of experiences together and form a sound in which you hear our personal styles but also hear them gel. I know we’re not the only band out there to do this, but, well, we do it too. As for the release show, we are pumped to bring the goods Cornerstones style, and to shore up the night with a “ringer,” we asked our good friends, the incomparable and amazing Kicking Down Doors to join us! They are nothing short of brilliant (and Stacy is a KDD member!) and will help us bring the house down!
Learn more about The Cornerstones here!