The High Strung Band burst onto the local music scene in 2013. It was the brainchild of Mark and Alisa Cornwell as an acoustic trio. After a short stint as an acoustic act High Strung began to get interest as a full electric band as their popularity rose. Mark, Alisa, and now full time drummer Rick Pisani decided it was time to fore go acoustic music altogether. Over the next year it became obvious that using part time and fill-in bass players was holding back the band, and Carl Gabel became the permanent bassist and fourth member of High Strung.
High Strung has been performing over 100 dates a year, and continues to focus on classic rock, southern rock, and modern country music. In 2017 the High Strung band released their first original album, “One Time Around.” A year later, in 2018, they debuted their popular video “Angeline.”
The band builds their fan base the old fashioned way; playing well and making sure their fans are appreciated and most importantly considered friends, and even extended family.
Alisa Cornwell has been singing into her hairbrush in front of her mother’s mirror since she could stand. Her love of music only continued to grow with her, and while in grammar school she participated in talent shows, school plays, the choir, as well as playing in the school band. As she matured so did her choice of venues. She began taking advantage of all opportunities to show off her voice, and would sing in the bands of her friends. Following that, she spent 18 years singing in her church choir, in addition to acting as the Cantor.
However, Alisa wanted to better herself, and while her two children, were taking music lessons, Alisa took four years of voice lessons at the Calderon School of Music in East Hanover.
As the years passed, Alisa felt a pull to be back on a more public stage. It is during this time that she joined bands such as Acoustic Grove, A-Side Symphony, and Artanis, spending eight years in the later. In 2013, she and her husband, Mark Cornwell, started The High Strung Band.
In addition, to being the lead vocalist, Alisa is also known as Boss Lady to the other band members. She is the bands manager and booking agent.
Mark Cornwell -Lead guitar, lead vocals. Mark was born a child of the sixties. Raised in an urban area of northern New Jersey. Mark was exposed at a young age, to 70’s RandB and soul music as well as the Rock of the 60’s and & 70’s. Mark joined various rock and metal bands in the early 80’s. In the 90’s Mark made his first serious attempt at original music with metal band Hellvis. The Hellvis debut CD faltered, although it did draw interest from European labels. Deciding to make money playing music, Mark began playing weddings and private events thru various management groups , until an opportunity arose to get back to his Rock roots with The Shots band. The Shots became a very popular and busy local act, that often travelled out of the immediate area to upstate NY, PA, and even Savannah, Georgia. While in The Shots Mark met his soulmate, and soon to be lead singer Alisa. It was clear early on that the two were destined to sing together. Mark’s love for Blues led a failed attempt at a blues band with Alisa on vocals. The music was great at times but personality conflicts within the group led to Mark and Alisa taking Drummer Rick Pisani under their wing and starting High Strung. In Mark’s world music must have Soul, passion and energy or he will flat out refuse to play or sing it. The 2017 release “ One Time Around” by High Strung demonstrates his resolve to never be boring and to never be background music.
Like many of his generation, Rick was inspired to playing music after seeing The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Rick began drum lessons in elementary school, and formed his first band with neighborhood friends. They played their first "gig" at the tender age of 11 years old, a show consisting entirely of Creedence Clearwater Revival covers!
Rick expanded his musical tastes through Middle School & High School, and various incarnations of this first band, Southwind, ventured in to Country Rock, Southern Rock and Blues. This band began playing shows throughout Bergen County, despite being underage to be working at most venues.
Rick was a music major at Jersey City State College where he was exposed to all of the other music genres including Jazz, Classical, World and Chorale music. It was at college that Rick began writing original music as well.
In the 1980's, Rick was a member of East Of Eden, a seven piece horn band, playing venues throughout the Northeast. It was in this band that Rick met bass-player Carl Gable, and together they formed the tight rhythm session that is an integral part of High Strung (nearly 40 years together)!
Drumming influences and inspirations include Ringo Starr, Doug Clifford (CCR), John Bonham, Liberty DeVitto (Billy Joel), Jeff Porcaro, and Carter Beauford (Dave Matthews Band).
Rick has spent a lifetime playing, and appreciating music of all types.
Born and raised in Fort Lee, New Jersey, Rick currently resides in Stillwater, NJ with his girlfriend Deanne, and their 4 dogs, 2 cats, and chickens!
I've had a passion for music for as long as I can remember. At the age of twelve, when three of my classmates, two guitarists and a drummer, asked me to play bass in their band I jumped at the chance. Since I didn't play bass at the time I had to learn on the fly.I've played in a number of successful bands over the years and High Strung is definitely one of my favorites.