Monday, October 16, 2017

Album Review: Cory Branan "Adios" LP

One could say that Cory Branan was Sturgill Simpson before  Sturgill Simpson. At least before Simpson became a recording artist.

Born in Memphis and raised in Mississippi, Branan cut his teeth during the early Outlaw Revival of the late 1990s and early 2000s with contemporaries like Scott H. Biram and Lucero (although yet to reach the same success or notoriety), self-releasing his first album, The Hell You Say, in 2001 before moving to the now defunct MADJACK Records in 2002 (the same path as Lucero) after which  landing at Bloodshot Records (same as Biram).

Branan's work has always towed the fine line between singer/songwriter and outlaw poet; half Waylon Jennings and half Nick Lowe. His earlier songs also see-sawed between heartbreaking and slapstick, such as the song Crush from his 1st album, with the sweet to goofy lyrics "Remember that Halloween when I went as Jimmy Dean? You were a princess, or a gypsy, or... whatever, I was James Dean! and I had a crush on you."

  His newest, Adios, released in April, is more focused, with the sweet and heartbroken Outlaw moments safely separated from the more goofy tracks instead of whipped up together.
Much like Sturgill Simpson, Branan mixes his southern Appalachian sentiment with southern gospel undertones, as evident on the track Imogene, with its blend of acoustic guitars and electric organ.

On Adios, Branan seems to come to terms with his place just outside of the spotlight in the ever increasing popularity of the Outlaw Revival movement regardless of being on the forefront all those years ago.
Then again with this more thought out offering with honest heartbreakers like Equinox and Cold Blue Moonlight, Adios may just deliver him into the light before long.

Cory Branan will be at Zanzabar on 11/4. $10)

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