Cory Branan plays Tractor Tavern; New album MUTTJune 29, 2012 @ 9:39 pm (Updated: 9:41 pm - 6/29/12 )
Cory Branan is a natural-born storyteller. As with any of his musical and literary pedestal sitters, from John Prine and Leonard Cohen to Raymond Carver and Gabriel Garcia Maruez, his seemingly conversational, painstakingly crafted anecdotes benefit from a hard-eyed stare at hydra-headed experience.
MUTTâ€”Brananâ€™s Bloodshot debutâ€”also bears the marks of his 'American gumbo' heritage: a winding path from nascent guitar shredder in the small, state-line town of Southaven, Mississippi, to fledgling troubadour in Memphisâ€™ lauded underground music scene, and now a Nashville-based itinerant road warrior thrilling Thunderdomes as varied as Warpâ€™s Country Throwdown and Chuck Raganâ€™s Revival Tour. While his music tips its hat to road-map influences from Motown to Mellencamp, the Delta bluesmen to folk pickers of â€˜60s Greenwich Village, the united result is a singular sound spurred on by years spent on tour honing something rare that is altogether its own.
Although each of the 13 songs stands on their own muddy feet, MUTT is a work that gains full appeal from the sum of its eclectic parts. It is a self-dubbed 'choose your own adventure record' that opens with the narrator standing on the eternal corner as the songs proceed to circle the old haunts while attempting to map some way out of the roundabout.
Like each song within it, the perspective Branan brings to MUTT isnâ€™t tidily summarized as either sentimental or harsh. In perhaps the albumâ€™s most thematic track, 'Lily' brings beauty to resignation while proposing how to make peace with the heap of worldly contradictions: 'I guess the best trick is to see the magic once youâ€™ve seen the wires.' The truth is, Branan knows nothing is ever as simple as it seems and MUTT shows the depth, wit, intelligence, dismay, and hilarity that make up the complex pedigree of every life well lived and every story worth telling.
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