By: Samuel Abrahms
Ames247 Staff Writer
I’d love to tell you a long tale about how I first heard Cory Branan years ago before he hit it big, but I just can’t. Truth is, I randomly stumbled across his music this week. Until the debut of Mutt, he was relatively unknown — to me at least.
Branan has received praise from Rolling Stone, GQ and Billboard. If that doesn’t impress you, he also performed on “Late Night with David Letterman.” During one of his live concerts in Chicago, Branan revealed that he never plays the same song the same way twice. I find that awesome, and I think it puts Branan in a genre of his own.
His unique style can be considered a unification of country, folk-rock and indie influences. He changes tempo on a dime and has the power to create sounds that are utterly amazing. Some say he has the voice of a Ryan Adams (also signed to Bloodshot Records) or Pete Yorn. Personally, I can’t quite put my finger on him. Maybe I hear a little Springsteen in there? Either way, I find myself intrigued.
The album itself is an enjoyable ride. “The Corner,” the opening track, carries a transcending, relaxing energy. It is by far the most tranquil song of the project. “Yesterday (Circa Summer ’80 Sumthin)” is a time machine back to a simpler time as Branan reminisces about the good ole days — back when the air smelled of summer and Mellancamp songs floated through the breeze. “Survivor Blues,” with its rolling production, and “Hold Me Down,” with its charming imagery, are perfect examples of his story-telling abilities.
Branan confides, “I still remember every word you said like I always said I would.”
This man can sure tell a story which further sets him apart from other artists. But, story-telling aside, the album reveals that Branan is at the point in his life where he just has to kick back and spill his mind onto paper. As a result, broken relationships, sarcastic adventures, and lingering pains come to fruition.
Bloodshot Records describes Cory as possessing “a unique performance style that enables him to gravelly sing a coy double entendre in one ear of the audience, while yelling the most beautiful love song into the other.”
With that said, Mutt is a refreshing break from the usual garbled mix of the mainstream. Don’t doubt that Branan’s measured, rasping voice is a solid accompaniment to those who find themselves thinking about life’s ephemeral moments that can never be relived again.