Cory Branan Wants More People at His Dark Americana Party
It's hard to classify the music of Cory Branan. The Nashville-based artist clearly works on a country platform, but casts himself more in the Tom Waits mold of storytelling, using whatever musical form fits the tale. Given the varied sounds found on his latest release, Mutt, his first release in four years, he's not that far off.
http://www.facebook.com/corybranan Cory Branan
We're not ready to crown him the next Waits just yet, but Branan works blues, folk, country, psych, and blue collar rock into the mix, supporting his songs about love, loss, misunderstanding, and bad reputations. He's earned a good dose of critical acclaim, which is nice, but doesn't always fill venues or sell records. Branan says he's not content ("I don't think I'll ever be content") with where his career is, but Mutt shows his determination to make music his way.
Up on the Sun tracked Branan down at his Nashville home to talk about Mutt, songwriting, and his potentially controversial album cover art.
Cory Branan: I released a 7" record a couple years ago, so there were some small things out there, but this is the first full length. I recorded this record two years ago, so it was four year between records, but I did some shopping with it. I wanted to find the right home for it.
So what were you looking for then? There must have been plenty of labels interested in putting this out.
There were a handful, but they were just going to put it out. I needed a hardworking label that would work the label for the life of it instead of just throwing a little bit of attention at it for two months and then put it in the back catalog. Bloodshot works the record until the next one comes out. I like that.
The album has a track called "Ballad of a Bad Man." Is this autobiographical?
It's more about people who won't mind their own business in a small town and getting it wrong. Sort of having a bad reputation and deserving it, but not for the reasons they are saying.
But, is this autobiographical?
Yeah, hell yeah [laughs]. It's about my life in Memphis, which is a small town.
Musically, there's a real country feel to the music, but with aspects of rock, blues, and soul as well. Is there one way you define yourself?
No, not really. I try not to. That's almost the point of it. I think I'm more like someone like Tom Waits who comes from whatever genre or American roots stuff that seems to suit the song. It got to the point that I ended up calling the record Mutt. That's where the title comes from.