Cory Branan – MUTT [Album Review]

by Woody on May 22, 2012

I first discovered Cory in 2003 through the Lucero song “Tears Don’t Matter Much.” Ben Nichols sang:

Cory Branan’s got an evil streak.
And a way with words that’ll bring you to your knees.

The unique way in which Ben name-checked him made me have to find out more about this guy Cory Branan. And I’m glad that I did.

The first song I heard was called “Skateland South.” Now as a kid growing up in Kansas, our roller skating rink happened to be called Skateland South. I couldn’t believe that somebody could write a song straight out of my childhood. And to top it off, that the song could be so unbelievably great. Ben’s description is spot on. As I dug deeper into Cory’s first album, The Hell You Say, it dug deeper into me.

Between then and now I’ve probably seen Cory play 8-10 shows and been blown away every time. At Schuba’s in Chicago he once avowed he never plays the same song the same way twice. And that’s a good thing. His acoustic stylings are so spastic, yet so methodical. He sounds like a kid who mistook Red Bull for Ritalin, but somehow it works.

Ok, you get it. I’m a fan. So let me just say I couldn’t have been happier when I found out that Cory was joining the Bloodshot Records family. I love the label and couldn’t wait to hear Cory’s debut, MUTT.

The album does not disappoint. It definitely feels more produced and more layered than any of Cory’s earlier work. But that’s not a criticism. Lyrically it’s amazing. The guy is a weapons-grade story teller:

She struggled to read his knuckle tattoos.
Beneath the ring and the scar.
But the left said “Love,”
The right read “True,”
She said please say you got a car.

(~Survivor Blues)

The album is a fun romp. A collection of acoustic pickings (The Corner), rockers (Badman), lap steel beauties (Darken My Door) and more experimental stuff (Hold Me Down). His wit, sarcasm and introspection are on full display on his latest long player. After only a few listens I can foresee this album being in heavy rotation all summer.

Kudos to Bloodshot for securing a talent like Cory Branan. Check out his latest, MUTT, you won’t be disappointed.

Cory Branan – Bad Man

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Buzzman3535 May 22, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I second this review. Cory is great. The Hell you Say is the most unique record you might listen to all year…Haven’t stopped listening to it since it came out in 2001.

Looking forward to getting my hands on Mutt.

His live shows are crazy. Crazy good.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: