Honest, sometimes a little dark, and riddled with self-deprecating humor – traits that led themselves well to his songs. Songs that, like Cory, are original and unpredictable, prompting one music critic to note that “…he writes serious music without taking himself too seriously, without being afraid to smash a guitar, throw in a line about Miami Vice, or smack his audience in the head every once in awhile – figuratively, of course.” “I never play a song the same way twice,” says Cory. “It’s the only way I’ve found for me to keep the music honest and immediate and, more importantly, to keep my self amused.”
A young Branan played Death Metal before moving on to a Black Sabbath cover band, but it wasn’t until someone handed him a John Prine album that things began to fall into place. Discovering songs with intelligence, humor and edge inspired Cory to strike out with his own unique songwriting style. Aside from “recreational destruction and the lamentations of the women,” Cory’s influences change daily, but could typically include “Henry Miller, Tom Waits, Federico Garcia Lorca, my little brother, Dark Lord Satan, the girl from last Thursday…”
Perhaps finding his inspiration in his perpetually changing world - Branan has called Los Angeles, New York, Nashville the Ozarks and now Austin his home over the last several years - is his strongest asset and the easiest explanation for his reputation as a prolific songwriter. Branan, despite being ‘under the radar,’ has experienced widespread growth in his fan base over the last several years, due in large to his inimitable live show and singular stature as ‘a writer for the next generation.’ His underground reputation is typified by a gesture of the Memphis chapter of NARAS, who presented Cory with the Phillips award for Newcomer of the Year and a nomination for songwriter of the year – all before he’d even released an album.
With immeasurable talent, the freedom to follow his muse and a growing number of devout fans, Cory Branan is poised to attain that which eludes even the most successful musicians, a career marked by longevity. His gift as a song-writer and performer made him a staple of the lauded Memphis music scene and brought him national recognition with the release of his debut album, The Hell You Say. A full page feature in Rolling Stone’s Hot issue, a year’s-top-ten-honor in Billboard magazine and an appearance on the late show with David Letterman represent just a sample of the attention this breakthrough record garnered. Despite the success of The Hell You Say, it took four years for Cory to release 2006’s 12 Songs. Although, as Blender magazine noted, “Branan banked the praise and laid low…12 Songs justifies the sabbatical.” In a music review of the newer album for Playboy, famed music critic and author of It Came From Memphis, Robert Gordon, said it best when he said of Cory, “A new voice emerges to run with the greats.”
Branan just finished his third studio album, recorded primarily with American Music Club’s Tim Mooney at Mooney’s Closer Studio in San Francisco. Expect the release early in 2012.