Cory Branan has been called one of the best songwriters of our generation. He is a lyrical master, crafting songs that are witty, heartbreaking, sweet, smart, or a combination of any and all of those elements packaged and delivered into a live show full of emotion and punctuated with acoustic guitar work that ranges from melodic finger picking, to a full-on raucous, rattling, delightful rock & roll mess.
Rolling Stone called him a new breed of songwriter, likening him to Conor Oberst and Ryan Adams, and Billboard magazine has called Cory a songwriting prodigy that “gives John Prine a run for the money.”
His storytelling ability is unmatched by any songwriter living today. Screenplays could be written from the vividness of imagery and the characters created in just one 3-minute Cory Branan song. Novels even. I’m not kidding.
Originally from the Memphis area (Southaven, MS to be exact), Cory actually lived in Fayetteville for a brief period before moving to Austin, TX a few years ago.
He has toured the country for 10 years playing everywhere from the smallest dive bar, to performances on David Letterman and Carson Daly.
This weekend, Cory is in town for two shows with longtime friends Lucero at George’s Majestic Lounge. Cory will open the show tonight and will play the afterparty for the Lucero/Big Smith show tomorrow night. We tracked Cory down for an interview and he was nice enough to answer some questions for us.
Fayetteville Flyer: What have you been listening to lately?
Cory Branan: Nothing but Rev. Gary Davis. Tons of it.
FF: The new record is pretty much finished, correct? Where did you record it?
CB: The new record is done and done. I cut it mostly in San Francisco at a studio called Closer with American Music Club drummer/engineer Tim Mooney at the board.
FF: How many songs did you record?
CB: 14 songs and 13 made the cut.
FF: Any idea when the record will come out?
CB: I’m currently shopping for a home.
FF: I’ve seen you dozens of times and no two shows are alike. How has your live show evolved over the years?
CB: Like a petri dish. I guess any changes have occured naturally out of the cardinal necessity of keeping myself amused.
FF: I really enjoyed the show you did here last year with Jon Snodgrass. How was your tour with him?
CB: Jon is my boy. I love that dude. And not just cause we ate horny goat weed together on stage at our last Fayetteville show. The split 12-inch we did for Suburban Home was a highlight of my last year.
FF: You actually lived in Fayetteville for a while. Do you miss anything about this place?
CB: The foliage? The castle? Mainly the folks. I have lots of friends there.
FF: How’s the scene in Austin right now?
CB: Honestly, I barely know. I’m kind of a hermit when I’m off the road, which between the record and touring, wasn’t very often last year. I hear it’s great, but I suspect it’s overrated.
FF: The new Lucero record is quite possibly their horniest yet. (I think it’s great) Would you agree?
CB: I dig that record somethin’ fierce. I got to catch the full horn set at Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest, which was around the same time as Danzig and Of Montreal, and was way proud of those hard workin’ sons of bitches.
FF: I saw some old footage over the holidays of you playing a show with Lucero at the Young Avenue Deli minus Ben Nichols. How’d that come about?
CB: My lawyer says that I have no idea what you are talking about.
FF: It’s Oscar season. Seen any good movies this year? Who’s your pick for best picture?
CB: Avatar, Avatar, Avatar! The experience of it made me feel like I was seven years old … which helped me get through the dialogue.
Click below to hear Survivor Blues (After Hours) by Cory Branan