When: Sun., Aug. 11 2013
CORY BRANAN No other label benefitted more from, or tied its fortunes tighter to, the country rock resurgence of the late ’90s than Chicago’s Bloodshot Records. With everybody from Alejandro Escovedo, Neko Case, the Sadies, Jon Langford, Bobby Bare Jr., Robbie Fulks, the Old 97’s and Ryan Adams dropping by for an LP or two, Bloodshot earned its rep as the home of Outsider twang. The turn of the century, however, found most of those bands and artists heading off to greener-dollar pastures, and the label has struggled to fill those considerable musical shoes and retain an identity since then — which is where this Nashville-via-Memphis-via-Mississippi storyteller comes in. Taking the title of his 2012 Bloodshot debut, Mutt, to heart, Branan blends Greenwich Village cowboy folk and Music City twang with roadhouse rockers, the occasional Stax flourish and even Waitsian noir-jazz accents. Branan’s narratives — he claims Raymond Carver and Garcia Marquez as influences — are what allegedly tie all the varied song styles together into a Cory Branan sound. But, much like his label’s current identity crisis, these stories aren’t quite compelling enough to overcome the meandering sensation resulting from Branan’s stylistic grab-bag.