There is a good chance that the average music listener has never partaken in the music of Mr. Cory Branan, and that is a crying shame. The Nashville resident has toiled through a lengthy career writing songs that delve into the human experience. He has built a devout fan base with heartfelt songs about love, loss and questionable decisions. Yes he is not the only singer/songwriter to do this but it is his ability to infuse humor into his lyrics that sets him apart. While singing about a lost girl, a depressing time or sticky predicament he is able to bring out the lighter side of a darker situation. There is no better example of this than 2012’s Mutt (his first release on Bloodshot Records) which bounced all over his eclectic musical tastes.
Wasting little time Branan has built off of the critical acclaim of Mutt and released, The No-Hit Wonder, an adventure into good old fashioned country rock. Harnessing the collective vibe of East Nashville he has written a batch of lighthearted songs that will give listeners no other choice but to sing-a-long. The album opens with the rocking “You Make Me”. Jangly guitars, boogie woogie piano and Branan’s Southern imagery lead folks through this upbeat tune. Singing about nesting songbirds, kudzu and jubilees makes you wonder if he is singing about Nashville or all the things that remind him of the woman that completes him. Jason Isbell lends his vocals giving the track an added layer. The jaunty “Sour Mash” is a catchy tune about good old Southern sour mash whiskey. Tim Easton joins in as the two sing the praises and benefits of the caramel colored liquor. He sings of loss and wanting like only he can on the tracks “Missing You Fierce”, “The Only You” and “All I Got And Gone” then Isbell is back on “Highway Home” about life on the road. Two songs that exemplify his songwriting prowess are the fast paced “No-Hit Wonder” and the sparse “The Meantime Blues”. Total opposites, they represent some of the best of Branan.
I have been hooked on Cory Branan’s music since I first heard the song “Mrs. Ferguson” and everything since then just keeps getting better. When a singer can take the people and places in their life, turn them into songs relaying their feelings and thoughts thus allowing listeners to experience them you have something special. On No-Hit Wonder he once again pulls this off in turn creating one of the best records of 2014. Give it a listen and thank me later.