Cory Branan, Jon Snodgrass

Cory Branan

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..."

With immeasurable talent and the freedom to follow his muse, Cory Branan is poised for greatness. 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."

Jon Snodgrass

Casual brilliance is one thing, but Fort Collins's Drag the River seems to spit up country-rock genius in the split second between slipping off the barstool and hitting the floor. Hey Buddies . . . is a crudely played and recorded EP that doesn't bother with the niceties of extensive overdubs or, apparently, rehearsal. Of course, Drag doesn't need such crap; the band has long thrived on simple, sad pop tunes overlaid with haggard twang and the occasional hollow howl of a pedal steel. And even though Buddies was made by ex-punks with beer guts, there's neither an ounce of fat nor a shred of fakery in these songs -- just a sore liver knocking on the door of its lonely neighbor, the heart.

$5.00

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