Cory Branan: The Right Word

Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins

Many media outlets are quoting verbatim Bloodshot Records’ press materials for Cory Branan’s new album, Adios, calling it his “death record.” It’s such an accurate description of the recording that, well, it’s easy to see why everyone keeps using it.

It’s not all gloom and doom, but Adios does include a quite a bit of material about loss of everything from love to life. From a song about his late father (“The Vow”), to a piece about a deceased relationship that namechecks the late jazz vocalist Nina Simone, the tunes on Adios don’t sink in upon first listen. When they finally do, they’re as deep as the graves Branan digs here. Asked why the album is called Adios when there isn’t actually a song with that title on the record, he simply replies, “I say quite a few goodbyes on the album.”

Branan’s use of language on Adios, as usual, is a notch or two above what most of us would come up with. His songs are obviously pored over, edited and re-edited, sound like they probably keep him awake at night. Rarely do his lyrics sound like stream-of-consciousness writing, but more like the work of someone who really loves words and has a bigger vocabulary than most of us. One reason for that may be his love of poetry. The exceptionally-literate and articulate Branan may be as well-read and as big a fan of the great poets as anybody making records today. Probably much more so.

“Around high school I first dove headlong into the Spanish and South American poets like Lorca, Neruda, and Borges, and took the long way... Sign In to Keep Reading

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