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Cory Branan returns to Spokane after decade-long hiatus to preview new songs

UPDATED: Thu., Oct. 28, 2021

“Adios,” the latest album by Cory Branan, wasn’t a goodbye from the Mississippi-based singer-songwriter even though nearly five years have passed since the album dropped.

“I didn’t do any writing during the plague,” Branan said while calling from Santa Cruz, Calif. “I was busy doing other things, but I have about 50 songs that are ready to be recorded.

“The one thing they had to be was danceable, at least at a Kinks pace, and I think I accomplished that. I can’t wait to record these songs. I want them to sound scale, not hyped. I like the warmth of analog. Just wait until you hear them.”

Branan, 46, will hit the studio Nov. 15, but before he lays down the tracks, he’ll preview a number of his tunes Friday at Lucky You Lounge.

“I haven’t been back to Spokane in about a decade,” Branan said. “It’ll be good to get back to work out these songs and play some songs that I already recorded.”

Expect some tunes from the under-heralded “Adios,” which is filled with bleak but at times humorous tales about love gone awry, ghosts and the misguided.

Branan’s gift for dark but amusing storytelling lands somewhere between Morrissey and John Prine.

“I don’t go out of my way to do bleak,” Branan said. “But bleak happens to me when I write songs.”

The eclectic Branan delivers his tales in a punk rock, folk or country manner. “If I just played songs the same way every time, I would get bored,” Branan explained. “I love mixing things up.”

Over the years, Branan has recorded songs requested by fans from recording artists as disparate as Bruce Springsteen, the Replacements and Kool & the Gang.

“People would commission a tune, and I would give it a shot,” Branan said. “It’s a fun exercise. I have a good time with the covers, but I’m not going to be playing covers when I come back to Spokane.”

Branan is fine with operating outside the mainstream. “The music that I love and play, like folk, has always been on the periphery,” Branan said. “I’ve always liked that.”

Many of Branan’s favorite singer-songwriters are left of center, including some of the acclaimed bards who have joined him in the studio over the last few years, such as Jason Isbell, the Hold Steady’s Craig Finn and Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace.

“Jason Isbell certainly has his audience, but I don’t know if you can call any of those recording artists stars, and that’s alright,” Branan said. “It’s about making the kind of music you want to make. Go out there, don’t compromise, and make the best songs possible.”

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