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Album Review : Cory Branan : The No Hit Wonder

As the title of his newest record proclaims, Cory Branan has never written a hit song. But that says way more about what constitutes a hit song these days, than his ability to write a phenomenal track. The No-Hit Wonder is Branan’s fourth release, his second on Chicago based indie label, Bloodshot Records. Following in the footsteps of its predecessors, this album does not have an overall theme or feel or even genre. Branan slips easily into all of the realms that make up the Americana or roots music landscape and sometimes dwells beyond the normal scape of either label. He is as comfortable laying down a track inspired by the sound of a Tennessee Trio (Sour Mash) as he is embracing the delta blues roots of his native Mississippi (In The Meantime Blues), all while embellishing the songs with the edginess and honesty of the punk rock he grew up with. In addition to the multiple personality disorder his records seem to have, Cory’s superb lyrical handle and charmingly gruff southern vocals make all of his songs easy to relate and cling to. The tracks on The No-Hit Wonder are no exception, and behind the superior songwriting and Branan’s own guitar playing is a band put together of ace studio musicians and a group of performers that reads like the guest list at this year’s AMA awards, that includes Jason Isbell, Tim Easton, Austin Lucas and Caitlin Rose among others. Branan and producer, Paul Ebersold were able to perfectly match the musicians with the songs that allowed them to shine the most, and in the end have put together Branan’s strongest effort to date. So despite the accuracy of its title, The No-Hit Wonder is another masterful release from one of this generation’s finest storytellers.

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