Becca Mancari

Becca Mancari is a traveler. She's lived everywhere — Staten Island, Florida, Virginia, India, Pennsylvania — and she's collected plenty of tales along the way, spinning the sounds and stories of the modern world into songs that mix the organic stomp of American roots music with the approach and attitude of raw rock & roll.

This is personal music, performed by a storyteller who's lived and loved. Born in Staten Island to an Italian-Irish preacher and a Puerto Rican mother, Becca spent her childhood moving around the East Coast. It's no surprise, then, that she found herself drawn to a group of train hoppers in central Virginia, where she relocated as a teenager to attend college. Surrounded by fellow travelers, Becca began to make music — not the kind of music she made during her earlier years, when she sang in her father's church — but music for front porches, for bonfires, for slow dances and road trips, and train rides and new romances. The sound was inspired by everything from Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited to Neil Young's Harvest Moon, not to mention the Appalachian folk music that her Virginia friends played. It was bold and broad, and it sounded like Becca Mancari.

Charley Crockett

Jason Eady

American country music and songwriter

“We have this thing, and I don’t really know why, it’s just a comfort level,”says Zach Rogue of Rogue + Jaye, his newfound partnership with Courtney Jaye. “We have this easy spirit with each other where I like hearing her sing, and I feel very comfortable proposing ideas.”

Rogue has fronted San Francisco’s acclaimed indie-rock outfit Rogue Wave for more than a decade, and he issued his 2011 solo album Come Back to Us under the name Release the Sunbird. Jaye, now based in Los Angeles, has lived in Nashville, Atlanta, Austin and Hawaii and released such albums as 2010’s The Exotic Sounds of Courtney Jaye and 2013’s critically lauded Love and Forgiveness.

The pair first came together to co-write in December 2013. They instantly recognized their seamlessness as collaborators, and the result was “Til It Fades,” a contemplative and dreamlike song that melds Rogue’s and Jaye’s backgrounds as rock and pop songwriters with wistful country flourishes. “Til It Fades” is among the 10 tracks on Rogue + Jaye’s debut album, Pent Up, out Friday, May 5, 2017.

“I don’t know if I necessarily open up in that way with every person that I work with right off the bat,” says Jaye. “I think that that’s very rare for me. I feel a safety with him creatively.”

Rogue + Jaye’s easy chemistry and mutual respect shine on songs like “Forces of Decay,” a gentle, loping folk ballad on which the duo’s voices entwine beautifully. “You helped me to decide,” they sing in harmony, their voices sliding into place like delicate puzzle pieces destined to form a larger image. “I came to you in the midnight.”

The album is full of moments like that — moments like the outsized, heart-wrenching climax of “Don’t Say,” or the thumping, defiant chorus of “Little Relief.” Moments that echo the iconic duets of country’s golden age as much as Rogue’s rock background and Jaye’s penchant for Tropicália influences.

Pent Up was engineered by Logan Matheny at Bill Reynolds’ studio, Fleetwood Shack, in Nashville. Reynolds (Band of Horses), along with co-producing the album with Rogue, played bass, Seth Kauffman (Floating Action) played guitar, and Michael Libramento (Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Natalie Prass) played drums. The record was mixed and mastered by Mikael Eldridge (aka “Count”) in San Francisco.

David Ramirez

The life of the traveling songwriter certainly seems romantic. But as David Ramirez notched mile number 260,000 traveled in his 2006 Kia Rio, the novelty began to wear off.

"I've learned a lot from being alone and isolated," says Ramirez, who until recently toured completely by himself, without a band, manager or anyone else for company. "Yes, it's romantic in a way. But it has also been kind of rough on my head and my heart. After a while it made it difficult to connect with people on a personal level when I got home. In hindsight, I can see that it's been kind of detrimental. You know, when you travel around alone for months at a time, the world revolves around you. There's no one else in the equation. Everything was just about me. It's a selfish way of living. And I'm ready to move on from that."

It's taken three years since that realization, but with his new album 'FABLES,' out August 28 via Thirty Tigers, Ramirez takes strides towards that personal growth both as a musician and as a man.

"I hit a dry spell for a couple of years after my last album. It was frustrating. I went into the studio two years ago planning to do a whole record, and it just wasn't coming together. So I scrapped the whole thing and took some time away from it," he says. "It felt forced. I don't want to just put more noise into the world. I want to put something out there that means something to me. And if it doesn't, then I don't release it. Therefore, I haven't had a new record in three years. I know that can be frustrating for people on my business team. But I don't want to put it out there if I can't stand behind it."

The delay, it turns out, was for the best. "My focus wasn't really on my music at that point," he explains. "I was at a point in my relationship with my girlfriend where things were getting serious. The closer we got, the more I realized that I needed to be honest with myself and with her about where my life was heading. If I want to be in a meaningful relationship with someone, I have to be honest in everything I do."

The album's title, 'FABLES,' was inspired by the first single, "Harder to Lie," which captures the moment Ramirez realized, as he puts it, "I couldn't bullsh*t with her anymore. She knew me completely. It got me thinking about how much I bullsh*t in my life - exaggerating stories, faking a smile, or whatever. Just telling fables. When you don't know who you really are you can end up hurting people."

That newfound maturity and clarity translated into his approach in the studio, as Ramirez traveled to Seattle to work with his friend Noah Gundersen, who produced the album. "My previous albums were a bit less personal. I always went in with a certain idea of what I wanted them to turn out like. I had never just walked in and said 'let's just see what happens.' And that's what we did this time. From the writing to the recording, it was just based on instincts.”

In a world full of singer-songwriters hawking their stories, Ramirez has managed to stand out from the noise, developing a fiercely loyal following of fans who are drawn to his intimately personal songwriting. "When someone buys a record of mine, they're getting my life. They are essentially memoirs. They're going to know a little bit more about who I am."

'FABLES' is a sparse, poignant set of songs crafted around Ramirez' starkly beautiful baritone, which the New York Times once described as full of "haggard loneliness." NPR Music praised his knack for writing "dark, wrenching tales that are immediately identifiable to those who've loved and lost," while Paste described his "brutally honest" lyrics as "almost alarmingly descriptive."

After years on the road touring as an opening act for artists like Noah Gundersen, Gregory Alan Isakov, Shakey Graves and Joe Pug, Ramirez is excited to finally embark on his own tour. "Fans have been paying high-dollar tickets to watch me open for other bands, and I'm very thankful for it. I've also had the chance to see how other songwriters I respect work on a professional level. I've learned a lot and been challenged a lot. It's like I've been going to school. I've been taking notes. And now I think I'm ready for the job. I'm really excited to finally go out with a band and do my own full set. It will be more fun and energetic."

As he has learned to open himself up to other people in his personal relationships and in the studio, Ramirez has also been focused on putting together a full-time band and letting other musicians become involved in the creative process. "I'm trying to build a family of people who create together, not just a backing band," he says. "For the past five years traveling, I get off stage and I have no one to share it with. I've been lucky enough to ride along with some of the bands I've opened for. I watch them get ready for their set and have that sense of collaboration, and I'll just be in the alley smoking a cigarette by myself. I've always had a little envy for that. I'm like every kid that grew up playing in a garage. I want a band. No one has dreams of playing the world alone."

The Wild Reeds

The Wild Reeds can be defined by one word: Harmony. However, the music is nearly indefinable. The sound from this LA based band fronted by Kinsey Lee, Mackenzie Howe and Sharon Silva dips in and out of multiple genres - some etherial folk, a hint of country twang and some rock and roll rhythm (from Nick Jones and Nick Phakpiseth), but it all comes back to the root of this band's power: the fact that Lee, Howe and Silva harmonize like triplets separated at birth.

In the past year, the Los Angeles based band supported such acts as Noah Gundersen, Langhorne Slim, Della Mae, Spirit Family Reunion and Israel Nash and they've made appearances at Way Over Yonder Festival, The Bluegrass Situation Festival at the Greek in LA, Outside Lands, Echo Park Rising, Claremont Folk Festival, and Lightning in a Bottle.

The Wild Reeds released their formal debut album "Blind and Brave," in August 2014 at The Troubadour in West Hollywood. The album, produced by Raymond Richards at Red Rockets Glare Studios (Local Natives, Parson Redheads, Honey Honey, Dustbowl Revival), expounds on loss, love, growing up, and the experience of artists and workers alike pursuing their dreams.

The start of 2016 finds The Wild Reeds crafting new material for their second release in Los Angeles, resting after full US tours in the fall with stops at the AMA Festival in Nashville in September, The Bluegrass Situation Festival at the Greek Theater in LA and the CMJ festival in New York in October, and gearing up for a busy year on the road.



". . .that's the power of the L.A. band, whose songs are clear and memorable, potent and sometimes delicate. . . Next year ought to be a big year for The Wild Reeds, and this Tiny Desk Concert will show you what I mean." - Bob Boilen, NPR MUSIC



"I've been watching this over and over." - Paul Krugman, The New York Times



"The Wild Reeds sent bolts of lightening through the Basement bar, making new fans of smiling audience members hanging on every harmonized note." - Annie Galvin, Popmatters



"From the L.A. roots scene come The Wild Reeds, who make folk-pop that is rich in three-part harmonies and camaraderie." - NPR All Songs Considered

“Ever heard of a happy song?”

That question is posed to Andrew Combs in “Rainy Day Song”, the lead track on his acclaimed 2015 album All These Dreams, during a barstool chat with a sarcastic friend. The singer – offended but gracious – smiles and allows the moment to pass, eschewing confrontation for the sake of a gem he polishes as an afterthought for the listener: “Tab’s on me if you think I’m lying / Laughing ain’t a pleasure till you know about crying.” The moment, full of the understated charm and pulsing honesty that defines his music, and is as good a metaphor as any for the songcraft of Andrew Combs.

A Dallas native now living near the same Nashville airport immortalized in the opening sequence of Robert Altman’s country music odyssey, Andrew Combs is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and heir to that 1975 film’s idea of the Nashville troubadour as a kind of musical monk. Here in the twenty-first century whorl of digital narcissism, where identity can feel like a 24/7 social media soft-shoe performance, Combs makes music that does battle with the unsubtle. Like the pioneering color photographer William Eggleston, he sees the everyday and the commonplace as the surest paths to transcendence, and he understands intuitively that what is most obvious is often studded with the sacred. As a songwriter, Combs relies on meditative restraint rather than showy insistence to paint his canvases, a technique commensurate with his idea of nature as an overflowing spiritual wellspring. NPR music critic Ann Powers noted as much in a 2015 review: “His song-pictures are gorgeous, but he recognizes their impermanence as he sings.” This deeply felt sense of ecology, of the transient beauty within nature’s chaotic churn, lies at the heart of Combs’s approach to his art.

After touring behind All These Dreams, a record that earned him international accolades and comparisons to everyone from Leonard Cohen to Mickey Newbury to Harry Nilsson, Combs has returned with a new album that puts down stakes in fresh sonic terrain. Canyons of My Mind, out in March on New West, is — as its title suggests — a landscape where the personal and the pastoral converge. Drawing inspiration from the biographies of literary figures like Charles Wright and Jim Harrison, Combs has created an album that explores the notion of “sustainability” in its many facets — artistic, economic, spiritual, environmental.

"When I set out to record All These Dreams, I had a distinct vision of what I wanted the record to sound like. It was a cocktail of the Roy Orbison, Glen Campbell, Nilsson vibes that you can hear right there on the surface," Combs says. "Canyons of My Mind is much more personal. It’s a testament to my acceptance of who I am as a man, and who I am becoming.” The record’s sonic adventurousness bears witness to that evolution, as well as to some big changes in his personal life. Between All These Dreams and Canyons, Combs married his longtime girlfriend Kristin, with whom he honeymooned for six weeks in the Minnesota wilderness. “She walks through her life exuding such open-mindedness and kindness,” Combs says. “I can’t help but watch in awe. She lets me be whoever I want to be, and that’s new to me. And quite refreshing, and freeing.”

The quiet struggles and satisfactions of carving out an identity in a world gone wrong are palpable throughout the album. Whether questing through the labyrinth of his own spiritual yearning, (“Heart of Wonder”), recreating a rail rider’s full-body sensation of freedom beneath an azure Montana sky (“Rose Colored Blues”), imagining a near-future dystopia where the very idea of green spaces has been annihilated (“Dirty Rain”), or channeling the desire of a peeping Tom who has fallen in love with his sylvan quarry (“Hazel”), Combs refines the vulnerable vagabond persona he mastered on All These Dreams while pushing it beyond those boundaries, into a more pastoral realm aligned with artists like Nick Drake and Tim Buckley. The idea of the artist’s creative life as an ecosystem — one just as in need of cultivation and care as our own imperiled world — informs much of Canyons. For Combs, the quest to sustain his own capacity to create on a daily basis is what drives him. “I want to create for the rest of my life — writing, singing, painting,” he says. “I also want my life to include a family, a house, and kids. Seeking out other artists who’ve been able to keep the lights on without compromising their art – that keeps me inspired.”

"The Austin-based band were Americana before there really was such a term, combining roots, rock and country influences into an uncompromising musical approach that has earned the Grammy-winning group a very steadfast and loyal following. "

- A Taste of Country
Understanding the virtuosity of Reckless Kelly requires the perspective of where the band has been. Cody and Willy Braun grew up in the White Cloud Mountains of Idaho. They moved to Bend, Oregon, and then migrated to that great musical fountainhead, Austin, Texas.

The band’s co-founders and frontmen toured the country as part of their father’s band, Muzzie Braun and the Boys, as children. They performed on The Tonight Show twice. Their father taught his four sons a professional ethic – integrity, persistence, hard work and professionalism – honed over three generations. They overcame hardships, struggled for recognition, and learned the lessons of the trial and error that defined them.

In one sense, it’s remarkable in the way of any musician, athlete, or businessperson who bucks the odds.
In another, though, it’s utterly natural that Reckless Kelly, born in the dreams of the two Braun brothers and their heritage but nurtured in the bumpy road of maturity, became the very essence of Americana music in all its far-flung glory.
“We came along in that second wave of the movement,” Cody Braun says. “Son Volt’s album Trace had a major effect on us. People like Joe Ely, Ray Kennedy and Robert Earl Keen were always big supporters. Our goal was to make music that had a country vibe but a solid rock edge.”

In the end, all the recipe required was to just add water. Water facilitates life. It enriches the soul.
As Music Row magazine proclaimed, “In my perfect world, this is what country radio would sound like.”

“This” is Reckless Kelly.

The heartland gave the band authenticity. Musical lives honed its skill. Adversity instilled its persistence. Moving to Austin gave it wings to fly.

As kids, the Brauns – Cody, Willy, Micky and Gary – shared a stage with the likes of Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell and Merle Haggard. Micky and Gary Braun now helm their own band, Micky and the Motorcars. In Bend, Cody and Willy added drummer Jay Nazz, who brought with him his own unique experience.

“I had grown up in the Northeast, performing at clubs and weddings with my dad and brother from the age of 13,” Nazz recalls, “so, when I met Willy and Cody, we already had that in common. Both of our dads were musicians with a very similar kind of performing discipline. That helped us bond immediately.”

The band took its name from the legend of Ned Kelly, the Australian highwayman, and the three moved to Austin in the autumn of 1996, where they carved a niche of their own. Early on, Keen, a Texas legend himself, took them under his wing and became their first manager. They listened, watched and interacted with the creative dynamos of the outlaw country scene – Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, Billy Joe Shaver, Guy Clark and others – and joined them in a redefinition of what contemporary country music had become. Theirs was gritty, hard-edged, uncompromising and convincing. They turned country music real again.

Willy Braun wrote half the songs of Millican, 1998’s self-released debut, in an abandoned school bus, where he had lived for six months in Bend. The effect of that album was to emblazon Reckless Kelly with a reputation as a band of no-nonsense insurgents that could raise the rafters while still retaining a heart and soul of honesty, soul and conviction.

They evolved, adding David Abetya, a graduate of the Berklee School of Music, on lead guitar in 2000. Kansas-bred bassist Joe Miller -- who had grown up on a family farm before becoming a broadcaster at his college radio station and migrating to Austin – signed on 2012.

Reckless Kelly’s string of critically acclaimed albums – Under the Table and Above the Sun (2003), Wicked Twisted Road (2005), Bulletproof (2008), Somewhere in Time (2010), Grammy-nominated Good Luck & True Love (2011) and Grammy-winning Long Night Moon (2013) – set a standard of reliable excellence and commitment to an instinctive vision of Americana. No band exemplifies the broad genre better.

Independent? Oh, yeah. Doggedly so. Nothing demonstrates it more than the band’s path through a succession of prestigious record labels – Sugar Hill and Yep Roc, among them – en route to a label, No Big Deal, of their own.

For two decades, the band has toured coast to coast relentlessly. It has demonstrated its longevity in a world where trendy newcomers are proclaimed the Next Big Thing by spinning a couple pop hits. They disappear from the radar, doomed by the very fad that invented them. Not unlike the pioneers who preceded them on the western frontier where the Brauns were raised, they have forged their survival without compromise, combining hard work with a resolve that success is only satisfying when achieved by their own standards and definition.

The group’s new album, Sunset Motel, is, like all its predecessors, distinctive in its own way while true to form. Self-produced and recorded in Austin’s renowned Arlyn Studios (where Millican was made two decades ago) and mixed by Jim Scott (Rolling Stones, Dixie Chicks, Tom Petty, Sting, Roger Daltrey, Crowded House, et al.), it reflects Reckless Kelly’s attention to craft and continuity.

Twenty years since its founding, Reckless Kelly continues to fight for wider recognition, secure in the knowledge that fans, critics and contemporaries will continue to sing its praises.

The songs hit one emotional peak after another: the infectious “Volcano,” the urgent “One More One Last Time,” the desperate desire that comes full circle in “How Can You Love Him (You Don’t Even Like Him)” and the bittersweet title track. With steady guitar drive and a series of insistent choruses, they all ring with power and conviction that make Sunset Motel a breathtaking listening experience.

“Willy wrote 30 or 40 songs for the new album and we cut about half of them,” Cody says. “We ended up using 13 of them, but there were still some good ones left on the cutting-room floor.”

Cody, Willy and Nazz have been constants since the beginning. Abeyta and Miller add their own wrinkles to a signature sound that remains intact. The populist following grows, but the band has also moved on to play in performing arts centers and listening rooms that provide more focused encounters.

“We’re at the point where we’re not content to be categorized as simply a party band anymore,” Willy says. “We would like folks to really hear these songs, to be able to hear the lyrics and appreciate the musicianship that goes into the arrangements. Yes, we still want our audiences to have a good time, but we also want to show that this is a real band with a cohesive attitude and a muscular backbone, as well. We don’t want to be pigeonholed as simply a Texas-based, beer-drinking, rowdy bunch of party boys. There’s a lot more to it than that.”

“This is a really good place to be,” Cody adds. “We’ve built a solid fan base, which gives us a nice safety net. At the same time, we can take things at a more leisurely pace because we can control our own destiny.”

Great bands know good music. They make it the way they like, confident that what they love, what excites them, will also gain traction with thousands and thousands, perhaps even millions, of passionate fans.

Reckless Kelly is, by the best possible definition, a great band.

Freedom to pursue its own destiny has always been at the center of the band’s ambitions. Their fate is as much in their own hands as is reasonably possible.

“We’ve toured extensively over the course of our career,” Cody says. “We’ve traveled front and back, up and down, across this country. Happily, we’re at a point where we’re not killing ourselves to pay the bills.”

That point liberates them to be true to their background, their heritage and, most importantly, themselves.
“We’ve always been hands-on in terms of our marketing and our delivery,” Willy says. “The labels always gave us the freedom we asked for, but an A&R person doesn’t always know what’s best for the band.”

The fierce self-reliance and independent spirit keeps Reckless Kelly happy, appreciative and charitable. Their annual festival, The Braun Brothers Reunion, in Challis, Idaho, has been ongoing for 37 years now. They reunite with their brothers, Gary and Micky (and the Motorcars). The Brauns run it without major sponsors or outside promoters.

The band also hosts the yearly Reckless Kelly Celebrity Softball Jam to raise money for Austin-area youth charities, putting $300,000 in those coffers over the past seven years.

“It’s a great way to give back,” Cody says. “It’s great to be able to share our success in such a positive way.”
Collectively, they’ve played over 3,000 shows and traveled over 1,500,000 miles to 49 states.

Reckless Kelly is a great band with an apt name. The outlaw’s spirit pervades the ambiance. They are rugged individualists who dedicate themselves to advancing the state of their art.

They’re good guys, too. Their hearts dwell in the right places, and those are where the music follows.

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"Quiet Life sound like they stumbled from Big Pink, with a rambunctious roots sound that would make Robbie Robertson smile from ear-to-ear."
- The Portland Mercury

"Portland doesn't have a Laurel Canyon scene, but if it did, you could bet that Quiet Life would be the official house band."
- Willamette Week

Jon Langford

Jon Langford born October 11, 1957, Newport, Monmouthshire is a Welsh-born musician and artist who is presently based in Chicago. He is the younger brother of science-fiction author and critic David Langford

Langford was originally the drummer for the punk band The Mekons when it formed at the University of Leeds in 1977, but he later took up the guitar as other band members left. Since the mid-1980s he has been one of the leaders in incorporating folk and country music into punk rock. He has released a number of solo recordings as well as recordings with other bands outside of The Mekons, most notably the Waco Brothers, which he co-founded after moving to Chicago in the early 1990s. He is involved with the Chicago-based independent record label, Bloodshot.

Langford is also a prolific and respected visual artist best known for his striking portraits of country music icons including Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley. His multimedia music/spoken-word/video performance, “The Executioner’s Last Songs,” premiered at Alverno College in 2005, and has been performed in several other cities. He illustrated the comic strip Great Pop Things under the pseudonym Chuck Death. Since 2005 he has co-hosted a weekly radio program, “The Eclectic Company,” broadcast on WXRT 93.1 FM in Chicago. He has contributed to This American Life.

Among Langford’s musical side projects have been the Three Johns (with John Hyatt and John (Phillip) Brennan), who released several albums of drum-machine-fueled punk in the 1980s; the country-punk Waco Brothers (with Dean Schlabowske, Tracey Dear, Alan Doughty, Mark Durante, and Mekons drummer Steve Goulding), who have been recording since 1995; the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, a revolving assortment of Chicago musicians who have backed both Langford and other musicians such as Kelly Hogan; and Ship and Pilot. He became a father figure to the local music scene, encouraging many of his labelmates on Bloodshot Records and championing anyone he thought worthy of scrutiny, often lending his services as a musician or visual artist or inviting local musicians to guest on his releases. Langford’s first official solo album, Skull Orchard, a look back at his hometown of Newport, Wales, was released in 1998. He followed it with All the Fame of Lofty Deeds, in 2004, Gold Brick in 2006, and Old Devils in 2010.

Langford is an accomplished artist and is renowned for his multi-layered paintings of famous and forgotten figures from the dawn of country music. Nashville Radio, a collection of his artwork and writings, was published in 2006.

In January and February 2009, Chicago’s Walkabout Theater Company and Collaboraction premiered a stage adaptation of Langford’s Goldbrick that featured a live band, two actors and video projections. In November and December 2009, The House Theatre of Chicago staged a production of “All the Fame of Lofty Deeds”, written by rock journalist Mark Guarino and based on Langford’s art and 2004 solo album.
Collaborations with other musicians

Langford initiated a project, the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, which performs the music of other country music groups. Several alternative country musicians have guested on these recordings.

Langford has guested on numerous recordings, including with Dutch punk band the Ex, The Old 97s, Chip Taylor, as well as Austin, Texas legend Alejandro Escovedo, and has recorded joint albums with Sally Timms, Kevin Coyne, Richard Buckner, Kat Ex and Rosie Flores.

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ADIOS is Cory Branan's death record. Not the cheeriest of openings, but like all of Branan's mercurial work it's probably not what you think. As funny and defiant as it is touching and sad, this self-dubbed "loser's survival kit" doesn't spare its subjects or the listener.


Not even Branan's deceased father is let off the hook. In the tender homage "The Vow" he drolly cites his father's favorite banality "that's what you get for thinking" as "probably not the best lesson for kids." For most songwriters that would be the punchline but Branan pushes through words and, in his father's actions, finds a kind of "genius in the effortless way he just 'did'."


Not all the death on ADIOS is literal mortality. "Imogene" is sung from the wreckage of a love that once "poked fun at the pain, stoked the sun in the rain" but ends with the urgent call to "act on the embers, ash won't remember the way back to fire."


The trademark lyrical agility is mirrored sonically. Never a genre loyalist, ADIOS finds Branan (much like his musically restless heroes Elvis Costello and Tom Waits) coloring outside the lines in sometimes clashing shades of fuzz and twang. While unafraid to play it arrow-straight when called for (“the Vow”, “Equinox”, “Don't Go”), ADIOS veers wildly from the Buddy Holly-esque rave up "I Only Know" (sung with punk notables Laura Jane Grace and Dave Hause), through the swampy "Walls, MS" to the Costello-like new wave of "Visiting Hours." The blistering punk of "Another Nightmare in America" bops along daring listeners to "Look away, look away, move along, nothing to see here" (the song is from the point of view of a racist killer cop). And as the mourning singer on "Cold Blue Moonlight" shifts from paralysis to panic, the song's jazzy drone shifts to an almost Sabbath fury. The tonal shifts are always deliberate and not just simple genre hopping; while the turns can be jarring you can trust Branan to take you somewhere unexpected.


The 14-song album was self-produced and recorded in the spring of 2016 at Tweed Studios in Oxford, MS with a tight three piece: Branan on lead vocals and guitar (both electric and acoustic); Robbie Crowell of Deer Tick on drums and percussion, keys, and horns; and James “Haggs” Haggerty on bass. Additionally, Amanda Shires contributes on fiddle and vocals, and Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! and Dave Hause provide guest vocals.


Cory Branan has four previous full-length releases: The Hell You Say (2002, Madjack Records), 12 Songs (2006, Madjack), Mutt (2012, Bloodshot Records), and The No-Hit Wonder (2014, Bloodshot). His music has received critical praise from the likes of Rolling Stone, NPR All Things Considered, Noisey, Wall Street Journal, Paste Magazine, Oxford American, Consequence of Sound, Southern Living, and many others.

ADIOS is Cory Branan's death record. Not the cheeriest of openings, but like all of Branan's mercurial work it's probably not what you think. As funny and defiant as it is touching and sad, this self-dubbed "loser's survival kit" doesn't spare its subjects or the listener.


Not even Branan's deceased father is let off the hook. In the tender homage "The Vow" he drolly cites his father's favorite banality "that's what you get for thinking" as "probably not the best lesson for kids". For most songwriters that would be the punchline but Branan pushes through words and, in his father's actions, finds a kind of "genius in the effortless way he just 'did'."


Not all the death on ADIOS is literal mortality. "Imogene" is sung from the wreckage of a love that once "poked fun at the pain, stoked the sun in the rain" but ends with the urgent call to "act on the embers, ash won't remember the way back to fire".


The trademark lyrical agility is mirrored sonically. Never a genre loyalist, ADIOS finds Branan (much like his musically restless heroes Elvis Costello and Tom Waits) coloring outside the lines in sometimes clashing shades of fuzz and twang. While unafraid to play it arrow-straight when called for (“the Vow”, “Equinox”, “Don't Go”), ADIOS veers wildly from the Buddy Holly-esque rave up "I Only Know" (sung with punk notables Laura Jane Grace and Dave Hause), through the swampy "Walls, MS" to the Costello-like new wave of "Visiting Hours". The blistering punk of "Another Nightmare in America" bops along daring listeners to "Look away, look away, move along, nothing to see here" (the song is from the point of view of a racist killer cop). As the mourning singer on "Cold Blue Moonlight" shifts from paralysis to panic, the song's jazzy drone shifts to an almost Sabbath fury. The tonal shifts are always deliberate and not just simple genre hopping; while the turns can be jarring you can trust Branan to take you somewhere unexpected.


The 14-song album was self-produced and recorded in the spring of 2016 at Tweed Studios in Oxford, MS with a tight three piece: Branan on lead vocals and guitar (both electric and acoustic); Robbie Crowell of Deer Tick on drums and percussion, keys, and horns; and James “Haggs” Haggerty on bass. Additionally, Amanda Shires contributes on fiddle and vocals, and Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! and Dave Hause provide guest vocals.


Cory Branan has four previous full-length releases: The Hell You Say (2002, Madjack Records), 12 Songs (2006, Madjack), Mutt (2012, Bloodshot Records), and The No-Hit Wonder (2014, Bloodshot). His music has received critical praise from the likes of Rolling Stone, NPR All Things Considered, Noisey, Wall Street Journal, Paste Magazine, Oxford American, Consequence of Sound, Southern Living, and many others.

$75

Tickets

Friday schedule

Cannery Ballroom:
7:30pm - Michigan Rattlers
8:30pm - Becca Mancari
9:30pm - Charley Crockett
10:30pm - Jason Eady
11:30pm - Turnpike Troubadours

Mercy Lounge:
8:00pm - Rogue + Jaye
9:00pm - David Ramirez
10:00pm - The Wild Reeds
11:00pm - Andrew Combs
Midnight - Reckless Kelly

High Watt:
8:00pm - William Wild
9:00pm - Quiet Life
10:00pm - Jon Langford
11:00pm - Matthew Ryan
Midnight - Cory Branan

For the full festival line-up, visit http://americanamusic.org/

Upcoming Events
Mercy Lounge