Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
Adios is Cory Branan’s fifth full length album and the third for Bloodshot. In spite of that, he is still described as a “newcomer”. Branan laughs about that and states it allows him to be more creative because there is less scrutiny on him. I think it is a bit of a shame because these artists are the ones that should be recognized and noticed for their work. Branan is a great writer and takes personal experiences and turns them into profound songs. Adios shows a maturity in Branan’s style as he goes more for a balanced song approach, rather than mainly guitar driven offerings. Some may not be pleased with this change in style, but I find it refreshing.
Adios has a very nice Springsteen feel to it, in songwriting, instrumentation, and delivery. The songs, while not as frenetic as other albums, still have plenty of feeling and energy. I am sure that Branan will deliver them live with the energy of all his live performances. Anyone who has ever seen Branan live will know what I am talking about. He leaves everything on stage. Including blood, sweat, and tears. Cory doesn’t just perform his songs, he recreates them night after night. Something that is clearly physically demanding, but something an audience will never forget.
Just when I thought there were no “guitar moments” on Adios, Cory surprised me. I was listening to Cold Blue Moonlight (Track 8), which starts out like a crooning ballad that The Chairman Of The Board Would Sing or a Leon Russel Song. Then, he busts out a really nice and somewhat noisy guitar solo around the three minute mark. It actually works quite well in the song. It adds a tremendous amount of interest and makes the song seem a lot shorter than the five and a half minutes actual time.
That is not the only surprise on Adios. The last track, My Father Was An Accordion Player (Track 14) sounds like it was right off of a Tom Waits record. It’s a little blues, Broadway, and Vaudeville. Extremely clever song that tells a really great story about “the good old days’. A very bitter sweet and absolutely beautiful song written with such sensitivity that it really does bring a few tears to my eye. This song should be played in a poorly lit room with just Cory and a piano. A room so filled with smoke you can barely see. The smell of stale beer and cigarette smoke chokes the air. But none of that matters when Cory starts singing and tell this melancholy tale.
If you are looking for a pure country record or a traditional singer songwriter album look away. If, on the other hand, you are willing to expand your horizons and take a chance on music that is both beautiful and sad, than Cory Branan is your man, Your risk will be greatly rewarded.