The fact that Cory Branan is not on the tongue of every musical tastemaker around is proof that the system is broken. Across a half-a-dozen albums, Branan spins out one brilliant story after the next, blending in rock, folk, country, and Americana for a gumbo that’s hard to resist. He is the heir apparent to folks like John Prine and Guy Clark. His latest, “Adios,” continues to hammer in that point.
Nearly flawless from start to finish, “Adios” finds Branan showing off his knack for filling his songs with compelling characters, be it the guy who is falling in love at first sight (“Yeah, So What”) to the emotionally-stunning song about his father (“The Vow”). Whether it’s just him with an acoustic guitar or he’s drenching his music in swampy organ lines, Branan easily moves in and out of genres, deftly proving he could put out a record for just about any crowd. He brings in punk vets Laura Jane Grace and Dave Hause to guest with him on a couple of tracks here.
The albums ends with the satisfyingly sweet waltz, “My Father Was an Accordion Player,” showcasing some of his best lyrics on the record. In a perfect world, Branan would be as big as Beyoncé.