Cory Branan

REVIEW: Cory Branan “When I Go I Ghost”


Cory Branan – When I Go I Ghost

Between the banging piano notes & Gatling gun drums of “When In Rome, When In Memphis,” — a rollicking infectious song that is the heart of great American R&R. The groove of the entire tune is presented with an excellent instinctively good melody. It doesn’t end there. Memphis-based Cory Branan segues into the upbeat delight of “O Charlene.” The man has music in his veins & clever lyrics are a bonus. 

Cory Branan

The song reminds me of the good feelings I got listening to Russ Tolman’s “Marla Jane,” the sweet notes bristle in the pores. Bobby Sutliff’s “Same Way Tomorrow,” David McWilliams’ “Marlena,” & Clifford T. Ward’s “Wherewithal.” Great songwriting, wonderful melodies & vocals. It’s out there if you look.

The 40-minute CD When I Go I Ghost (Drops Oct 14–Blue Elan) graces Branan’s listeners with 11 sturdy songs from his 6th CD. Vocals are mindful of Marc Cohn (“Silver Thunderbird” “Walking In Memphis”) & David Baerwald (“Hey, Rusty”).

“That Look I Lost,” sweetens the presentation with brass & Cory (guitar/vocals/synth) likes to write songs that have contrasts (Memphis/Rome), etc. “When I Leave Here,” has powerful rock propensity – deep bass, a snap of the snare & Cory’s confident vocal tone. There ARE young rockers out there who understand the genre. His tone is well-oiled & you can hear the possibilities – the ability to sing a folk-rocker, a swampy blues, a country-inflected tale, or bruised ballad. Cory has good musical instincts. Knows how to whisper a lyric, build it up, emphasize a word, or ignite an entire line with blue flames. The man knows how to weld the music to the groove.

His creativity is sewn together with originality with threads that can’t be seen – “The Pocket of God,” is a noir masterpiece. Incredibly good lyrics & a penetrating melody & are sung with more mood & atmosphere than just a groove. First class stuff.

I wait for songs like this – sometimes it takes a year. It’s like fishing for that legendary mythical bass in the dark lake.

Great band — Robbie Crowell (bass/synth), Eric Slick (drums/percussion), Jarrad K (piano/synth/guitar). Anthony DaCosta (guitar/vocals). With Arun Bali (guitar), Spencer Cullum (steel guitar), Tom Clary (trumpet/arrangement), Matt Combs (strings/arrangement), Adam Lazzara (vocals), Jim Spake (sax) & Jason Yasinsky (trombone).

Special guests Brian Fallon (vocals/from The Gaslight Anthem), Jason Isbell (guitar/vocals) & Garrison Star (duets on the beautiful “Waterfront”).

Produced by Grammy Award winner Jeremy Ferguson. Highlights – “When In Rome, When In Memphis,” “O Charlene,” “When I Leave Here,” “Pocket of God,” “Oh Happy New Year,” “Waterfront,” “Come On If You Wanna Come”

One of the year’s best. The CD is a handsome 6-panel full-color package with a lyric insert. Image from Cory’s website. CD @


Leave a Reply!