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A country boy with a punk-rock heart, Cory Branan fires twin barrels of barroom boogie woogie and honky-tonk twang. –Rolling Stone

The No-Hit Wonder – song and album – is both a celebratory anthem of the world-weary, undefeated underdogs of the world, and a coming to terms with the cards life has dealt you. While the title track may sound autobiographical, it was written for fellow troubadours living blood to string/hand to mouth. And when the Hold Steady s Craig Finn and Steve Selvidge join in singing it is what it is/blood to string, it becomes everybody s fight.

Lyrically, there s plenty of Branan s trademark rakish humor (in The Only You : Got me another girl/she looks like you… at 23/but while she sleeps I trace the places where your tattoos used to be ) and unforced Southern imagery (in You Make Me : Now I m happy as a bluebird in a bottle tree ). Not that it s all sunshine and honeysuckle; in All I Got and Gone, the singer ransacks his decaying house in search of a missing note, while lamenting The heart has four darkened drawers and secrets from itself.

For his fourth album Branan called on a who s who cast of heroes and no-hit-wonder peers to flash up the proceedings. Finn and Selvidge of the Hold Steady, Isbell, Caitlin Rose and Austin Lucas ( All the Rivers in Colorado ), and Tim Easton ( Sour Mash ) all lend their voices to the cause, while some of Nashville s finest players – Audley Freed (The Black Crowes), John Radford (Justin Townes Earle, Luella and The Sun), Sadler Vaden (The 400 Unit, Drivin and Cryin), and Robbie The Man of Steel Turner (Waylon Jennings, Charlie Rich) – hammer the damn thing home.


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