Friends don’t let friends play alone |

Friends don’t let friends play alone

Charlie Owen
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

VAIL ” Apparently a Rolling Stone bump doesn’t instantly propel you to superstardom, nor does a blurb in Blender assure your place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Cory Branan’s music was praised by both magazines back when he emerged on the music scene around the beginning of 2000, but, according to him, that didn’t put “any asses in the seats” at his shows.

“It just goes away. It was all right, it just didn’t seem to have much to do with what I was doing then,” Branan said of his magazine mentions. “It’s supposed to work, on paper, but I don’t think it does much.”

He still had to work hard and play good shows, just like he did before those reviews, but Branan wouldn’t have it any other way.

Branan’s currently touring the U.S. for a few months. He plays the Sandbar in Vail Monday night along with Jon Snodgrass and Chad Price of Drag the River, an alt-country band from Fort Collins.

These days Branan is focusing on the live show, mainly because album sales alone aren’t paying the bills, he said. But that’s ok, Branan doesn’t seem to mind life on the road. In fact, his music is well suited to small, personal venues. Branan’s sound seems raw and unrehearsed; his lyrics are tinged with honesty and an earnestness best experienced live.

Come November, Branan will head to Europe for another month. Upon his return, he’ll finish up a new album set for release in early 2009. Listeners can expect a much more fluid album than his 2006 release, “12 Song,” he said.

“That’s what everybody would always break my balls about in the interviews or the reviews … they were like, ‘it’s too scattered, it’s not cohesive.’ That’s why I called it 12 f—— songs,” Branan said, explaining that’s all the album was meant to be.

His new album will be more character driven than his previous work, with a full-circle emotional theme, he said.

That should keep the critics happy.

High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or

Any band that can put a sad-bastard country twist on Sam Cooke’s good-time hit “Having A Party,” is capable of making their fans drink themselves to death while smiling.

Fort Collins-based alt-country band Drag the River belongs in a bar playing to crowds with broken hearts and big problems. Many of their songs portray a guy that most people have known at some point in their lives; the dejected man who just got fired from a job he hates, dumped by a girl he never loved and evicted from a trailer that was always too small. That’s not to say Drag the River can’t get the crowd moving; their song “Dirty Mouth” is just one example of how they can play both sides of the fence.

The band’s guitarist, Jon Snodgrass, said he is looking forward to Monday nights show with Branan. Snodgrass and Branan are friends from way back and have played a handful of shows together recently. The shows are always a fun time, Branan said. It’s funny then that neither Branan nor Snodgrass can remember how or when they first met.

“To be honest, he’s just always been there,” Snodgrass said.

Snodgrass said fans can expect both Drag the River and Branan tunes in a very casual format.

Like Branan, Snodgrass said his band is getting ready to release some new material, including a DVD and an EP. The band is sitting on a huge backlog of songs and some of them are well overdue to be recorded. Still, playing live shows seems to be what Snodgrass lives for. Every time he plays, he has the same goal.

“When I go to play music somewhere, I go to make someone smile or cry,” Snodgrass said.

What: Jon Snodgrass and Chad Price of Drag the River perform with Cory Branan.

When: Monday at 9 p.m.

Where: The Sandbar in Vail.

Cost: $7 at the door, includes a free keg between 8 and 9 p.m.

More information: Call 970-476-4314 or visit

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