Artist blog | Emily Barker on Cory Branan

Our favourite Australian songstress Emily Barker is on the road as part of the revival tour. It’s a five week European jaunt with a slew of other artists, full of collaboration, covers and singalongs.

Emily’s blogging about the tour for FFS (read her introduction). And here’s part two – an interview with Cory Branan.

Week 2 of The Revival Tour has seen us leave the UK and head out to Europe where we’ve played shows in Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark. Today I type from Munich, Germany. It’s a beautiful Autumn’s day and tonight we’re playing in an old warehouse to about 800 people. Since last time I wrote, the show has evolved significantly. This is what I love perhaps the most about The Revival Tour concept: the collaborative element. Each day when we arrive backstage at a venue, we grab our guitars, violins etc and seek out a space in which we can learn and share each other’s songs. So the show is now a constantly revolving platform of musicians where the lines that define where one act begins and ends, have become very blurred. During the show we all hang out behind the stage at the ready to jump up to sing a harmony, shake a tambourine, strum a guitar, bow a cello.

We’re in the thick of it now with 20 shows in a row and no more days off (we’re doing 33 shows in 36 days in total) but the energy is good and we’re currently all well after many of us, including myself, experienced what Cory Branan referred to as the “demon bug.” It’s pretty difficult to avoid getting ill when one person goes down due to all living in such close quarters and breathing recycled bus air as we sleep but for now, we’re firing on all cylinders and we’re amped for the show to come tonight which will feature a guest appearance from Ben Kweller.

I thought I’d focus each week in more detail on the songwriters of the tour. First up is Cory Branan…

Musical background:
“I was born in Memphis, Tennessee and grew up in Mississippi. As a young kid I was exposed to all the music from that region: gospel, country, soul and blues but also grew up glued to MTV like any other suburban hood rat. I started playing electric guitar in my early teens, mostly in terrible metal bands one of which was called Black Like Me (a black metal band) and then started writing songs when I was 25 when I discovered John Prine, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen and Townes. I recorded my first record when I was 26 called The Hell You Say.

Your Revival Tour experience:
“I got to do it in the states earlier this year and did the whole 5 week tour with Tommy Gabel (now Laura Jane Grace), Dan Andriano, Nathaniel Ratliff and obviously Chuck and the boys. So I was prepped for this European/UK one. The difference is that the bus is a little full and there’s not a lot of room to stretch out, also the crowds aren’t as wild, seems like they’ve got a bit more home training over here! Everybody has been really kind and enthusiastic, so it’s been a real pleasure. It’s the only time I’ve ever been sick like this on a tour. It almost laid me low but you know the individual sets are only 30 minutes and I think I could still play for 30 minutes if my clothes were on fire! So it’s all tolerable and now I’m thankfully better.

The Revival Tour is a great concept. I come from a songwriting world where playing in the round is very common, you either pass a guitar around, or you play one song and move around sort of thing, so am very used to this format. It’s very natural way to play music, very open ended. You come out all together, you play everyone songs and you don’t just get people showing up for the “headliner”. I think most people who know anything about The Revival Tour know that it’s going to be a non-stop 3 hour ride and to show up on time.”

“My new record Mutt has been out for a few months and this is my first tour on it in Europe and the UK. It’s released on Bloodshot Records, my debut with them. I ended up calling it Mutt because people ask what sort of music I play and it was the easiest way of explaining. I don’t feel beholden to any genre and I think this record shows that for better or worse.”

Something personal:
“I’m really excited to be over here where they have Tuna fish pizza! And now I’m well enough to eat one so please can you excuse me so I can go find one…”

Thanks for reading and I’ll be back in a couple of days with a write up and chat with Rocky Votolato.

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