“Cory Branan’s got an evil streak, and a way with words that’ll bring you to your knees/Oh he can play the wildest shows and he can sing so sweet,” Lucero sings on their track “Tears Don’t Matter Much,” a fitting tribute to their fellow outlaw Memphian. Branan, who has been aptly described as “a country boy with a punk-rock heart,” became enthralled with the music of John Prine in his early 20s, prompting him to return to his guitar and start writing songs. Since then, he has become renowned for the sort of sharp and incisive storytelling that made Prine an icon. A year before the release of his debut album, Branan was awarded the Phillips Award for Newcomer of the Year by the Memphis chapter of NARAS, a promising sign for the up-and-comer. Since then, he has emerged as a wise and witty songwriter, releasing several lauded albums over the past several years. In 2021, Branan signed with Blue Élan Records, a promising sign for fans who have been anxiously awaiting new material.