Though a couple of years have passed since the release of his heralded debut, local singer-songwriter Cory Branan is back in the studio working on the follow-up to The Hell You Say with a host of local musicians. Branan began recording the new record a few weeks ago at Young Avenue Sound and Easley-McCain Recording with local producers Jeff Powell and Kevin Cubbins, respectively. Branan says the record will be more of a rock record than his debut, but it will mix full-band recordings with acoustic tracks. Among the myriad local musicians who've already contributed to sessions are drummer Robert Barnett, bassist Mark Stuart, Snowglobe's Tim Regan, Lucero's Ben Nichols and Roy Berry, and Big Star's Jody Stephens. Branan says he expects to finish recording in mid-September with a release slated on MADJACK Records for November or December. The record will likely feature new arrangements of familiar Branan live-show staples such as "Girl Named Go" and "Prettiest Waitress in Memphis." But you don't have to wait for the new record to catch up with Branan, who is featured in this month's Memphis Acoustic Music Association concert Saturday, August 21st, at Otherlands Coffee Bar. Tickets for the event are $12 and are available at Otherlands and at Davis-Kidd. Branan will also play the Hi-Tone Café this week on Tuesday, August 24th.
Music news and notes: Branan isn't the only prominent local artist in the studio this month. Onetime labelmates Lucero have been holed up with Jim Dickinson at the renowned producer's north Mississippi studio working on the follow-up to their national breakthrough, That Much Further West. The band is also planning split-singles with former Memphis band Loggia (to be released on local punk label Soul is Cheap) and former tourmates Against Me!. In preparation for a fall tour, the band is holding a "mix tape" contest in which fans can make the band cassette or CD mixes to listen to on the road, with the band's faves winning prizes. For more information on this, see Lucero's Web site at Lucerofamily.net Saliva's third album for major-label Island Def Jam, Survival of the Sickest, hits stores on Tuesday. The metal band's latest was partly recorded in Memphis at producer Paul Ebersold's 747 Studios. The band returns home next week to headline the 93XFest concert, sponsored by modern-rock radio station 93X, Saturday, August 28th, at Mud Island Amphitheater. Saliva will be joined by fellow Memphis-connected bands Skillet and Breaking Point, as well as out-of-towners Earshot and Shinedown. The show is part of a season-long national tour by Saliva to support the new record, which will also see them sharing the stage with Kid Rock and ZZ Top on other stops And speaking of Kid Rock, that ubiquitous genre-leaper makes an appearance on A Bothered Mind, the newest release from north Mississippi blues icon R.L. Burnside, which was released by the Fat Possum label this week. Also appearing on the album is California indie rapper Lyrics Born of the Quannum Projects collective Former Stax singer Mavis Staples also has a new release, Have a Little Faith, hitting stores this week, released by blues label Alligator Records Makeshift Music's flagship band, Snowglobe, release their second album, Doing the Distance, next Tuesday, August 24th. The band will celebrate the release with a show at the Hi-Tone Café Saturday, August 28th Also in stores August 24th is Grace: Legacy Edition, a re-release of the 1994 album by late Memphis-connected singer Jeff Buckley. This new version of Buckley's most popular record will include a second disc of rarities, as well as a DVD of music videos and studio and live performances Listen for The Gamble Brothers Band this week on the locally produced, internationally syndicated radio show Beale Street Caravan. The Caravan will broadcast a performance by the band from the "Out of Doors" concert series at New York's Lincoln Center. The program can be heard locally on WEVL-FM 89.9 at noon Tuesdays and on WUMR-FM 91.7 at 6 p.m. Wednesdays In other Archer Records news, the Gamble Brothers Band will be making its first appearance outside the United States next month at Canada's Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, while singer-songwriter (and Beale Street Caravan producer) Sid Selvidge will be following the Gambles with his own performance at the Lincoln Center series August 20th. Classical guitarist Lily Afshar returns to Memphis after a summer of international performances. Her first Memphis concert of the fall is scheduled for The Dixon Gallery and Gardens on Sunday, September 12th MemphisRap.com is hosting auditions through the end of the month for a planned urban-music showcase. For more information, go to showcase.MemphisRap.com The legendary 1973 Wattstax concert film, which was re-released in theaters last year, will make its national television debut Tuesday, September 7th, on PBS as part of the network's P.O.V. documentary series. The broadcast will coincide with a DVD release of the film Cooper-Young's Goner Records will host an art opening for Alabama-based folk artist Butch Anthony this month. The opening, set for 7 p.m., Friday, August 27th, will feature music from local bluesman Robert Belfour.