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JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE, TRISTEN
(Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie) There is something really enticing about soulful alt-country. In a town full of indie rock wannabes and hip art rock bands, Justin Townes Earle's visit is a breath of fresh air. It's going to be a boot-stomping, whiskey-sweating good time, y'all. ZIBBY PILLOTE
CORY BRANAN, AUDRA MAE
(Doug Fir, 830 E Burnside) It's been a long time since Tennessee singer/songwriter Cory Branan had a new record, but here's Mutt, Branan's first record in more than half a decade. Like much of Branan's work, it's a prickly listen at first, bouncing from whiskey-soured folk to hoarse, caffeine-amped rock to string-laden melodrama. But also like much of Branan's work, each of his iterations is worth listening to. With such a long time between records (Branan took time off to tend to his ailing father, and Mutt spent a year in label limbo before finding a home on Bloodshot), it's likely he had too much to say for one record, resulting in the album's seeming hodgepodge. But Branan remains an excellent songwriter and a riveting performer in perfect command of his increasingly gravelly delivery. And on a track-by-track basis, Mutt ends up a reeling, intoxicating listen. NED LANNAMANN