What the Press Had to Say about the "Corndaddy" CD:
Performing Songwriter Magazine, 7/2001:
From loose redneck ravers to slow, sprawling ballads, Corndaddy’s self-titled debut is straightforward fun. This is rock-tinged country (or vice-versa) as obviously influenced by the Jayhawks and the Old 97s as by Merle, Willie, and Waylon. They have set themselves apart from much of the No Depression crowd by their gleeful and complete lack of irony, self-importance, and high-lonesome angst. The two songwriter/vocalists, Jud Branam and Kevin Brown, both sound as if they’re grinning through every line they utter. Branam’s delivery and timbre are reminiscent of Jay Farrar, and Brown has the sort of thin, friendly voice that calls to mind REM’s Mike Mills. But both Brown and Branam’s lyrics and style are distinctly their own and complementary to each other.
Their songs are alternately rambling Midwestern complaints, Appalachian ballads, and early ’80s Athens, Georgia, rockers—always fun and always authentic. Corndaddy’s musicianship is excellent and just loose enough to be real. Alan Pagliere provides fabulous, unintrusive banjo, and the rhythm section of Jerry Hancock on bass and Will Stewart on drums delivers a drunk-driving swagger. This is music produced for and from the sheer love of playing.
Brian McCollum, Detroit Free Press:
Yes, you have permission to use the phrase "country music" around Corndaddy.
Just don't overdo it.
With a sound that straddles the fertile ground between jangle-pop and roots rock, the Ann Arbor group elicits comparisons to such No Depression pioneers as Uncle Tupelo and the Jayhawks. As vocalist-songwriter Kevin Brown will gladly tell you, Buck Owens is right in there with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones on his list of youthful influences. But he's careful about the semantics.
"There's such a line that's drawn -- you say 'country' and people run the other way," he says. "For some people, country becomes a cartoon. You've got to put on a big oversized cowboy hat like Garth Brooks."
The rootsy sound beloved by Brown and his musical companions -- Jud Branam (guitar, vocals), Jerry Hancock (bass), Alan Pagliere (pedal steel) and Will Stewart (drums) -- is the rural vibe of country music before the label was co-opted by Alabama and Brooks.
Alan Goldsmith, Ann Arbor Observer:
The band was tight and loud, the audience drank and smoked cartons of cigarettes, and country music, alternative or not, was given another few days of life. Who could ask for more?
We were nominated for a couple of 2001 Detroit Music Awards. Didn't win. Winners and nominees are listed here.
"There's a whole bushel load o' bands doin' the alt-country/Americana thang, but few have that down home kinda sound like Corndaddy."
The Dean's List, Top 25 CDs of 2000,
Corndaddy-"Corndaddy" The catchiest sing-along choruses of the year and an electric bluegrass feel that is tough to resist. This Ann Arbor, MI band musically falls somewhere between Sixty Acres and Frog Holler, but has a sly wit as evinced by lines like "We're psychotic, quixotic, and in need of narcotics."
From the Observer Eccentric Newspapers:
"From basement jam sessions to the stage, Ann Arbor-based roots rockers Corndaddy carved a niche of their very own. Solidifying their line-up with Jud Branam on rhythm guitar, vocals; Kevin Brown on lead guitar, mandolin, harmonica, vocals; Jerry Hancock on bass; Alan Pagliere on pedal steel guitar, banjo and Will Stewart on drums, guitar and vocals, Corndaddy tossed out the Dylan and Stones covers for the truly original tones of home two years ago and haven't looked back.
When Brown joined the band in 1998, he brought with him the momentum of alt-country-tinged rock songs that would set the course for the Corndaddy to come. As the primary songwriters, he and Branam have taken the band in a fresh direction -- one which seems almost neglected in a music scene known for its hip hop and power pop."
Standard Time's website: "Describing themselves as "Ann
Arbor, Michigan's favorite practitioners of psychedelic chicken pickin',"
Corndaddy provide a near-perfect blending of equal parts rock and country
on this eponymous debut. Mostly rock beats are enhanced by a variety
of traditional country instrumentation (banjo, mandolin, pedal steel,
From the Detroit Free Press "Detroit Disc" section, by Terry Lawson: "In this 13-song CD, Alan Pagliere's free-style steel fretting sonically ignites the songcraft of writer-guitarists Jud Branam and Kevin Brown. Brown's lovely "Daylight" and the hip roadhouse honky-tonk of Branam's "Rumblestrip" are free of any no-depression artifice or irony; to be Corndaddy is to be secure in your twang thang."
From DJ Tim Pulice, WDET-FM, 101.9 in Detroit: "Great sound on the cd, fantastic songwriting and musicianship. Congratulations are certainly in order."
From the Detroit News "Band of the Week" Feature: "With a moniker like Corndaddy, one might expect a honky-tonkin’ country band, but these chaps actually rock more like Neil Young or the Rolling Stones than Garth Brooks or Wayne Hancock."
From the Ypsilanti Courier: "Corndaddy is a band from Ypsilanti that loves music. They play a peculiar blend of rock, country and folk they jokingly call "y'allternative." And they're a lot of fun."
From the Great Lakes Twang Web site: "I've seen this band live a few times, and they are fantastic. They have a great energy that comes out showing that not only are they having fun, but they want you to have fun as well, and will give their all to do that. Jud Branam's voice is perfect for the songs, in fact, perfect for the band, and Kevin Brown's harmonies fit in extremely well (his gritty tones complement Branam's melodic qualities). Guitar sounds are great to say the least, and the supplemental instruments (fiddle, banjo, steel) fill in extremely well."
From the Alt-Country Tab website from Great Britan: "The first thing I noticed over the album was that the two songwriters have distinct styles which while complementary, lend themselves to individual analysis. I couldn't help but compare the Kevin Brown tracks to early Jayhawks songs, the song Daylight and Landfill Mountain could have lived quite happily on Blue Earth. Jud Branam's songs reminded me more of the Old 97's, with a sense of fun showing itself in songs like Rumblestrip and Just In It For The Money. Throughout the album the musicianship is of a polished standard ... the songs' melodies are the strength of this band, with the beautiful Peace of Mind and Friday The 13th sticking in my head."
And from the Alt-Country Netherlands site: "A lot of bands make albums with a great start to hide lack of quality. Corndaddy is the opposite. They start slow, but grow after the first songs with some highlights later..."
From a Detroit News feature on rising country star Anita Cochran: "Corndaddy: This rising alt-country outfit from Ann Arbor is fronted by singer/songwriters Kevin Brown and Jud Branam and textured by the steel guitar of Alan Pagliere."