“Blind” finds Brannan upping the ante sonically and incorporating more instrumentation into his sound than on his previous album and EPs, which were more-stripped down affairs.
“I did want to go for a little bit more,” Brannan said about his expanded sound on the new songs. “I wanted to make something that was very me in my taste, style and aesthetic. I didn’t want to make the same thing over and over again. I wanted the chance to experiment with some more instruments and texture, which I haven’t really done, especially with things like drums and percussion. Those things have scared the shit out of me in the past. That was the goal, and I found a really good person to help me do it in a way that I could be really excited about.”
Still, when he hits the road for his U.S. tour, as well as the international dates that are sure to follow, Brannan will peform in his usual intensely personal solo-acoustic fashion.
“The core of what I do is getting up on stage and playing songs I wrote on acoustic guitar,” he said. “I think people really respond to that. The record is different from the live show, but people seem to be able to appreciate both. It’s important to keep it affordable. I don’t want to go in the hole bringing a whole band on tour with me. Someday it might be fun but not yet.”
Besides taking a band on the road, another thing you won’t be seeing Brannan do is performing on any events or festivals aimed specifically at LGBT audiences. He maintains he wants his career as a musician to stand on its own merits.
“It’s not that I avoid them,” he said about gay-themed events. “It’s just I like to do my own thing and a lot of times I feel sort of forced into a certain identity, the way that a lot of gay people feel identity is forced on them by straight people. I feel that from both sides. As a gay person, I’m expected to be or act or think or feel a certain way about certain things or certain people and, I don’t know ... I just feel like I’m an individual and I want to be recognized as an individual. I want gay people to be seen as more than just gay people. At least in my country, I feel like we’re in a time period where that can happen. I have certainly been involved in things involving equality and civil rights. Those things are important to me. But when it comes to the commercialism of sexual orientation, I’m not avoiding it but it’s not something I feel impassioned about. I’d rather do my thing.”
And you probably won’t be seeing Brannan act, like he did in the independent film “Short Bus,” any time soon either. But it’s not because he doesn’t want to. The demands of being an independent artist make acting impractical for him at the moment.
“I’ve put most of my time and energy into music right now,” Brannan said.
“It’s a little easier for me to run my own business and create my own work in that industry. Acting is a more-collaborative thing where you have to get hired by a whole lot of people. It’s not my style to wait around for opportunities so I keep forging my own path. [But] I would love to do more acting at some point.” n
Jay Brannan performs 8 p.m. July 20 at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St. For more information, call 215-222-1400 or visit www.jaybrannan.com.