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Michelle Branch Is Happy To Stay A Country Girl

Of the Oakland Press

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Michelle Branch plans to reveal a bit about her future this weekend at the GM River Days festival.

The singer-songwriter is “in that last stage of tweaking stuff ... where you go crazy trying to fix all the little things” for her next album, “Everything Comes and Goes,” which she hopes to have out before the end of the year. It’s her third solo outing and first since 2003’s “Hotel Paper,” but Branch, 24, says it follows the country course of “Stand Still, Look Pretty,” the Grammy Awardnominated 2007 debut by her group The Wreckers.

“I think the Wreckers for me was just so much fun and I felt so at home with it that I really feel that’s my place now,” explains Branch, an Arizona native who now resides in Nashville with her husband and their two-year-old daughter, Owen Isabelle. The new album features a duet with country star Dwight Yoakam on the song “Long Goodbye.”

“It’s more singer-songwriter than, I would say, country, but I think the term ‘country’ is all relative now. There’s really no room for singer-songwriters anymore on radio, so I think this is a natural step. It really feels like the right place to be.”

The Wreckers, however, are apparently not the right place at the moment for Jessica Harp, Branch’s partner in the group. Branch says that she would have preferred to record a second Wreckers album rather than another solo outing, but Harp wanted to get her solo career back on track, and Branch reluctantly acceded to her wishes.

“Jessica had never had a chance to do her solo record, so I understand where she’s coming from,” Branch says. “I’d been there and saw that it was kind of overrated; it’s much more fun to play in a band with your friends. But she’s really just wanting to stand on her own two feet and prove herself and not be that other chick in the Wreckers with Michelle. That wasn’t going to get any better if we kept making records and sweeping it under the rug.

“It was sad, but we’re both in a great place now, both making solo records. It was kind of left open, like maybe we’ll come back to it, so we’ll see.”

Michelle Branch performs a free show at 8 p.m. Saturday (June 21) on the Bank of America National Stage at GM River Days on the Detroit Riverfront in downtown Detroit. Call (313) 963-8418 or visit www.detroitriverdays.com.

Web Site: www.detroitriverdays.com

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