Cory Branan is an anomaly within the world of the contemporary singer-songwriter.

First off, he claims to never play a song the same way twice, a trait that places him closer to the company of improvisational artists than it does to your average singer-songwriter, who comes up with an arrangement of his song, nails it down and sticks with it, more or less, till the end of his life and/or career.

Secondly, Branan came to folk-based music not via the more common channels, but through an obsession with metal, and in particular, Black Sabbath. In fact, Branan played guitar in a Sabbath cover band for a bit, according to his bio.

How all of this leads one to emerge with a unique take on the Southern singer-songwriter tradition is unclear, but what undeniably shimmers in the light is the fact that Branan is an irreverent, unconventional, and therefore, powerful songwriter and performer.

Branan performs at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk St.). He'll be joined by guest openers Dave Hause (of Loved Ones) and Shane Sweeney (of Two Cow Garage). Tickets are $8 advance, $10 day-of-show (Ticketmaster, at the door).

-- Jeff Miers