After the 2010 release of Perch Patchwork, it was as clear as Oregon’s Crater Lake that Chicago natives Maps & Atlases were slowly transitioning from math rock to mountain pop. (Lead singer Dave Davison has the mountain-man beard to prove it.) Yet they didn’t lose any technical savvy as a result. In fact, on their latest record Beware and Be Grateful, they successfully incorporated tastefully melodic guitar tapping, finger picking and intricate leads into mature pop songs. To hear these elements recorded is one thing, but to see them come together live is pure mountaineer ear and eye candy. Americana storyteller Cory Branan brings his own seasoned songs to the table. Branan’s performances exemplify the unexpected twists and turns of a good story’s plot, as he often changes tempo on a whim and dynamically shifts his vocals phrase by phrase. Both artists have meticulously refined their songwriting craft — perhaps they had to blaze a new trail and climb a mountain to do so.