What’s Left: 322 Days. 83 Bands.
Band #18: Cotton Jones
When/Where: October 7th, T.T. The Bear’s Place, Cambridge, MA
Expectations: I just want to hear “Gone the Bells”, a song I am deeply infatuated with. I’ve read some rave reviews from people who have seen them at festivals, so I expect something special.
Concert: Cotton Jones was playing to a fairly full venue on Thursday night when they took the stage looking like vagabonds coming from a freight train they just hitched cross country, almost like they had time traveled from some simpler time many years ago. Maybe it was the amount of jeans and certain hats that were worn, but all six band members had that “I’m a hardened traveler just playing my music” kind of look to them. Their look was fitting with their timeless music that plays like a hazy daydream with a timeline that spans generations. Their music has a lot of blues, americana, and folk aspects to it but I think it is far better to describe it as warming music steeped in tradition.
I thought they started off rather slow, but lead singer, Michael Nau’s cheeks turned ruby red as he was singing and his voice came on more forcefully than it does on their albums, instantly giving all their songs a new life. By the third song, the audience was spontaneously dancing along. Any band that can get the usually static Boston crowd to dance must be doing something very very right. Each song they played took me a while to recognize because it was like they took the song out of that hazy daydream, eliminating the lo-fi qualities that ensconces their recorded songs, and made those songs exist in a real life. It was a really cool but subtle change that made all the difference. Whitney McGraw’s accompanying vocals were just as soft and dreamy as one could hope, and I watched some of the younger males in the crowd take out their cameras just to capture a few pictures of her.
The highlight was easily the closing song “Somehow To Keep It Going” which starts of slow with a simple kick drum beat, a tambourine, and a guitar and then surprisingly erupted into a full on sing your heart out chorus of “Come on baby let the river roll on” that the whole band sang and carried on for some time with such energy that I never wanted it to end. The band turned into a circle facing one another as they all carried on together letting that final river of sound wash over us all.
Concert Afterglow: Completely impressed. Their music was nothing short of beautiful and that energy they brought to the live show won me over.
Recommendation: This is a band that you must know, I highly suggest digging into their music and if you like it see them live.