Monday, September 06, 2010

Album Review: Cotton Jones - Tall Hours in the Glowstream

The new Cotton Jones album, Tall Hours in the Glowstream, takes its inspiration from a contemplative spot in the band’s home county of Cumberland, Md.; however, most of the album was recorded in a living room in Winterville, Ga. This separation most likely contributes to the album’s intimate, yet distant daydream-like sound.

The band combines elements from 50’s and 60’s pop, folk, and country for a sound that is most effectively described as Americana and puts it behind a hazy filter. The result is the songs that feel like fond memories. The percussion, from snare to slap stick, cuts through the haziness balancing the compositions and bringing the listener back to the present.

The album is centered around the gentle call and response between the bands two members, Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw. Their voices complement each other well; Nau’s voice is creaky and warm while McGraw’s has a refreshing coolness like a welcome breeze.

Most of Tall Hours in the Glowstream is relaxed. “Somehow to Keep it Going” sways easily back and forth with only a tambourine to keep the beat and “Man Climbs out of the Winter” meanders along at a wonderfully slow place thanks to some yawning steel guitar.

The album only starts to go awry at the end with “Goethe Nayburs,” a shambling New Orleans jazz interlude, and “Dream on Columbia Street,” a mysterious calypso. The sudden style shifts break the flow of the album.

These diversions, however, are short and overall Tall Hours in the Glowstream is quite enjoyable to listen to and should be a great accompaniment to the memories of summers past.

Cotton Jones will be playing Local 506 in Chapel Hill on October 2 with Pepper Rabbit.

Tall Hours in the Glowstream is available now from Suicide Squeeze Records.

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