Some may say that Danielia Cotton’s music belongs more in a discussion of soul, funk or rock than in a blues series—but the fact is, all of these genres spring from the blues an an ultimate source; & at various points in the past, no distinction was made between what we now call “soul” music & what we now think of as “blues”—the category “rhythm & blues” included Ray Charles & Ike & Tina Turner right alongside Howlin’ Wolf & John Lee Hooker.
& however one might quibble about genres in terms of Cotton’s music, there is one main point that can’t be disputed: this is powerful stuff indeed. Indeed, Cotton’s singing has been favorably compared with Tina Turner’s & Janis Joplin’s (two truly great artists who also formed a synthesis between blues, rock & “R&B.”) Cotton came from a musical family—her mother is jazz singer Wenonah Brooks, & jazz singers Jeannie Brooks & Carol Brooks-Meyners are her aunts. Danielia Cotton was given an acoustic guitar as a gift when she was 12 years old, & she took to the instrument quickly; she also began singing with her mother & aunts in a gospel group around this time. Her great vocal abilities won her a full scholarship to Bennington College, where she focused on theater, & she studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London during her senior year.
Music became her career, however; Cotton released a self-titled EP in 2004 thru Hip Shake Music, & then she released her debut full-length album, Small White Town in 2005 on the Thirty Tigers label. This was followed this up with Rare Girl on Adrenaline in 2008 & the Live Child EP in 2009 on Cottonwood. A new album, The Gun in Your Hand, is scheduled for a release next month.
In the context of her own band, Cotton plays rhythm guitar, & switches between a Gibson jumbo (acoustic) & a Fender Telecaster Thinline (semi-hollow Tele!) depending on the overall sound she’s seeking. I do notice she's playing a Rickenbacker on the cover of Small White Town.
Hope you enjoy this powerful music!
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