Grammy Award winning Blues harmonica player, singer, and songwriter James Cotton will perform Friday, February 27, 2015 at Montpelier Arts Center, in Laurel, MD. Cotton’s spirit and sound have made him a living musical legend. He is known for bringing his fiery mastery of the Blues harmonica to every magnificent performance.
Cotton’s solos are forceful with a distinctive wail and a fat-toned style. He is a true genius on the harmonica and considered a virtuoso of the Blues. Once he starts bending those stinging high notes shivers will run down your spine.
In 2006, Cotton was inducted into the Blues Hall Of Fame. He has also won, or participated in projects winning, ten Blues Music Awards. Cotton won a Grammy in 1996 for Best Traditional Blues Album for Deep in the Blues. Most recently, in 2014, he was nominated for Best Instrumentalist in the Harmonica category at the Blues Music Awards.
Known as the ultimate showman, Cotton’s career is unrivaled when it comes to the musical greats he has graced the stage with over the years. He began his career playing harmonica in Howlin’ Wolf’s band during the early 1950s. Muddy Waters was so impressed he recruited Cotton to come to Chicago and join his band. Water’s made Cotton the band leader. In 1977 Cotton played on Muddy Waters’ Grammy Award winning album Hard Again.
Cotton was touring with Janis Joplin when he decided it was time to start pursuing a solo career and ended up forming the James Cotton Blues Band in 1967. Over the years he has also worked with the Grateful Dead, B.B. King, Santana and Johnny Winter, to name but a few. His latest album, Cotton Mouth Man, was a Grammy Award nominee and included guest appearances by musical greats Gregg Allman, Joe Bonamassa, Keb Mo, Ruthie Foster, Chuck Leavell, Delbert McClinton, Warren Haynes, and Colin Linden.
Cotton says he first became interested in music when he heard Sonny Boy Williamson on the radio as a kid. Williamson mentored the young Cotton and eventually left his band in Cotton’s hands. “He just gave it to me. But I couldn’t hold it together ’cause I was too young and crazy in those days an’ everybody in the band was grown men, so much older than me,” said Cotton reflecting on the event. He really loved Williamson and spoke of him in an interview with PBS saying, “I just watched. If he played it tonight, I played it tomorrow. I watched everything and in the end I wanted to be just like Sonny Boy. I watched every move he made, every word he said.”
Tickets for the concert are $30 and there is a 10% discount if you are a Montpelier Arts Center member or a senior. Montpelier Arts Center has a new ticket subscription plan. If you purchase tickets for any six jazz, folk, or blues concerts you get a seventh concert free ($25 value). Call 301-377-7800 or 410-792-0664 for more details. To purchase tickets on line click here.
The Montpelier Arts Center offers a wide variety of arts programs, click here for more information. Whether you are interested in exploring the visual arts, music, dance, theater or written word this wonderful facility encourages enthusiastic spectators, eager students, or local artists to develop and share their work. James Cotton’s performance brings to a close all the fabulous exhibitions for Black History Month at Montpelier. To receive email updates about special events, programs, and performances, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.