UDATE: Grammy-winning blues harmonica master James Cotton must cancel his performance on Thursday, December 11 at the YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts in Bay Shore. Cotton deeply regrets any inconvenience caused by this cancellation and looks forward to rescheduling as soon as possible. Please visit www.jamescottonsuperharp.com/tour for all tour information.
“Among the greats of all time…He blazes on harp with brilliant virtuosity.” –Rolling Stone
Grammy Award-winning harmonica master James “Mr. Superharp” Cotton and his band, touring in support of his latest Grammy-nominated CD, COTTON MOUTH MAN, will perform at the YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts in Bay Shore on Thursday, December 11, 2014. COTTON MOUTH MAN is a joyous celebration of Cotton’s 70 years as a professional musician (beginning at age nine). Cotton has recorded almost 30 solo albums, including two highly-regarded releases for Alligator in the 1980s, the famed Harp Attack! with Junior Wells, Carey Bell and Billy Branch in 1990 and the Grammy-nominated Giant in 2011. In February 2014, The Mississippi Arts Commission presented the blues music icon (and Tunica, Mississippi native) with the coveted Governor’s Award For Excellence In The Arts. Cotton received the 2014 Blues Music Award for Traditional Blues Male Artist Of The Year. He also won three Living Blues Critics’ Poll Awards including Blues Artist Of The Year (Male), Album Of The Year (for COTTON MOUTH MAN) and Most Outstanding Musician (Harmonica). Concert information is as follows:
Date: Thursday, December 11, 2014
Venue: YMCA Boulton Center for the Performing Arts
Address: 37 West Main Street
City: Bay Shore, NY
Ticket price: $45 reserved seating / $40 VIP member
James Cotton NPR Weekend Edition Feature:
COTTON MOUTH MAN was recorded in Nashville and produced by Grammy-winning producer/ songwriter/ drummer Tom Hambridge (Buddy Guy, Joe Louis Walker, Susan Tedeschi). The album is a trip through sounds and scenes from Cotton’s long and storied career. Cotton co-wrote seven of the tracks with Hambridge (who co-wrote five additional tracks). The songs were inspired by Cotton’s colorful and sometimes perilous life and his memories of the Mississippi Delta, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Memphis, Sun Records, Chicago, and Muddy Waters. Throughout the CD Cotton’s blast-furnace harmonica sound and larger-than-life personality are front and center.
Helping Cotton tell his stories and showcase his music are guests Gregg Allman, Joe Bonamassa, Ruthie Foster, Warren Haynes, Delbert McClinton, and Keb Mo. Other vocals are handled by Darrell Nulisch, who has been singing in Cotton’s band for many years. Members of Cotton’s road band — Jerry Porter, Noel Neal, and Tom Holland — are also on board for some songs. Forming the core of the backing band on the CD are Hambridge (drums), Rob McNelley (guitar), Chuck Leavell (keyboards), and Glenn Worf (bass). Tommy MacDonald and Colin Linden each add guitar to one track. Cotton, who after a bout with throat cancer turned the vocal duties over to others, was inspired by the sessions to return to the microphone, singing his own Bonnie Blue (the name of the plantation where he was born), and making COTTON MOUTH MAN the most personal, celebratory and just plain fun recording of his seven-decade career.
Cotton’s history is now the stuff of legend. Born on a cotton plantation in Tunica, Mississippi on July 1, 1935, he learned harmonica directly from Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller) as a small child. He toured with Howlin’ Wolf, recorded for Sun Records, and spent 12 years with Muddy Waters before stepping out on his own. Leading his own band, he rose to the very top of the blues and rock scenes, touring non-stop and earning his reputation as one of the most powerful live blues performers in the world, a man who could literally suck the reeds out of the harmonica from the pure force of his playing.
In June 2010, Cotton was honored at New York’s Lincoln Center, where his friends Hubert Sumlin, Pinetop Perkins, Taj Mahal, Shemekia Copeland and others paid tribute to him in an all-star concert. There James Cotton played to yet another sold-out venue, with fans cheering the man known worldwide as “Mr. Superharp,” an undisputed giant of the blues. He continues to tour nationally and internationally with his own band.
COTTON MOUTH MAN proves James Cotton’s high-compression blues harmonica playing is a true force of nature, while his songs and stories are a living history of the blues. As The San Francisco Examiner says, “James Cotton is an inimitable blues legend. His wailing harmonica blows them away. His improvisations on the blues are full of fun and good humor. The blues don’t get much better.”
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