January 19, 2011

Aaron Matthews is not pictured in this photo.

Cotton Jones make music to brood and sip whiskey to. Michael Nau’s honeyed, slightly raspy croon wraps around woozy organs and guitar strums like an old scarf, working a wonderful chemistry with the sweet coo of Whitney McGraw. Tall Hours channels the druggy haze and odd chemistry of Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra’s duets. Or to put it another way: this album sounds like “Some Velvet Morning” on codeine and bourbon.

There’s a bit more nuance than that, though. The band piece together their borderline psychedelic music from an intriguing melange of country rock instrumentation like pedal steel and more unconventional tools. Lyrically, Nau and McGraw work with the southern Americana milieu of Creedence, turning “Somehow To Keep It Going” into a rolling ode to the river. The melancholy “Man Climbs Out Of Winter” builds off acoustic twang and what sounds like one of the wooden frog noisemakers. Organs swim through Nau’s midday reveries on “Dream On Columbia Street,” like a tour through a man’s heart on a windy day.

Though the album’s best suited for fall weather, dust off Tall Hours off next time you’re trudging off to work. No guarantees, but a surprisingly well-preserved Nancy Sinatra just might appear.

Mp3: Cotton Jones-“Something to Keep it Going”
MP3: Cotton Jones-“Dream on Columbia St.”

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