Cotton is Still Cool

In One Room (Independent)

Tyrone Cotton

By Larry Alexander

At one point several years ago one of my sons' friends called me a name. I assumed that it was a compliment but one never knows - he called me a "cool breeze." Well, I finally have defined "cool breeze," and it is Tyrone Cotton.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I first placed this disc into my CD player, having not been acquainted with this local legend's recorded work. What I got was a voice that is almost indescribable, soulful, raspy, strong, but not perfect - but it's not perfect in a really great way. The songs herein can be loosely described bluesy soft rock but featuring Cotton's own unique approach. Actually, I'd say they are more ballad-like than anything else, but from a guy who has years of perfecting his craft and classical training on his resume.

Cotton wrote or contributed to the majority of the cuts, but did include one Bob Dylan cover, "Most of the Time," and a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Sweet Virginia," from 1972's Exile On Main Street. This sort of sets the tone for the album - like the Dylan song and this Stones semi-deep cut, the lyrics to all of the songs here are worth a read even without the accompanying music. But make no mistake - the accompanying music is likewise remarkable. What a wonderfully eclectic blend this is; it is music to listen to intently, music to sway to and music to dance to.

Cotton's take on "Sweet Virginia" is nothing but soulful and is beautifully performed. But the best original lyric here is found in "As Befits a Man." The song defines the "perfect funeral" with lyrics such as, "I want a fish-tail hearse and sixteen fishtail cars."

Also, one can find some pretty fine bass on "This Time," and "Evening Song" is almost an adult lullaby. There is not a mediocre cut on this entire CD. Produced by Danny Kiely, In One Room is just one solid song after another. Cotton grew up here in Louisville and became interested in music by hearing his grandfather, a Baptist minister, sing. Cotton's mother loved gospel and R&B and his first concert experience was BB King, who thrilled and captivated the young Tyrone - and motivated him to learn the guitar. All these influences explain the soulful nature of Cotton's art.

A little wine, your significant other, a cold rainy evening and Tyrone Cotton: That, my friends, is a winning combination.

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