[04/17/2013] Blues COTTON.jpg

Blues harmonica legend James Cotton, whose new CD Cotton Mouth Man will be in stores on May 7, 2013, is featured on the cover of the current issue of Living Blues magazine. The 10-page cover story, written by blues scholar David Whiteis, takes an in-depth look at Cotton's entire career, including the new CD.

Cotton Mouth Man is a joyous celebration of Cotton's 69 years as a professional musician (beginning at age nine). 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 road band for many years.

The other 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.