Cumberland, Maryland duo, Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw have been making music together for what sounds and feels like lifetimes. Honestly, in this lifetime, it already seems to us like forever, which is exactly how long the tiny Appalachian city of 21,000 claims people have inhabited their tranquil digs. I suppose it’s no wonder, then, that the intimate songs they sing transcend time. We were very happy to host them with their full touring band in the studio recently as Cotton Jones (formerly known as Cotton Jones Basket Ride). You may also be familiar with Nau and McGraw (they’re sweet on each other) dressed down as Page France.
Clever and, at times, poignant lyrically, Cotton Jones deftly lulls, raining down a soft, enveloping trance, offering up fertile ground for contemplation and reflection.
Cotton Jones’ album versions combine their effective simplicity with a healthy slathering of reverb to hazily emphasize the band’s era-bending quality, if not throwing them back to the mid sixties with walking boots on.
These live studio versions, a bit more dry, sound like they could have been recorded in a quaint-yet-spacious, high-ceilinged, wood-floored town hall in the late 1800′s or early 1900′s, while ladies and gentlemen trotted past, decked for Sunday best, in horse-drawn carriages. This collection of songs is amazing. Some Strange Rain blends the feelings of flowing rivers with an awesome interlude of narration and rythmic bayonette drums. Cotton and Velvet somberly haunts, echoing dreams within dreams. While it’s challenging to characterize any one of these tunes as better than the other, Home Is Where, the quietly sassy, traveling-truth-inspired duet, repeatedly grabs my active fancy.
Listen to the Exclusive Luxury Wafers Live Tracks (option/click to download):