Louisville, KY. Tyrone Cotton biography
Tyrone’s earliest memory of musical revelation was listening to the raspy inspirational voice of his grandfather, the Reverend Cleveland Roosevelt Williams. Cotton picked up his first guitar at a young age and strummed to the sounds of popular rock and blues artists. Later, he was influenced by Jerry Garcia (“Garcia was always creating melodies”) and studied Hendrix, Buddy Guy, and Mississippi John Hurt who intrigued Tyrone with his “ finger pickin and soft wispy voice.” Into his early 20’s, Tyrone began playing in clubs and dives, one of his first being Mr. C’s in Bowling Green, KY. Playing much original work now, he still covers many singer/songwriters who influenced him in the early years; he will often play a Bob Dylan or Sam Cooke song at a show.
Tyrone began writing his own songs as his style and voice developed; not pure blues but tossed with folk, fused with a little jazz, and stroked with rock. A sound unique and original as any you’ll hear. On any given night Cotton will interpret the lyrical poetry of Langston Hughes. Langston-inspired work such as Fire, Early Evening Quarrel, and Same in Blues flow with ease through Cotton’s own raspy sound and identifiable guitar voice. “Hughes worked hard and worked to a degree of excellence. The poems already have a lyrical quality. I admire his discipline of legwork, making the poems accurate. He was quite the student of history … he can take you to different worlds all historically accurate. And I find him courageous. He wasn’t afraid to be honest about where he was coming from.”
Cotton has played throughout the country and in Japan. He’s played venues at South By Southwest in Austin and BB King’s Blues Club in Times Square, NYC. Other notable performances include: Motherlodge Festival (Louisville and NYC); opened for Grammy nominated, James Hunter; opened for the legendary Johnny Winter , Eric McFadden and the Blind Boys of Alabama; headlined at the famous Turning Point outside Manhattan; sat in with Lady Rizzo at The Darby and Joe’s Pub in NYC and in Louisville; sat in with the legendary composer/singer David Amram and played on the West coast and the Southern Discomfort tour in Florida with poets Ron Whitehead and Frank Messina, and Tony Broy.
Currently Tyrone is compiling original material as a follow-up to his last recording produced by Danny Kiely. Musicians joining him on those sessions included the late great, Tim Krekel and legendary, Steve Ferguson. “I’m working on new angles and approaches to songs. I’m intrigued by the process of having a story already in place and chiseling it down into a song; looking outside but still looking in. Paying attention to craft. There is something I like about the new songs.” In the next year you can catch Tyrone throughout the USA (including frequent gigs in Austin, Louisville and NYC) , a planned tour to Japan in 2011/2012, and a hopeful tour of festivals in the US and Europe.
“I don’t really have a message, but I wanna’ say what I wanna’ say.” –Tyrone Cotton
Written by Jason Sitzes