Tyrone Cotton “Man Like Me”

The Record Assembly, 2023

A deeply personal record which brings together a host of musical styles.

Tyrone Cotton’s songs are a blend of folk, blues, soul, jazz and rock’n’roll. He’s been a fixture on the Louisville music scene for the past 30 years. His grandfather was a Baptist preacher, the Reverend Cleveland Roosevelt Williams, who sang with near-illegal charm, and who provided Cotton with his initial musical hero. Other influences include Smokey Robinson, Guy Clark, and Sam Cooke, although he draws his greatest inspiration from Bob Dylan, of whom Cotton says, “He’s the mountain!”

Although he’s played thousands of gigs, this record represents his debut release. This nine-song set has been beautifully produced by Josh Kaufmann and Ray Rizzo, who bring a warm and expansive sound to the album. It provides a stirring reflection on Cotton’s own experiences including love, loss, hope and resurrection. In places it’s reminiscent of a more polished Ted Hawkins, as well as Eric Bibb, which is no bad thing. The songs on the album were written at various times and as Cotton explains, “they aren’t part of a song cycle, there’s no overarching theme”.

The album commences with two bluesy songs ‘Across The Water‘ and ‘Slow Drag‘. ‘Standing Rag‘ provides a propulsive, ragtime tune, replete with some great brass. The soul and evocative ‘Go Back‘ echoes the soulfully articulates the need to revisit the past.

Rosie‘ delves into longing and wanting to relive a special experience that happened in the past. As Cotton explains, “You want it even when it’s gone, even when it’s been gone a long time. It’s a ghost, a dream that doesn’t fade. You can’t hold it, but you know what it is. Sometimes the experience came about through chance”.

Man Like Me‘ has a wonderful vocal performance from Cotton who, in the song, threatens he’s ‘a man that lives in the shadows‘. The album concludes with ‘Dreams‘ which is a beautiful ode to children and childhood. Cotton’s poured almost a lifetime of experience into this album and it’s been well worth the wait.


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