I’ve been following Danielia Cotton since last year when fellow traveler Kandia Crazy Horse suggested that I get schedule her as part of the inaugural season of Boldaslive. Unfortunately, lack of financing forced me to cut the season short so I never got a chance to host her. Nonetheless, I’ve been anticipating her latest album and, I’m happy to say, her talent and chops enables her to live up to the album’s title. She is, indeed, a rare child.
This Black woman from the self-described “small, white town” of Hopewell, New Jersey has put together an album that readily brings to mind southern rock. The NY Times music critic Jon Pareles said recently that her “blaring, guitar-charged, Southern-rooted rock that links her to Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Black Crowes, Janis Joplin, Aerosmith and the rockier side of Bonnie Raitt.” What’s so very cool about this kind of retro vibe is that it isn’t a gimmick: She’s fully at home in this music and she sings with an undeniable authenticity.
It’s pretty evident that she can belt. But, she restrains herself just as much as she cuts loose, so that the effect is that she never overdoes the big, blow-you-out-the-room, kill-a-song-with unnecessary-melisma voice that’s so common among most of today’s commercial R&B singers. Her control also ensures that she never overshadows her songs. Also as evidence that she’s coming from an entirely different place, check out “Make U Move” where she says, “I don’t need no nasty moves to win you over”. After all, if you’ve have a great voice, learned an instrument and can write a strong song AND can lead a band, why would you need to shake your ass?
Speaking of songs, there’s lots of good ones to be heard on this album. Standouts include: “Bang My Drum,” “Rare Child,” “Let it Ride” (my favorite) and the aforementioned “Make U Move”. Crank the volume on the track below and then pay your $10 on iTunes or wherever you buy music. If she’s in your area, definitely check her out live.