Cotton Jones has the warmth of a band from a bygone era — they’re neo-hippies whose unadorned, self-assured style contradicts what you’d expect from some Maryland upstarts in their early 20s.
A married couple, Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw, is the creative force behind the band, having created Cotton Jones after their stint in celebrated indie group Page France. They’ve unintentionally modeled themselves in part after the historic coupling of Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra in the late 1960s.
“I wouldn’t really say we were kind of trying to mold something from that feeling, but I guess you inevitably are influenced by what you’re listening to,” McGraw admits, referencing the “Lee and Nancy” album. “It just naturally comes out in our writing.”
While their sound has a laid-back vibe that’s reminiscent of alt-country and the likes of Mazzy Star, McGraw says their latest album, “Tall Hours in the Glowstream” has a varied sound due to the number of locations it was recorded in — from Athens, Georgia, to Fenwick Island, Delaware, to Cumberland, Maryland.
“We just had a lot of days when the band would come down from Maryland [to Athens] and we’d spend 48 hours just recording and recording and recording and then we’d just eventually listen to it and then scrap half of it and start over again,” says McGraw. “It was really inconsistent, which I think really influenced the sound — being in many different places influenced it more than just being in Georgia.”
So happy together
“We’re pretty used to it; as long we’ve been touring and playing music, we’ve been a couple, so that’s just kind of always what it’s been,” says McGraw on spending so much time with her husband. “We just got married last October, so it really hasn’t been that different. I think everyone’s kind of used to that dynamic.”