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Cotton Jones - The River Strumming LP


Suicide Squeeze Records

The American singer-songwriter tradition has always been tethered to a rustic austerity, the sort of front-porch authenticity that suggests an age where home electronics are still considered luxury items. But there's also the ongoing influ- ence of Bob Dylan and The Band's Basement Tapes-that strange and beloved document of the magic that happens when private experiments with the folk template flourish into layered and lush songs-and it's genesis through informal recording sessions. In our modern age, these kinds of casual DIY constructions are perhaps the more honest contribution to the Americana lineage-the true homespun artform.

When Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw struck out on their own in the wake of the dissolution of their beloved indie-folk outfit Page France, they continued their songwriting practice with a new project called Cotton Jones Basket Ride. As legend has it, Nau and McGraw were working on the material for their debut full-length Paranoid Cocoon (2009) when they realized they had an entire album's worth of odds-and-ends from various recording sessions. The resultant album-The River Strumming-was released in 2008 on St. Ives in a batch of 300 unique hand-packaged LPs. As the label advertised it back in the day, the band "initially set out to make a cohesive record, and made just the opposite." Like The Basement Tapes, The River Strumming is a document of a band explor- ing possibilities without the weight of expectation. The band would eventually condense their name to Cotton Jones and make a name for themselves in the indie world for their fusion of dreamy folk and psychedelic baroque pop. But in the beginning, there was this weird and wonderful collection of songs made by musicians who were enjoying the private process of finding their path. Suicide Squeeze is proud to present a 15th-anniversary vinyl reissue of this long out-of-print classic with updated artwork by Kayleigh Montgomery-Morris.

1 It Comes to Me Now
2 To Death with You
3 Chewing Gum (Concrete Tooth Mix)
4 The Spinning Wheel
5 ... And Again, She's a Window Hog
6 Midnight Monday, and a Telescope
7 I Was Stoned By the Choir
8 It May Never Pass Again
9 If I Ever Grow That Old
10 I Do What I Do: Exist & Pass
11 I Don't Suppose