Album Review: Tall Hours In the Glowstream by Cotton Jones
Fairly Good, Based on 3 Critics
AllMusic - 70 Based on rating 7/10
Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw's second post-Page France outing finds the Cumberland, MD duo adopting a more free-form, psychedelic foundation for their unique brand of indie Americana. 2009’s Paranoid Cocoon found the pair awash in a dreamy, coastal twilight, and while Tall Hours in the Glowstream continues to explore the world through that same reverb-drenched, Galaxie 500-esque haze, there’s a land-locked, Midwest sensibility that permeates standout cuts like “Somehow to Keep It Going”, with its “All Tomorrow’s Parties”-inspired floor tom and tambourine, and the Motown-meets-Porter Wagoner shimmy of opener “Sail of the Silver Morning. ” It’s a solid, warm, and wonderful record through and through, though one that requires a heightened level of comfort with mid-tempo balladry -- the offbeat, horn-driven instrumental “Goethe Nayburs” offers a brief respite.
Michael Nau of Cotton Jones sounds like he's aged 40 years since his tenure as the frontman of Page France. That band pushed his boyish vocals front-and-center, most notably on 2005's Hello, Dear Wind, and he sang almost-hushed heart-on-sleeve lyrics about love, loss, and devotion. If the Michael Nau of Page France was the young man immersed in wide-eyed wonder while taking in everything around him, the Cotton Jones iteration of the same person proves to be wiser-but-wearier, stricken with a sense of longing and regret even when singing lines like, "How sweet it is to roll up on your floor.
The “glowstream” mentioned in this album’s title refers to a small creek in Cumberland, Md., home to the duo known as Cotton Jones. The stream serves as a major inspiration for the band’s sophomore LP -- it was a place to recharge batteries and get away from a year spent on the road promoting their debut, 2009’s Paranoid Cocoon. As with previous efforts, Cotton Jones revels in the easygoing intersection of country and pop, using the harmonies of the two principals -- Whitney McGraw and Michael Nau -- as the basic framework for their simple, hazy songs.