cottonjones.jpg
Cotton Jones, with The Parsons Red Heads, Quiet Life. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9 p.m. $8. Cotton Jones' second release, Tall Hours

"/>

Tonight: Cotton Jones at the Sunset, Van Morrison at the Gorge

cottonjones.jpg
Cotton Jones, with The Parsons Red Heads, Quiet Life. Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., 784-4880. 9 p.m. $8. Cotton Jones' second release, Tall Hours in the Glowstream, comes off like a twangier, more accomplished improvement upon the wispy folk strains of debut effort Paranoid Cocoon. The majority of the album hangs out somewhere in the indie folk realm -- strains of pedal steel and windy echo make "Man Climbs Out of the Winter" the closest Cotton Jones comes to conventional country music -- but just when you think the band has settled into some kind of sound, Michael Nau plops his drawl over a lounge jazz melody in "Dream on Columbia Street," or sings a song composed completely of "oohs" ("Soft Mountain Shake.") When Nau and bandmate Whitney McGraw put in the effort to buckle down and craft a real, honest-to-God song, Cotton Jones suddenly transforms from a rough sketch into a clearly defined individual. SARA BRICKNER

Van Morrison. The Gorge, 754 Silica Rd. N.W., Quincy, 628-0888. 6 p.m. $56-$356. All ages. Van Morrison is often regarded as stubborn, churning out album after album of the same countrified R&B rhythms he knows so well. But think about this: How many old bluesmen changed their sound over time? Very few. The best ones formed their sound early, stuck with it, and allowed it to evolve organically until their death. This is what Morrison's been doing since at least the 90s, but for some listeners the comfortable familiarity sounds like artistic stagnation. What they're looking for is the explosive, sweaty soul of "Caravan", the transcendence of "Cyprus Avenue", the good-time anthems "Brown-Eyed Girl" and "Wild Nights". But like Dylan, Van the Man's songs have always been rooted in tradition. He's continued to sound very much like Van Morrison because, well, like those other old bluesmen, it's impossible for him to sound any other way. BRIAN J. BARR
 
comments powered by Disqus

Friends to Follow