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BLACK BAYOU MUSIC, LLC
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Poco’s Paul Cotton is a living, breathing, rock and roll Legend.
Over four decades as the cornerstone lead guitarist, vocalist and songwriter in the seminal country-rock band of its time has cemented Paul Cotton's place in history as one of the defining voices of a band that gave birth to an entire genre of music. Paul's pioneering fusion of blues-based, rock guitar tone with country music had a distinct influence on bands like The Eagles, America and Crosby Stills and Nash, as well as the dominant singer/songwriters of the day (Dan Fogelberg, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne). Even today, within the burgeoning Americana movement, it's not hard to find bands that owe a debt of gratitude to Paul's pioneering work in what many consider to be the band that defined country-rock for all who followed in their footsteps.
Paul Cotton came to Poco in the wake of Jim Messina's early departure from Poco in 1970. Paul's band Illinois Speed Press had relocated to Hollywood from Chicago and released two albums produced by James Guercio (Chicago, Buckinghams). Paul had already written many of the songs he brought with him when he joined the band. Paul brought a driving edge to the music that other bands who flirted with the same marriage of styles lacked - and culminated in the record that's considered by most to be their masterpiece, A Good Feelin' To Know, just two years later. The frustration of watching other, lesser bands achieve greater success took its toll on the band over the years as founders and Buffalo Springfield alumnus Richie Furay and Jim Messina left to pursue other projects, and future Eagles bassists Randy Meisner and Timothy B. Schmit both eventually moved on, as well. In fact, Paul and instrumentalist Rusty Young were the defining constants in a seemingly ever-shifting lineup of musicians who came and went "through the years and the changes" (to steal a line from Paul's song Living In The Band). Ironically, the band achieved their greatest commercial success in the wake of the rash of departures in 1977, with the release of their Legend album, containing the hit songs Crazy Love and Paul's signature song, Heart Of The Night. The band enjoyed continued commercial success through the remainder of the seventies and into the eighties with songs like Days Gone By, Midnight Rain, Indian Summer and Under The Gun (all written by Paul Cotton).
In an interview in Sound Waves magazine some years ago, Paul declared "I expect to be just like B.B. King - I want to play until I physically just can't do it anymore." Even in the wake of Paul's departure from the band, he continues to be a force to be reckoned with, both on stage and in the studio - he's released three solo albums: Changing Horses, Firebird and When The Coast Is Clear, all during his years with the band. His newest album - 100% PAUL COTTON has just been released with rave reviews, and he's preparing to ramp up his already full schedule of concert appearances in support of the record.
With the recent announcement of Rusty Young's lineup of Poco retiring from the road in February of 2015, the news of Paul's return to the concert stage is no doubt music to the ears of fans of the band who are already feeling the void left by his absence. Paul ventured out with founding Poco frontman Richie Furay in May of 2013 to rave reviews, and fans of Paul (and the band) have been clamoring to see more of him. Certainly, the twinkle in his eye hasn't abandoned him, and his voice remains a classic, instantly identifiable instrument. The man once dubbed "King Cotton" by none other than George Harrison of the Beatles still has a lot left to say.
Legends are few and far between - but history has proven that Paul Cotton is the real thing. This Legend is definitely alive and show now signs of slowing down.