The Big Sea is Chris Cotton\'s fourth full length album.
Shaping the world around us has been the role of countless inspired souls over the centuries, by making daring works that shed light on the complexity of life. In these times when artists of all types are creating new niches for themselves, one artist that should not and cannot be overlooked is American roots artist Chris Cotton.
Some people could call the album, The Big Sea, Americana, Deep Blues, Outlaw Hillbilly, Fierce Hokum, or straight American roots music. Chris Cotton doesn\'t want you to call it any of these things. Subtly defying genre seems to be Chris\'s forte these days, and if you were to ask him what to call his own music, he\'d probably say \"Call it whatever the hell you want.\"
Chris has been compared to legends like Leadbelly, and Tom Waits, which may give some a better picture of Mr. Cotton\'s overall approach to his songs where he emphasizes simplicity in form, yet complexity in style. Take the song The Gambler, obviously a nod to the great Blind Willie McTell, and ask yourself how can you get so many themes into two chords? In The Last Man, Chris chose sitar for an intro into an instrumental tour de force where the verse is in a 6/8 time signature that John Coltrane once called a \"musical straightjacket\". And this is a song about purgatory? No wonder Chris chose to record his hauntingly beautiful tribute to New Orleans, What Would You Do? adding it to the mix of emotional themes, such as love, sadness, loss, pride, and cynicism creating a social document that has no time and place, as it is as absolute, as it is specific.
The Big Sea is Mr. Cotton\'s answer to all that is good and just; and his scorn of all that is prejudicial and self-serving in this modern time. He is not in the business of making political statements and like all truly unique artists, his musical works address and examine humanity and its place in contemporary social structure without burdening the songs with ego-centric ideas or over-reverent applications. Chris still may call my examination of his work \"total and utter tripe\" though as he flatly told me that I could call it, \"Whatever the hell you want. Just don\'t call it blues.\"