Laura Monk & High Cotton
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Laura Monk & High Cotton

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | INDIE

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Folk

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Americana and folk-country act Laura Monk & High Cotton have a high-energy and upbeat attitude combined with terrific lyrics and beautifully crafted instrumentation on the band's latest release "Pictures."
The album begins with the terrific "Songs For A Mountain Weekend" and is followed by the country-flavored "Crazy To Sing."
However, the album really begins to come into its own with the beautiful title track "Pictures." Laura Monk's vocals have the earnestness of Karen Carpenter and the depth of Trisha Yearwood in this winning musical performance. "Music City Lights" has much of the same charm.
The song "12 - String" has a cool Shawn Colvin meets Lucinda Williams vibe that works on all levels. But the biggest surprise on the album is the melodic and memorable "Dollar Store." Concert audiences will eat this song up faster than Slurpees at 7-11.
Not everyone wants to look at other people's pictures, but music lovers will continue to visit Laura Monk & High Cotton's "Pictures" over and over again. CountryChart.com - Countrychart.com


Issue #23.29 :: 07/21/2010 - 07/27/2010
Hot Lava Monster, Mindelixir, Vicious Guns

BY FREE TIMES


Wednesday 21

Flat Out Strangers & Mark Winchester — Robbie Grice and the Flat Out Strangers have been this town’s sturdiest purveyors of chugging rockabilly beats for a while now, but the band’s origins predate that. Mark Winchester, a special guest for this show, was in Grice’s original band, Rockabilly 88 (later shortened to The ‘88s) back in the early to mid-‘80s while attending USC. Winchester took his upright bass to Nashville and played with Emmylou Harris’ Nash Ramblers and The Brian Setzer Orchestra; he’s also released several albums fronting his own band. K. Oliver
The White Mule: 7 p.m., $8;
661-8199, thewhitemule.com.


Thursday 22

Charming Hala — Centered around local guitarist Don Russo, who has played everything from Christian rock (with the band Origami) to small-group jazz, Charming Hala also includes Treadmill Trackstar drummer Tony Lee, Postcard Fiction singer/guitarist Jeremy Sakovich, singer/guitarist Jesse Isley and bassist Mike Mills of Treadmill Trackstar, The Casual Kings and about a million others. That almost embarrassingly high level of talent gets you a taut, powerful pop-rock sound that’s modern without being heavy and classic without sounding derivative on such songs as “Callous,” which comes from the band’s upcoming debut album, due out in September. Sakovich pulls double duty; Postcard Fiction also plays this show. K. Oliver
The House: 8 p.m., $5; 253-7888.


Friday 23



Hot Lava Monster
Hot Lava Monster — At first, it seems more than a bit incongruous: Hot Lava Monster, a white-hot rock band easily among this town’s all-time finest, at The White Mule, a venue that’s easily this town’s finest listening room but not exactly conducive to louder-than-love rock bands. Indeed, Hot Lava Monster will be trading hot-rodded amps and refrigerator cabs for acoustic guitars and brushed snare drums for this subterranean show; the quartet also expands for this one, adding cellist Alderman Douglas as a special guest. (Hey, does that mean a return to the set for “Work in Progress” or “Ocean”?) Think Hot Lava Monster’s molten rock won’t work quieted down and cello’d up? Need we remind you that it worked for a little band called Nirvana back in ’93? Douglas’ band, Timshel, opens. P. Wall
The White Mule: 6 p.m., $8 ($6 advance);
661-8199, thewhitemule.com.

Mindelixir — Sometime in the ’90s, when techno was said to be ready to usurp rock music’s cultural dominance, it became clear that electronic music’s delayed gratification dynamic — slow, deliberate builds to momentous peaks — though it can result in a rarely matched musical high, is rarely as gratifying in headphones alone. This, of course, is why an act such as Mindelixir is best seen in its natural habitat, amid the flashing lights and pheremones of the dancehall. This particular blend of house music’s steady-as-she-goes approach, synth-disco blur and boom-bap drum hits comes from years of dancefloor crowdsourcing. B. Reed
The House: 9 p.m., $5; 253-7888.





Laura Monk & High Cotton — In a previous life, Laura Monk was probably a cabaret singer. It’s her bluesy, over-the-top vocal delivery that’s the focal point of her current combo, and though she’s not singing showtunes or classics from the Great American Songbook, there is a familiarity here that comes with the kind of middle-of-the-road Americana that she offers up with her Atlanta band High Cotton. Not as sassy as Neko Case or as profound as Lucinda Williams, Monk and company nonetheless ought to make audiences cotton-shirt comfortable. K. Oliver - K. Oliver


On the Rise in Georgia:
What better way to celebrate Halloween (Nubzilla's new year) than by shining the spotlight on Nubzilla's newest find, High Cotton. From deep in the south comes a sound that's sure to tickle your ears. Lead by Laura's powerful voice, this trio serves up a healthy dose of toe-tapping rhythms and southern hospitality with their cleverly-crafted tunes. You're sure to keep singing their songs for days and days after just one listen. - www.nubzilla.com


Bonjour
You may be surprised to get this e mail from France but I want to
establish the contact with you and tell you that I really love your
songs "Tatoo" and " Dollar Store " " on the Dusty Records "Rockin At The Barn " compilation. They are on the air since last Tuesday.

My show is called "American Roots Music" and since 1995 I try to promoteartists with a real musical personality like you . I put the accent onSongwriters, Americana, Roots Rock, Alternative Country, Bluegrass, Blues.

I take this opportunity to ask you if any possibility for you to send me
more music because I really would like to have more of your songs on my playlist .
*****************************
Dustyrecords.se
Review by EuroAmericana DJ

High Cotton is an american band with marvelous vocals by Laura Monk and with lyrics well worth listen closely to.

- France, Mike the DJ aka Mike the Frenchy/ISA Radio


This well respected and "choosey" podcast gives rave reviews on selections.
She has added High Cotton's, 12 String to her show list.....no small thing...
"The Miller Tells Her Tale delivers a terrific selection of rarely heard music...dripping fresh with bourbon sozzled heartbreak...."Robbin Hudson, Sunday times Jan 15, 2006 - Podcast in England


High Cotton (2006)

We are pleased to have the self titled Debut EP from High Cotton. This is wonderful "porch music" - the kind of music you might hear on the front porch during a long summer evening in the country. (Fans of the Cowboy Junkies may enjoy this threesome). Wether you are sittin' in it, or listening to it, everyone needs a little patch of High Cotton in their lives.
--2006 Rustic Digital, www.rusticdigital.com - Rustic Digital




Call it Alt Country,
Call it Americana.
At SlackerCountry.com,
We just call it music.
Yo Nashville . . .
Get over yourself.

"Hanging By A Thread"


A talented trio haunts the venues and coffeehouses north of Atlanta. High Cotton is Laura Monk (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), John Monk (bass), and PJ Engeman (“various percussion”).

The disc is "Hanging By A Thread," recorded live at The Crimson Moon in Dahlonega, Georgia. The music is mellow acoustic rock reminiscent of Mary-Chapin Carpenter and each track gets better as the disc goes on . . . All members of the band contribute to the songwriting and all seem to have the same sense of fun.

Some of their stuff is a little bluesy; some of it swings a little. Monk’s rich voice has just a hint of Appalachia in its tone. There are traditional country songs in there too – like “Giving Up On Happiness”– the kind of hard-luck semi-twisted fun country song that we here at SlackerCountry love. “I’m giving up on happiness and settling for you.” Um, no comment.

A lot of these songs will make you laugh. In a good way. “Dollar Store” perfectly captures the excitement of going to a store that sells a lot of cheap junk, never knowing what treasure you will find –Turtle Wax, self help books, cat toys. “The Dollar Store has got what you need.” Can't argue with that.

One of the funniest songs, written by Engeman, is “Tattoo” – brings to mind Mary-Chapin Carpenter’s “I Feel Lucky.” Her kind of music. This one’s about getting loaded and getting your first tattoo. It's raucous and it's pretty dang funny.

The “Big Easy”, a tribute to New Orleans, was also penned by Engemann after the devastating visit Katrina paid to that city. Anyone who has ever been there knows this song captures the essence of the town and reflects the feeling that even a hurricane can’t take New Orleans away from us forever. The refrain, “No matter what they say, there ain’t no closing time” provides a nice yet subtle statement of solidarity.

One of my favorites is "Barbie Ballad." The combination of the melody, the acoustic guitar, and Monk's voice hits me just right. Oh yeah, and the references to Barbie and Mary Ann are bonus.

There are some fine samples, audio and video, on the High Cotton website. . . Listen to “Barbie Ballad.” See what you think.

-naomi



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last updated 4/30/2006

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- www.slackercountry.com


Ever meet someone in an unglamourous (coffee shop, car wash) setting and fall immediately, hopelessly, in love with them? That person is maybe not the best looking or best dressed in the room, but they have a certain je ne sais quoi (Morticia! That’s French!) that drives you to say something like “I Do”.

This could happen with a CD like Pictures. I usually shy away from anything described as “Americana”, because I associate this genre with Country, big hats and belt buckles the size of a soup plate. Not so here. For the sake of a decent explanation, this is American like John Denver or James Taylor. It’s more about home and family, small pleasures and desires.

So I’ve fallen in love with a CD, is that so bad? What is it here? Laura Monk’s clear, smooth head voice? The production values? The thoughtful lyrics? Hooky melodies?

Like everything, it’s a little bit of all of this. Laura Monk has an interesting mezzo (I think) and the production values keep her voice front and centre. It could be a little more at the front, but this is just a minor quibble. It sits in the mix and doesn’t overpower any of the other instruments. There are times when I find her voice a little annoying due to the way she delivers some of the lines. But this is another quibble; on the whole, her sound is perfect for the music.

I like it when the cuts on an album exhibit a wider range of subjects and musical performances. Too many releases find a catchy approach and then beat it to death in 12 slightly different ways. Each one of HC’s songs is a little gem, cut and polished until it sparkles, adding another tile to the mosaic. It’s a good showcase for a trio of musicians who are really skilled in their craft.

The production values are first rate. As I said, Monk’s voice could have been moved a little further forward because she is the star of the show. As it is, it shares the stage comfortably with guitars and mandolins (used to very good effect) and percussion. Everything has it’s place and is neither obscured nor dominating the mix.

I like all the cuts on this album, but if I had to pick absolute favourites, I’d say “Pictures” and “Music City Lights”.

It’s foolish to fall in love with a CD because, well, it will never really return that love…I’m going to get counseling, but Pictures will always have a place on my stereo.

Summary: Excellent release. A CD to buy and cherish. - Bull Frog Music


High Cotton places itself in the world of better ‘Bluegrass/rock/Americana and delivers this third CD (of which 1 is a live CD) their own songs with some interesting lyrics and uplifting melodies.

You could call it folk rock. They have a powerful beat and because of that a reference to rock is definitely in its place. (Read: reference to rock is definitely appropriate)

Awesome bass riffs and an inspiring/impressive mandolin support it all and the expressive, exciting voice of Laura Monk is definitely top notch. I think she definitely has the capacity to go solo because she also wrote almost all the songs herself.

Alison Krauss and company have found a new competitor, from which the produced music can do nothing but benefit from. (Read: push the quality of this music to a higher level)

Their styles go in all directions, so this is definitely not a dull record; calm, slow songs followed by up-tempo songs that get us on our feet. On top of it all holds a couple of very beautiful songs that could make other songwriters very jealous.

I personally would be willing to commit a ‘small’ murder to write a song like “Borrowed Time”, a song that will never bore us in our time. (LL).

- Marc Nolis


Now and then we receive a disk from Atlanta, GA so we are not really surprised when that happens. But sometimes we are surprised when we stick one of those CD's in the player because of the soothing sound that the little silver disc produces.
High Cotton is a group that knows how to grab our attention with their new record "Pictures". The band members are singer Laura Monk and her (husband) John Monk who started back in 2003 as a duo. Later drummer, guitarist and banjo player PJ Engeman joined and this year a fourth member, lead guitarist Dan Foster was added.
They try to create songs that first of all have a strong melody which they bring to several styles, including rock, folk and Americana. The voice of Laura has a dominant presence in all songs. From the start it swings with songs like "Song For a mountain weekend" and “Crazy to sing". And just like in the old yellow/faded pictures on the cover the song "Pictures" looks back to the past and the things that happened to them in the those wonderful years. The penetrating mandolin sound finishes the job.
'Pictures' is the best song of the entire CD. "Song for the big easy" is performed in a jazzy style, very nice, laid back vocals with the occasional sounds of a trombone or an accordion. These kinds of songs remind me of other bands like Fairground Attraction and The Countrypolitans who were able to surprise me in 1999 with their album "Tired of Drowning". The voice of Laura Monk shows quite a few similarities to the voice of Elisabeth Ames from the same Countrypolitans. Even the vocal qualities by 10.000 Maniacs singer Natalie Merchant come to mind now and then. "Music City Lights" is also a very calm, country like piano song with the gorgeous vocals of Laura Monk.
The expressive and passionate voice of this singer is absolutely the strength of High Cotton, supported by beautiful melodies and arrangements of almost all 15 songs on this record. Just like real pictures, some of these songs will be burned into the hard drive of your musical memory. The ballad "Ghosts", "12-string" with a beautiful riff and "doo-wop" harmonic vocals, "Borrowed Time" ("A rented house, a rented car, I see my dreams through rented stars"), the touching country-duet "Long as I don't Lose You", the funny "Tattoo", the nostalgic "Black Mountain".
My wife listened to this with me and she told me that this CD was beautiful, and she knows (look at the choice she made with her life partner).
You may have to search hard to find "Pictures" by High Cotton so you can add this to your record collection, but take our word for it that you will never regret it if you do.
Enjoy
Valsam / ROOTSTIME / BELGIUM

- ROOTS TIME/2008


REVIEW: HIGH COTTON ‘HANGING BY A THREAD’

”In the months prior to the holidays when all major releases are distributed, this is an incredibly good record that will not get attention...because it is an 'INDIE' record. That is a pity, because the album, 'HANGING BY A THREAD', by HIGH COTTON, is simply fantastic.

Like their first CD, 'High Cotton', released in 2004, this follow up compares very favorably to music like that of Mary Chapin-Carpenter. This band, from Atlanta, Ga., manages to successfully transfer their deepest emotions into their music. You can simply hear the work that went into the music as it is passionately performed on this CD. The band set up is very much in the new-folk genre and they play in that style.

Their original songs cover a wide range of styles and emotions. 'Giving Up On Happiness', by Laura Monk and 'Tattoo’, by PJ Engeman, highlight their wry, tongue-in-cheek humor. 'Big Easy', Engeman's tribute to New Orleans is heartfelt and moving…showing us the other side of the emotional spectrum.

There is no 'typical' tenor sound here, which makes the sound warmer and approachable. Just listen to Laura singing on 'Barbie Ballad'(by John & Laura Monk). This is an example of Laura's incredible voice making a very good song even better.

Each member is a fine musician ;( Laura: Guitar, Lead Vocal, John Bass, vocals, PJ, Percussion, vocals). What’s more, they are very aware of and respect each other’s playing. This enables them to blend their instruments beautifully and to surprise us with unexpected, wonderful sounds.

High Cotton is having fun! They are high energy, fantastic musicians and writers who play modern music while keeping the 'folk' tradition alive."

Freddy Celis
June 2006

WWW.ROOTSTIME.BE
- rootstime.be


READ "HIGH COTTON - BAND OF THE MONTH" AT:

WWW.INDIEISLANDS.COM !!!!

October 2006....full interview...!!!! - INDIE ISLANDS E-MAGAZINE


Discography

"Laura Monk & High Cotton Live @ The Balzer Theater" 2010
'PICTURES', In Focus Records, 2007
ROCKIN' AT THE BARN #5, Dusty Records, Sweden,
Americana comp features 2 High Cotton songs!
2006
'HIGH COTTON' (SELF TITLED) 2004
HIGH COTTON 'HANGING BY A THREAD' (RECORDED
LIVE AT THE CRIMSON MOON) 2006
All songs SESAC

Photos

Bio

In the South the phrase 'High Cotton' recalls a time when your fortune was determined by the success of your crops. If you grew cotton and things went well and the cotton grew 'high' you were guaranteed a good crop and life was good. You were literally in "High Cotton"....we're betting on success!

We love performing live. It's amazing when you are performing and you can tell that the audience gets what you are trying to convey in your music!!! We try to pull the listener in whether it's with trivia that rewards with extremely tacky prizes or a song that pulls at the heart strings.

We are well seasoned performers whose musical experience ranges from Pop, Jazz, Celtic, Rock and Country. Our influences include; Roget and Webster, John Hiatt, Dolly Parton, Ogden Nash, Carol King, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Shane McGowan, Tom Rush, John Sebastian, Paul Simon, Willie Dixon, Traditional Ballads, Lucinda Williams.

High Cotton started as a duo with Laura and John Monk in 2003, PJ (percussion)found Laura & John and joined to make a trio in the Fall of 2005. And in 2007, with the addition of Dan, on lead guitar their sound was complete.

We are equally at home at a large venue, festival or in an intimate house-concert. You can bet that every performance delivers a full bale of entertainment!