The Cottonfields: effectively making Bluegrass Rap ‘n’ Roll sound coolApril 24, 2013
AWESOME GENRE-BENDING ALERT!
I may have taken to The Cottonfields because they’re one of the very few bands I know of to come out PE. (Seriously, who actually lives in Port Elizabeth? Oh well, at least they’re not from Cape Town.) But, geographical prejudices aside, this five-piece’s style of music, described as “bluegrass rap and roll” is something that deserves your attention.
Obviously my favourite thing about their music is the bluegrass side of it. When they hit the groove, the band sounds like Ryan Bingham playing the blues, on a bayou in Louisiana. But then, up from the outside, comes some artistic white boy rap which brings up memories of New Academics, and brings you right back home to Mzansi.
“Hold On”, one of the tracks off what I think is their debut EP (there’s a very minimal amount of info floating around on these guys), shows off this juxtaposition perfectly:
Because of their bluegrass influence, I like to imagine that the band is named after the Lead Belly song of the same name (also by CCR and the Beach Boys), but again – minimal info, no proof of that. But wherever it comes from, I don’t think there’s a band in South Africa today who’s playing such well-crafted country-style music. I love all kinds of Americana, but I know it’s an acquired taste, and I see this brand of it being acquired by a lot of people if these dudes stick around.
Other songs off the EP also stand out, like “Don’t Bite The Hand”, that switches it up and let’s the rap vocals take the lead while bringing a thrumming steel guitar backbeat around the outside. And “Binary Bones” that is the sexiest blues-inspired track I’m sure PE has ever produced.
Tales From A Winter Beard is a thus far remarkably under-rated record – I imagine this band must be a great freaking party to see live and I really encourage you to get in touch with them, listen to their music and boost their following so that the rest of the country and beyond can hear the tunes too!
Tags: featured artist, port elizabeth, south african, the cottonfields