Mirage was my third solo CD, and followed along the lines of my first two (Luna Waves and One Step Into The Unknown) as Ambient/ Space Blues. It was released in 2007. There was, however, one cover tune on it, the classic "You Belong To Me" (Patsy Cline, the Duprees, etc.). Critic Gordon Danis, who sadly passed away in 2008, wrote these kind words about my version of "You Belong To Me": " When I first heard it in the car, I had to pull over, it just blew me away. I love those synthesized vibes. The ending is precious. LOVE that tune." Gordon was an enthusiastic champion of Jazz and Ambient music. His feedback was always honest whether positive or negative. I, along with many others in the Jazz and Ambient community who were fortunate enough to know him, truly miss him. RIP Gordon.
Tony Gerber, who I've known and recorded with since 1986, asked me back in late 2011 shortly after I had begun playing diddly bo if I would be interested in starting a band with him and bassist Mike Doster (17 years bassist for B.B. King). That was an easy decision. We had a few rehearsals that went great, and played the Mando Blues radio show soon afterwards. Not long after that we played at the Hard Rock Cafe in Nashville for the Fringe Festival, where Mike Doster received the Nashville Fringe Festival 2012 Legends award. Quite a moment! Next chapter for the Cotton Blossom Band was the addition of Roy Wooten (AKA Futureman) percussionist from Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. The album Soulshining was the result of live recording, one take, no overdubs. The music ranges from traditional acoustic blues to electric space blues/jazz. Tony Gerber does the vocals as well as synthesizers, guitars, and Native American flute, Mike Doster plays upright bass. Futureman plays percussion. I play guitars and diddly bo.
When Robin Lane (RL Superbad) told me he was planning a trip from his home in Clarksdale to Nashville for a cigar box guitar builder's convention during the summer of 2018, I came up with an idea for a project that I thought would be fun while he was here. Tony Gerber, my friend and collaborator for many years, is an exceptional electronica musician, and I asked him if he'd like to join forces with Robin and me for a session combining electronica with primitive experimental Mississippi blues. Tony liked the idea, and we set a time to meet at his home studio. Robin had arranged a radio gig for us (Superbad Kontrafusion) with DJ Mojo at WXNA 101.5 FM Nashville as well. So he was pretty busy while he was here with the convention, the radio show, and our project with Tony. I had emailed some lyrics I'd written to Robin that I thought might work with this unusual combination of musical styles, since he'd be doing the vocals. I encouraged him to improvise at will, which he is always very good at. He didn't disappoint. We did not rehearse with Tony before hand, even though Robin and Tony had never played together before, Tony just turned on the mics and we played. What you hear on this CD is just us playing live with no overdubs, all one take. There is a rawness and certain energy to live recordings which was found in the early days of jazz, blues, rock and roll, and country that I hope we never loose sight of. This CD was released on July4, 2019. Tony Gerber on synthesizers, Robin Lane (AKA RL Superbad) on vocals, homemade instruments, and fire bell. I play electric guitar and diddly bo. The title of the CD says it all.