Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ed Cotton Taking Stage Again with Blues Fest Trio

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Ed Cotton Taking Stage Again with Blues Fest Trio

Article excerpt

Byline: TAMARA McCLARAN

Jacksonville blues musician Ed Cotton is back, sort of.

Cotton spent most of his 20 years as a professional musician as the leader of Pretty Boy Freud, a popular swing and variety band that frequently played the Jacksonville-area club scene. Then, three years ago, he decided he wanted to take his life in a different direction. Cotton got married, went back to school and retired from performing.

"The hardest part was convincing people that this is what I really wanted to do," Cotton said. "Some understood completely. Some didn't."

Cotton admits many may think that he has decided to put his band back together and do gigs when they hear he's performing at the George's Music Springing the Blues Festival. While he is not going back to playing music professionally full time, Cotton will open the 18th annual George's Music Springing the Blues Festival at 5 p.m. Friday, April 4, on the Jacksonville Beach SeaWalk Pavilion's main stage.

"Ed is a monstrous talent that is just waiting for his place in the sun," said the festival's executive director, Sam Veal.

At Springing the Blues, the three-day festival featuring blues musicians from the area and throughout the country, Cotton will lead an acoustic Americana trio, The Smashed Ramblers, featuring bassist Landon Walker and drummer Scott Sisson. The group will play traditional acoustic blues.

"It is going to be very raw, traditional blues, not at all polished," Cotton said. "It is going to be very simple, straightforward, honest acoustic blues."

The performance will highlight songs performed by some of the great Southern blues guitarists, including Blind Blake, Blind Willie McTell and Hank Garland. It will also feature some of Cotton's original tunes. While there have been few performances the past three years, he has been prolific when it comes to song writing and recording original music. …

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