High Cotton – Hanging By A Thread

High Cotton 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.

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