CD REVIEW: Laura Monk and High Cotton - So Far
By Don Sechelski - 09/17/2012 - 08:28 PM EDT
Artist: Band: Laura Monk and High Cotton
Album: So Far
Genre: Americana, country
Technical Grade: 8
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9
Overall Talent Level: 10
Songwriting Skills: 10
Best Songs: Untitled, Little Lies, Heaven Bound, Wrong Road
Georgia based band, High Cotton with vocalist Laura Monk, has a strong, uncompromising sound and a handful of new songs to showcase on their debut album, So Far. Laura Monk and High Cotton, bring a new level of honesty and freshness to the country scene. High Cotton consists of Laura on lead vocals, harmony vocals, acoustic guitar, banjo, and a variety of percussion instruments. Sheís joined by her husband John Monk, on bass and harmony vocals, PJ Engeman on drums and congas, percussion, and lead vocals. Dan Foster adds lead guitar, electric slide, and harmony vocals.
All the band members had a hand in writing the songs for So Far which gives the band a versatile and interesting sound. A blend of live cuts and studio songs raises the energy level and makes this truly a full band effort. The first song
, Wrong Road, is a live cut penned by all the band members and showcases Lauraís powerful voice. Fosterís dirty lead guitar is a highlight of Sun Burning Down, a Laura Monk song. A favorite of mine is Little Lies. Rich with harmony, itís a ballad written by John and Laura Monk. Engemanís song, Heaven Bound is another strong effort that features Lauraís strong vocal. Dan Foster contributes several songs, most notably Saluda Grade, in which he grabs lead vocal in another performance recorded live. The final song, Untitled, is an excellent effort from John and Laura Monk and probably my favorite on the CD.
So Far features strong, versatile songwriting, energetic performances, and a tight band feel that sets it apart from less cohesive bands. Itís all tied together by Lauraís memorable vocals and some sweet harmonies. This is Laura Monk and High Cotton so far. It will be interesting to see where they go from here.
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