Tuesday’s Jam of the Day: Elizabeth Cotten

Elizabeth Cotten, or in my book, the queen of blues and folk is gracing today’s jamz.

She was a self-taught left-handed guitarist, known as “Cotten picking,”  a technique she developed to remedy her being left handed. Cotten has had a major impact on blues and folk music. Her stunning music and voice was discovered by others when she was but 12 years old. Hailing from North Carolina, she has an Appalachian blues/Carolina blues sound. Cotten has a powerful heart wrenching voice that reminds you of a history you can only imagine. Elizabeth Cotten has had an unquestioning timelessness to her music in the same way that the voices and playing of Skip James, lightning Hopkins, Odetta, Muddy Waters and others have. Elizabeth Cotten’s imprint on music history is seldom made evident but her music has been played by many, many famous musicians the world over. The American music tradition would be less of a sound without her undeniable contributions.



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