Cottonwood Blossom: The Music Behind the Black Label
So, by now you all have probably watched the Black Label video on the homepage of the annascholz website and wondered, “Who is singing that kick-ass song”?
Well, Cottonwood Blossom is the name of the talented duo of Rich Watson and Toni Coe, who wrote the song specifically for Anna’s Black Label video. They discussed the look and feel of the label with Anna and viewed the video and came up with an original song! We feel very fortunate to have their talent behind our togs.
I caught up with Rich and Toni recently and they were kind enough to answer a variety of questions on everything from their musical inspirations, to their other band, Deadlight, to their style icons.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED WITH MUSIC?
RICH: I have played guitar since I was 14; since then, music has been my life. I met Toni when I enrolled at the ACM in 2008.
TONI: I have been performing music since I was 5. Somewhere in my teens, I lost all of my confidence and stopped singing. It wasn’t until I decided to attend The Academy of Contemporary Music in 2008 and met Rich that I really became a performer again.
HOW LONG HAS COTTONWOOD BLOSSOM BEEN GOING? HOW DID CB GET ITS START?
TONI: I believe it’s been about 6 months now since we started Cottonwood Blossom. The idea really came into focus when Rich and I realized we both shared a huge passion for Delta blues. We wanted Cottonwood Blossom to become our main source of income and wanted to begin an authentic function band that offered great music at reasonable prices. This seemed a great opportunity to incorporate our blues influences.
WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE ANNASCHOLZ BLACK LABEL TRACK?
RICH: Anna wanted a Brit indie vibe for the Black Label video so we took influence from bands such as The Noisettes and The Libertines. We wanted a 70’s production sound but with a modern edge.
WHAT WAS YOUR PROCESS FOR WRITING THE BLACK LABEL SONG?
RICH: When Toni and I write together, I always write, record and mix the music first. Toni then writes the melody and lyrics and we record them. After mixing the track we sent it to Anna for approval then made the requested tweaks to the mix. We wanted the music and lyrics to sync up with the Black Label video so that certain lyrics fall at the right moment in the video.
WHO ARE YOUR MUSICAL INSPIRATIONS?
TONI: Billie holiday: It amazes me that through all of her suffering she was able to channel all of that into art and evoke so much emotion through her voice and song writing. Also Ray Charles: His ability to continuously evolve musically is a complete inspiration to me. I admire the talent he had in writing songs, singing and playing piano.
RICH: John Mayer’s album Continuum is my favorite album of all time! I love that he has bought blues guitar playing back into the mainstream. Robert Johnson is another favorite. I love the story that surrounds his life and musically he was just so far ahead of his time.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR OTHER BAND, DEADLIGHT. HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN GOING? HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM COTTONWOOD BLOSSOM?
TONI: Deadlight is our Alternative originals band. We formed in 2010 as a four piece and have spent the summer playing festivals and great venues around the UK. Deadlight, again, is a song writing collaboration between Rich and myself.
RICH: Deadlight is different from Cottonwood Blossom because the music and branding reflects our personalities more personally. Cottonwood Blossom was created for a purpose and is born out of our love for blues music, but Deadlight is our baby! Having said that, we love the diversity of doing both and we have the opportunity to write music in Cottonwood Blossom that we never would in Deadlight (and vice versa!).
JUST FOR FUN:
OF ALL THE MUSICIANS THAT ARE DEAD OR DISBANDED, WHICH WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO TRAVEL BACK IN TIME TO SEE?
TONI: Billie Holiday… that would complete me!
RICH: Robert Johnson.
WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW?
TONI: At the moment I am reading Supernatural: Meetings With the Ancient Teachers of Mankind by Graham Hancock (not as pretentious as it sounds!). It is an investigation into the influences that shaped the modern human mind (with regards to art, music, religion etc). It’s very good : )
RICH: I’m reading Escaping the Delta by Elijah Wald… it’s making me want to move to Mississippi!
WHO IS YOUR STYLE ICON?
TONI: I am very inspired by the current grunge revival and avant garde look.
RICH: Designers I like include Vivienne Westwood, Unconditional and Rick Owens (if only I could afford it!).
IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY PAINTING OR PHOTOGRAPH IN THE WORLD TO HANG IN YOUR HOUSE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
RICH: I’d love a painting by Wes Borland. He does great realistic surreal work and is musically a big influence too.
For bookings for functions and events with Cottonwood Blossom, contact the duo at firstname.lastname@example.org