5GB Interview with Cotton Jones; Playing The EARL Saturday, Feb. 16

Photo courtesy of Cotton Jones
Photo courtesy of Cotton Jones

By Jhoni Jackson

I just knew Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw of Maryland-bred indie-folk act Cotton Jones were coupled up. Back in 2010, I reviewed a Dutchess and the Duke show for which Cotton Jones opened. (For AMG and at the same venue, no less.) Their vocal exchanges were so adorable, so intimate. I mentioned that in my piece, and I still remember it vividly. Turns out I was right—at least in terms of the long run.

They have since married (she’s now Whitney Nau), and have a son. Their official bio and earlier press make little to no mention of the change or the addition to their family. Duos don’t have to be legally or even casual paired to cultivate a close connection, of course. But for Cotton Jones, it’s undeniable that some charisma, some indescribable magic, between them is palpable in both their recordings and onstage. And while Whitney isn’t featured on every tune—Michael is the lead vocalist—there is still reason to believe their coupling sparks something that contributes to the whole. It’s quite special.

Read Michael’s responses to our 5GB series below. You can hear a new tune via Porchlight Records here, then see them live this Saturday at the EARL.


What’s the first gig you ever attended?

It was a music festival with a church group. I was in 5th grade, and remember playing baseball most of time.

What is the best gig that you ever played/performed?

We always enjoy playing house shows – one in St. Louis 2 [years] ago stands out.

What is the best gig you have ever seen?

Elvis Costello ’02.

Gig you would most like to play?

We’ve never played in Europe, so that’s something we’d like to do this year.

What would be the lineup for your dream gig?

Kevin Coyne & Mama Cass.


Cotton Jones plays the EARL on Saturday, Feb. 16, with Book Club and the Skylarks.


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