Litchfield singer-songwriter Riley Cotton records debut album

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LITCHFIELD – Riley Cotton’s debut album, ‘A House with Blue Siding,’ is a sweet, sweet collection of stories and love songs, accompanied by back-up musicians and singers, including her music producer, Tracy Walton .

Walton, who runs On Deck Studios from his home in the Northfield section of Litchfield, works with many recording artists in and around Connecticut. He met Cotton a year ago and worked with the 23-year-old, helping her define her musical style.

The album features a number of musicians joining a guitar-strumming Cotton, including Walton, a diverse instrumentalist who plays bass, guitar, drums, and harmonica, and joins her on backup vocals. His brother, musician Chris Cotton, also plays drums on the album. His sound is a combination of bluegrass, folk and country.

“She’s awesome, she has a wonderful voice,” said Walton, who produced “A House with Blue Siding” at the studio. Recently, Cotton arrived to rehearse with Walton for her upcoming collection of recordings. “She works really hard,” Walton said.

Cotton, who grew up in Flower Mound, Texas, moved to Connecticut with her family when she was 12. Her father, David Cotton, is also a singer and drummer, who encouraged her to sing in talent shows and participate whenever she had a chance to perform.

“I’ve always been musical,” Riley Cotton said. “Singing and performing has always been a part of my life. I fell in love with singing, performing and loving it when I was a kid.

“When I was in elementary school and high school, I played sports and did school drama; the sports didn’t really work, but the music was always there,” she said.

After graduating from Litchfield High School, she attended the College of Art of Design in Boston to study art and graphic design. But it wasn’t the right person, and she left after a year and returned home to Connecticut.

“It just didn’t work for me; I was really alone and felt out of place,” she said. “I loved Boston, but school wasn’t working. I left and went home, and I bent over my music; I picked up my guitar.”

She started performing at local venues and with friends. While performing at The Barn in Great Barrington, she was approached by several musicians in the audience who asked if she wanted to join them. “I met a lot of musicians from the local music scene in the Berkshires, but after a while it just wasn’t a good creative choice for me. It was through this process that I knew that I wanted to record an album. I did a few singles, but I wanted to do more.”

Cotton began looking for a producer and discovered Walton on Instagram.

“He seemed like a cool guy, and it turns out my brother Chris took drum lessons with him, and he had some wonderful things to say about Tracy,” she said. “He also went to high school with my mom, Charleen, so we really bonded.”

Walton’s musical style combines folk, rock and country, somewhat similar to Cotton’s. “We talked a lot about my sound; and we have commonalities and overlaps,” she said. “And he’s so complete; he plays a lot of instruments and has so much experience.”

“We made the album in about six months,” she said. “I used crowdfunding and raised almost $6,000 to pay for it, and Tracy walked me through it. He also helped me with promotion, and we sold pre-release copies. -out, which got the word out. We really hit it off.”

She joined Walton and other local artists in a number of shows this year: Chickenstock, a music festival in aid of the CT Farmland Trust, and a concert at the Bantam Cinema. She also performs a Sunday set at the Black Bear Music Festival, which runs from October 7 to 9 at the Goshen Exhibition Center in Goshen.

“It’s been a go, go, go summer,” said Cotton, who also works full-time at Write Way Signs & Design in Torrington. “It was difficult. But I finished the album and I’m excited to continue.”

But she will do it her way.

“When I think about the modern ways people do things, like on Tik Tok and Instagram, it just doesn’t sit well with me,” she said, acknowledging that artists of all styles and genres are being discovered online every day. and sometimes find success. “Having a record deal is a dream, but I want to be in an environment that cares about promoting my ideas. A popular voice gives me more input, more control.”

“A House with Blue Siding” is available now at rileycottonmusic.com.

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