Vocal powerhouse and excellent performer since 2013 Johanna Cotten helped Eric Church infuse ardour, soul and power into his music, each within the studio and on stage. She was Eric Church’s secret weapon and right-hand man on lots of his most groundbreaking and highly effective performances. But after a yr of battling an sickness that has put her on and off the street, she decides to maneuver on, and it appears like the top of an period. But hopefully it is the beginning of larger issues for Joanna Cotten.

On Sunday (7-31), Cotten issued a press release to her followers and Eric Church followers. “Hello, friends and fans. I want to let you all know that I have made the decision to take some time off after the Gather Again tour to focus on writing new songs and to have some rest and recovery time. It was my intention to return, but God has other plans,” she said. “I also want you all to know that your energy has carried me through so many shows with Eric. What a run we had. I’m so thankful for the stages I’ve sung with him and the people I’ve met along the way.”

Joanna Cotten was born in Memphis, Tennessee and grew up in Arkansas. Once signed to Warner Bros. Records, she recorded over 20 songs for a debut album that was never released. When a single called “The Prize” hit No. 60 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart in 2007, Warner Bros. put her music on hold, and with it her career, as so often happens in the major label business is.

But Cotten continued to record and tour, developing a sound she calls “funkabilly” — a blend of blues, funk, and country that is very indicative of her Memphis roots. She is a passionate singer. “I have to sing for the people, that’s the way it is,” she says. “It’s like a beast inside me that needs to come out and it’s been like this since I was a little girl.”

Joanna Cotten attended the prestigious Juilliard Music School and then moved to Nashville where she performed regularly at venues such as 3rd and Lindsley and was eventually signed to a publishing deal by EMI Music and later by Warner. But after waiting five years for the label to do something with the material she recorded for them, she decided to move on. When Eric Church was looking for a soulful voice for his band, Joanna Cotten got in touch. She first appeared prominently with Eric Church in a live video for Church’s song “Over When It’s Over” in 2013. When Eric Church performed “Chattanooga Lucy” at the 2017 CMA Awards, it was Cotten’s first encounter with national television exposure.

“I wrote my CMA Singer of the Year acceptance speech when I was 9 years old,” Cotton said after the 2017 CMAs. “I’ve wanted to be on this stage and sing my whole life, and this year I had to do just that do. It was an incredible experience and a dream come true for me. I am so grateful to Eric Church for giving me the opportunity to live my dream and for all the encouraging words from my friends and fans. What a night for the record books of my life!”

Also in 2018, Eric Church’s single “Desperate Man” gave Joanna Cotten the chance to float from the again row to the entrance on the CMA Awards and wow the gang. At concert events, Eric Church would typically hand over the microphone to Cotten in return for her personal highlight. She turned such an everyday a part of Eric Church’s performances that when she was pushed off the streets attributable to COVID, Church needed to discover backup, with Ashley McBryde filling in for some performances.

But now it is time to say goodbye to Joanna Cotten of Eric Church’s touring entourage, even when it is not goodbye eternally. Just as Eric Church gave Ashley McBryde a significant enhance that finally noticed her signal to a significant label and win awards, maybe that may proceed to be the case for Joanna Cotten sooner or later.

“I’m really looking forward to new solo music and ventures on the horizon,” affirms Cotten. “I love you guys and I’ll see you out there on the streets before you know it!”


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