Peter CottonTale Tells Us About A Better Place With Catch
Written by Ayana Contreras on April 25, 2020
According to collaborators Juju Exchange, Peter CottonTale “deeply understands the profound effect of patience, a value we also share,” adding that Catch is a “record that was in the slow-cooker for 5+ years,” even while Peter was an instrumental member of The Social Experiment. And though the roots of Catch go back quite a ways, it still feels like just the balm many of us have been craving.
I first heard a number of these songs during a nighttime performance at the Garfield Park Conservatory on the West Side of Chicago back in November. Two that stood out at the time were “When I Get There” and “Forever Always,” performed with a full choir clad in bright pastels. Hearing this music now, in social isolation, reminds me of the humidity of the Conservatory, the smell of warm soil, the greenness, the crush of people (!), and the feeling that we were all together that night.
Kanye’s album Jesus Is King might have felt like an aside to people who don’t understand the role of Gospel music as an underpinning in Urban music. It’s a place that many artists visit when they are reckoning with something or connecting to their roots. Peter CottonTale leans all the way into it on Catch, with features by Fred Hammond and Kirk Franklin, artists that were played alongside Puff Daddy on Urban stations back in the day. This album also finds Peter collaborating with other younger artists that also consistently fold gospel roots into their work, among them Eryn Allen Kane, Chance The Rapper (who he often collaborates with), JuJu Exchange, PJ Morton, and Cory Henry. The result feels thoughtful, fresh, and authentic.
This is an album that is really about the power of believing. “When I Get There,” which reminds me of Andraé Crouch-styled holy-roller gospel music, takes on new meaning now. It’s envisioning a better place, a place where we can be together, a place where victory over adversity will be just around the corner…if only we can hold on until “the morning.”