Willie Cotton’s (p/k/a “Thy Will”) R&B and Gospel extractions stem from a faithful yet difficult upbringing in rural Georgia. The Cottons had lots of children and little money for toys, so when there was an instrument about it was never left quietly alone. That is why while Cotton was still only a child he was recruited by an adult gospel group. He was chosen over adults because he had the ability to play every instrument in church, including and specializing in the bass guitar. It was with that gospel group that Cotton learned to sing. From his deep gruff masculine baritone to a tender falsetto extending beyond the piano scale, Cotton sang then as he does now, spearing warmth and emotion into even the coldest of hearts.
Cotton went on to spend years under a recording contract with Warner Bros Records as the “key man of the contract” for an R&B trio known as “The Gablz”. His own original work and solo vocal “Chills” received the highest critical acclaim of their self-titled album. He also performed with The Gablz under the name of “Dark Complexion” on the Martin Lawrence motion picture soundtrack of “It’s a Thin Line Between Love & Hate”. The trio went on to tour with Ron Isley. Not bad especially when you consider that the probability of the success of every country boy who headed out of the rural south to start a career in music is not high.