SPARTA — The Sparta Summer Concert Series is excited to welcome Danielia Cotton back to the Nicholson Pavilion Stage this Friday night.Music has gotten so stingy. At its finest, it’s the voice of the people, but for those who are searching for more than a beat and a hook, more often than not we’re left wanting; wondering if anyone has anything at all to say. Cue Danielia Cotton. Cotton is a gutsy artist with a story to tell. Her music screams, “Hell yeah, I’ve got something to say.” It’s transformative. She recycles all the blessing and pain in life into this beauty…note after note, set after set she pours it out like an offering or a prayer.“Demographers, beware: Danielia Cotton doesn't fit neatly into any box. She's an African American, from a nearly all-white town in New Jersey. She's a singer and songwriter who can sound like a blues balladeer on one track, and a hard-rock wailer on the next.” - NPRCotton’s childhood was spent in the Sourland Mountains in Hopewell, NJ. She is music legacy. Her mother and aunts were all professional vocalists and music was in her blood. Cotton started performing in her teens. Early on she began veering from the gospel and jazz/blues of her mother and aunts finding greater allure in rock legends like, AC/DC, Judas Priest, Led Zeppelin, and Todd Rundgren and soul and R&B royalty like, Stevie Wonder and Donnie Hathaway. Cotton began crafting her own sound; an eclectic mix of the stuff that shaped her and the stuff that called her.“Cotton brings a freshness to the soul-rock formula, not to mention a contagious fervor that is near irresistible.” – Los Angeles TimesCotton left Hopewell for Manhattan and began performing in venues like The Bitter End and The Cutting Room. She was making connections in NYC’s music scene. Those connections led her to Kevin Salem of Chocolate Genius who would produce her first full length album, Small White Town. Shortly prior to its release she was selected as an Artist to Watch by WXPN out of Philadelphia. So, despite the move to Manhattan and attempting to get her feet wet there, she found herself headed south again; fully immersed in Philly’s music scene. “…an honest-to-God voice with real power, conviction, emotion and soul.” – Boston HeraldOn the heels of Small White Town, 2005 Cotton parted ways with Anthony Liberatore of HipShake Music. With the freedom to shape her own vision and direction; she released critically acclaimed Rare Child, 2008 as a true indie artist followed by Gun in Your Hand, 2012 (another collaborative effort with Kevin Salem) in relatively quick succession. Cotton is no stranger to the classic rock ‘n roll story...she’s lived some life; seen and been through some serious shit and this, this powerful body of work is what she did with it.“…with blaring, guitar-charged, Southern-rooted rock that links her to Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Black Crowes, Janis Joplin, Aerosmith and the rockier side of Bonnie Raitt. She’s a belter who can hold back or work her way up to a gospelly blues-rock shout, and in the songs she writes with her band’s brawny guitar riffs, she grapples with the road, salvation, holding on and letting go.” – New York TimesThis new offering, A Prayer marks the end of a tumultuous season in Cotton’s life. A season that brought her to her roots and to her knees. Cotton is wrestling with her fears; dragging them out “into the light of day”. She’s raw and real; and completely unfettered. She’s reborn in Afraid to Burn letting go and deciding it’s ok. There is a spiritual element to A Prayerthat is unlike anything else we’ve heard from her. Yes, her music has always had a touch of it. It’s at the core of her beginnings both personally and musically, but this is something new. Cotton isn’t hinting at it she is declaring it in your face and placing it at your feet.Opening the evening is Raph KP and Band, a group of young musicians from Sparta.The FREE performance will begin at 7PM at Dykstra Park, 22 Woodport Road, Sparta, NJ. Rain or shine. See www.spartaarts.org for more details and weather updates.