They All Stood Up: The Life and Legacy of James Cotton

Showtimes: Thursday, January 30
$30 public | $25 members



This special event offers a preview of the upcoming film-in-progress They All Stood Up: The Life and Legacy of James Cotton, followed by a panel discussion by the filmmaker. Also featured, a special guest musical appearance by blues musicians James Montgomery, Paul Rishell and Annie Raines.

They All Stood Up: The Life and Legacy of James Cotton, a film currently in production, is an emotionally evocative feature documentary that portrays the untold story of James “Superharp” Cotton, a legend whose musical influence shaped the Chicago Blues style having been mentored by the originators of the Delta blues tradition. Cotton’s life tracks a swath of America’s history -- from the post-depression cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta to tough Chicago-land era of artistic reinvention to today’s live music scene in Austin, Texas. Along the way he played with Muddy Waters, toured with Janis Joplin, Paul Butterfield and opened for/sat in with the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, Santana, Steve Miller, B.B. King and many more.

Rarely seen archival footage and stills are woven throughout a visual landscape of original footage in which some of today’s finest harp and blues musicians lead us on a powerful journey, bringing a fresh and deep understanding of the harp in the expanding blues tradition. In new interviews and original concert recordings, Buddy Guy, Jimmy Vaughan, Steve Miller, Huey Lewis, Billy Branch, Annie Raines, Curtis Salgado, Kenny Neal, Rick Estrin, Bob Margolin, James Montgomery and many others bring Cotton’s story to life and leave us with an understanding of the lasting impact his music has imprinted upon our cultural heritage. Cotton’s unique mixture of high-quality musicianship and seemingly boundless energy is an expression of an artist who became the ultimate showman and who made the world pay attention to the ‘harp’ as a complex instrument with its own voice. This journey unfolds in a joyful, thumping original film through an exploration of harp-based blues music and stories shared by some of the most respected musicians.

Director, Bestor Cram, Produced by The Reel Blues Fest, Inc. and Northern Light Productions, Boston. To donate and for more information:, Follow us on Facebook Contact: or (508) 495-3456.

Funds raised at this event will help fund additional interviews and editing. We need your help to finish the film in 2020. Donations to The Reel Blues Fest, Inc., are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. All donors will be thanked by name in the credits. Thank you for your support!