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Photo courtesy Cooperstown Concert Series

Off the Cuff/On the Record

Yolanda Bush and the Cool Water Collective

COOPERSTOWN—Next up in the Cooperstown Concert Series schedule is Yolanda Bush and the Cool Water Collective—featuring local musicians Timothy Iverson and Evan Jagels—who will take the stage this Friday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. in The Otesaga Resort Hotel’s ballroom. Tickets are available online at and may be available at the door for this performance of powerful and deep-rooted, soulful blues. Bush has been singing and drumming for decades, and is versatile in numerous styles including blues, jazz, and rock. Her voice is singular, transformative and engaging. In addition, she is a tight, deep pocket drummer with impeccable meter. The Cool Water Collective is a flexible ensemble of musicians with flow, each expressive and highly accomplished in their own craft. The band features Iverson on piano and Hammond B3 organ and Jagels on bass. Completing the ensemble are Doug Gables (guitar), Wyatt Ambrose (guitar) and Joe Damone (drums).

Yolanda Bush took time out of her busy schedule earlier this week to answer some questions about her band, her career and her thoughts on the future. Read the full interview on

What is the meaning behind your band’s name?

The Cool Water Collective is an interchangeable group of musicians who love to play and perform with each other and with others. The Cool Water Collective honors the lakes, ponds, rivers, and creeks of the Catskills. We come together. We flow. We become tributaries branching out to other genres, projects and creative outlets. We lead, we follow, we come, we go, and that’s both the challenge and the beauty of it. 

What do you and your band members enjoy most about being on the road and performing live?

I’ll have to speak for myself on this one. I enjoy the experience others have when they hear us. I want people to forget whatever makes them go numb in life, and enjoy a common experience that is only happening between all of us in our ever present “now” moments together.  I hope people leave the concert different than they when they arrived. That’s my job as a musician and performer.

What is the song you are most looking forward to playing for the March 24 crowd? Why?

I am looking forward to playing all, and the songs that are a little left or right of center for what the audience may expect are really exciting. 

Are there recurring themes in your work? If so, why do you think that is? 

Life is hard, life is beautiful, life is simple, life is complex, life is life.

What do you feel sets your band apart from other bands in your genre? 

I’m hoping the audience will let us know. My intention for us is to bring the right combination of artistry, nuance, passion and swagger. That’s how I define blues. It’s like the sun, you know it when you feel it.  

What artists have inspired you?

There is an extremely long list and very different reasons. We’re talking Miles Davis to T-Bone Walker to Etta James, to Joni Mitchell, to Ella Fitzgerald to John Coltrane, to Aretha Franklin, to Thelonious Monk, to Chic Corea, to Ahamad Jamal, to BB King, Yo Yo Ma, Celia Cruz, Big Momma Thornton, Nat King Cole, Kurt Elling, David Crosby, Esperanza Spaulding, Carrie Lynn Carrington, Ray Brown…

Are the band’s musicians self-taught and/or have they studied under/played with other musicians who have influenced their style?

These musicians are band leaders in their own right, and have both studied music and have “played” their dues by experiencing music with many other musicians, across multiple genres. Most of them are music educators.  Best of all, they are continuous learners, teaching/learning, breathing in music/breathing out music, experiencing music with me, experiencing music with others. 

If you could open for any other performer(s), who would that be?

My extensive list above with the exception of those who are no longer with us. Maybe I’ll open for them in the great beyond when it’s time.

What’s next for your band? 

More music, with good fortune, and planning a recording, and tour.  

Any words of wisdom for up-and-coming bands out there trying to make it in the music industry? 

I’m no industry expert. But… “If music be the food of life, play on.”


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