Some things are just meant to be. For those who have followed the career of Georgian singer-songwriter Brent Cobb over the last few years, it will come as no surprise that ‘Shine On Rainy Day’ is a likely contender to be one of our top album releases of 2016.
Although he released ‘No Place Left To Leave’ in 2006 it wasn’t until the release of his 5 track EP in September 2012 that most peoples interest in Cobb as a performer rather than a song writer began to develop. Writing songs for Miranda Lambert (‘Old Shit’), Luke Bryan (‘Tailgate Blues’) and David Nail (‘Grandpa’s Farm’) helped pay the bills but this was not the reason that Cobb had relocated to Nashville. He wanted to perform, and the 5 tracks on that EP showed the world that he was ready.
Unfortunately, it has been 4 long years before the world could properly appreciate his talents with the release of his second full album. Much has been made of Cobb’s family connections. He is the cousin of Dave Cobb, the Grammy-winning producer. The same Dave Cobb who is credited for the production duties on Chris Stapleton’s multimillion selling ‘Traveller’ album.
It was Dave Cobb’s ‘Southern Family’ compilation album that featured new music from Brent. ‘Down Home’ was a worthy addition to that project. It was also this reintroduction that has led to the release of ‘Shine On Rainy Day’, a 10-track album that only features 1 of the 5 tracks that were included on the earlier EP.
That song, ‘Diggin’ Holes’ was the most memorable of the earlier tracks and here it has been given a re-make and cousin Dave’s attention. It was always a song that showcased Cobb’s lyrical prowess. The new version has additional instrumentation but the old adage “if it ain’t broke”.. comes to mind. The original seems to have the greater energy and rawness that complemented Cobb’s voice.
Another song that may be familiar is the title track. It was written with Andrew Combs who included it on his ‘All These Dreams’ album. There, it was ‘Rainy Day Song’ and having lived with that version for the best part of a year I have to say that it’s the version I prefer.
Having got the minor negativity safely out of the way, let’s concentrate on the positives and those stack up. This is an ideal front porch album even for those of us without a front porch. Cobb has the ability to lull you into a sensory perception rarely fulfilled in the UK. No one would suggest that Dave Cobb’s production skills have gone to waste but maybe his experience deliberately reigned in any temptation to over-tinker. Brent Cobb’s music thrives on the lightest touch. The deliberate, almost homespun approach to the album perfectly complements the song writing and vocal style. Cobb writes his songs almost entirely from a blue collar perspective.
Most would be just fine acoustically but the darker, moodier ‘Let The Rain Come Down’ benefits from the building drum beats and the electric guitars that have been largely missing throughout the project. Cobb has developed a very comfortable vibe for himself and doesn’t stray far from it. ‘Travelling Poor Boy’ tells the tale of seeking out a better life elsewhere and is sung from a first person, autobiographical standpoint. ‘Down In The Gutter’ would not be first choice listening material for a pick-me-up but this isn’t a collection to lighten moods.
I get the sense that there is much more to come from Brent Cobb. He isn’t a country singer who will have career boosts from hit radio singles. His music will not attract attention from current US country radio stations but this shouldn’t matter one jot.
This guy is almost the new kid on the block without actually being very new. He’s also someone who should now attract everyone’s attention.
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