Brent Cobb Talks His Upcoming Show on New Year’s Eve
Now one of the most sought after songwriters in the music industry and a Grammy nominated recording artist in his own right, Cobb took some time with us to talk about the ridiculous year he has had and about his upcoming show at the Cox Capitol Theatre on New Year’s Eve.
Ok, full disclosure. The first time I met Brent Cobb was when he was in Macon performing at Mount De Sales and promoting his upcoming album last year. As he was walking down Cherry Street after performing live on the air, I turned to Anthony Ennis and said the following words: This is the last time you will ever see that man walking down the street carrying his own guitar. Over a year later, that prediction has come true. He is now one of the most sought after songwriters in the music industry and now a Grammy nominated recording artist in his own right. Brent took some time with us to talk about the ridiculous year he has had and about his upcoming show at the Cox Capitol Theatre on New Year’s Eve.
Thank you so much for taking some time to talk to us and indeed congratulations are in order for your 2017 Grammy nomination for Best Americana Album with Shine On Rainy Day. How did you find out about the nomination?
My manager called me super early in the morning. He was in Nashville and I was in Georgia. It had to be around 6 in the morning in Nashville. So I looked down at the phone wondering what he was doing up that early. And then he said to me “I just wanted to call Grammy nominated artist Brent Cobb” and I was like what? My phone blew up all day. Just crazy stuff.
You are on the road headed towards Nashville now?
Yea. My label Low Country Sound just signed Brandi Carlile. So we are going to get together tonight at the Basement East. Me, Brandi and Anderson East.
That’s awesome. One of the last times you were in Macon you and Anderson performed together at the Cox Capitol Theatre. Have you and Anderson been writing together recently?
We have written together but not recently. We are constantly collaborating and trying to inspire one another. It’s like when you go to your grandma’s house and you have that older cousin that says you aren’t cool if you haven’t heard this record so we are constantly trying to one up each other with that kind of stuff.
You are going back on the road in early 2018 with the Ain’t A Road Too Long Tour. With having the family back home, how do you balance being Artist Brent Cobb versus Husband/Father Brent Cobb?
Well, lucky for me they are sort of one in the same. It’s taken 12 years to get to the bottom and so I’m pretty humble and try to remain the same. As far as time goes, I was a pretty neat year last year. I was able to do a 3 days on/4 days off type thing. So I’d be home taking baby girl to school three mornings in a row and then hit the road and go to Canada. Then be gone, come back and do it all over again. But luckily my family is really supportive and we get a lot of help which is why we made the move back to Georgia so it has not been too bad so far.
Your cousin producer Dave Cobb, who produced for Anderson East’s upcoming album, Chris Stapleton and many more, was quoted in a Rolling Stone article calling you the Redneck Paul Simon due to your command of the lyrical imagery. Where do you think that mode of writing comes from?
I don’t know. Where we are from, and it’s the same way in Macon, people just have a way of talking. It’s a bit of a story being told. There is a rhythm to it. I think that’s part of it. Another part of it is my dad is a writer. My uncles are all writers and I grew up listening to writers that they were into like Neil Young and Tom T. Hall and stuff like that so I think maybe it got all mixed up together and I became the Redneck Paul Simon.
You have written for tons of artist like Luke Bryan and Miranda Lambert. I also read that Shooter Jennings was one of the people that got you into the “songwriting for other people” mode. Do you find yourself writing differently when you are composing for other artists versus writing for yourself?
I’ll put it this way. Any cut that I have ever had has been a song that I wasn’t thinking of another artist. It’s always been songs that came naturally and lended themselves to me as a performer. There was a moment in time when I left the road for a while when my daughter was first born in 2014 and I focused solely on songwriting. I actually tried to write for other people during that time, and I will be completely honest, it is probably the worst batch of songs in my catalog. So I’m not good at writing that way. I have to just write for the sake of the song, not for any other reason.
Now let’s talk about some of the new music. You wanted to create this sound called Country Funk and to me the song that coincides with that perfectly and one of the best songs of the year in my opinion is Ain’t A Road Too Long. It seems to have this Hamilton-style hip hop cadence to it. Talk about the process of writing that song.
Well I’m not the first to do it. There’s a guy named Larry Jon Wilson who is actually from Swainsboro, Georgia. In the 70’s, he did a couple of records that are totally country funk. He’s got a song called Ohoopee River Bottomland. There was a little split second in time where it seemed like a lot of people were doing that kind of thing and then it just fell off the map. I just think it’s the coolest Country you know. I feels like down there so I’d been listening to a lot of that and then I had two days off somewhere. Normally we all would pile up in the same room, 5 band dudes, and on these two days I decided to pay for my own room so that I could just sit in there, not leave, and write. So I had already made that decision. I ordered delivery food and about a day and a half into that, I got an email asking if I’d be interested in trying to write for this campaign that Ram Trucks were doing called Long Live The Storyteller. The themes were the same stuff that I have been dealing with being on the road. Having to keep going and stay determined. So I had this funky guitar lick that goes throughout the song already and when I got the email, that song just fell out of the sky.
And finally, you will be back in town with The Steel Woods at The Cox Capitol Theatre on New Year’s Eve to close out the year. I know you have been writing, performing on the road and giving the fans everything they want. What should the fans expect to see if it’s their first time seeing you?
It’s funny. I guess the first thing would be that if you listened to Shine On Rainy Day, you probably wouldn’t expect a rock show but somehow those songs have transformed and they kind of rock live. So you might would expect a storyteller, singer/songwriter round type of thing. And if you haven’t heard The Steel Woods, they are a rock and roll band from the South. So it’s a full energy show. It’s gonna feel like Classic Macon. The kind of show that Macon may not have had in the last decade or so.