Brent Cobb - Livin' The Dream Tour at Growlers - Memphis,TN

Fri May 10 2024 at 08:00 pm

1911 Poplar Ave Memphis TN 38104 | Memphis

Zach Russell
Publisher/HostZach Russell
Brent Cobb - Livin' The Dream Tour at Growlers - Memphis,TN Friday May 10th, 2024
$20 ADV / $25 DOS

Brent Cobb

The Americansouth isn't just Brent Cobb's home. It's his muse, too. A Georgia native, hefills his Grammy-nominated songwriting with the sounds and stories of an areathat's been home to southern rockers, soul singers, country legends, andbluesmen. Cobb has a name for that rich tapestry of music — "southerneclectic" — and he offers up his own version of it with his newest album, SouthernStar.

"Downhere, there's a lot going on and there's nothing going on at the sametime," he says. "You've got all these different cultures in thesouth, and everything is mixed in together. Otis Redding and Little Richardwere from the same town in Georgia. So were the Allman Brothers. James Brownand Ray Charles grew up right down the road. All these sounds reflect the Southitself, and that music has influenced the whole world. It's definitelyinfluenced mine."

Filled withcountry-soul songwriting, laid back grooves, and classic storytelling, SouthernStar distills the best parts of southern culture into 10 of the strongestsongs in Cobb's catalog. He began writing the material after leaving Nashville— where he spent a decade releasing solo records like 2016's Shine On RainyDay (which earned a Grammy nomination for Best Americana Album) whilepenning hit songs for Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, and dozensof others — and returning with his family to Georgia. It was a time of change.Not long after celebrating the arrival of his second child, Cobb found himselfmourning the death of his longtime friend, Jason "Rowdy" Cope of TheSteel Woods.

"Rowdywas like my older brother," says Cobb, who named Southern Star inpart after a small-town bar that he and Cope used to frequent. "He lovedthe music that came out of Georgia, and he helped me appreciate it even more. Alot of artists like to branch out and become experimental as their careercontinues, but I sort of go the opposite way. I feel like I can never go wrongif I continue to get closer and closer to the core of who I am and what I love,musically. Coming back to Georgia helped me with that. Southern Star isthe sound of me getting closer to the source."

Don't letCobb's breezy songs about rural life fool you. There's some serious complexitylurking beneath the surface. At first glance, "It's a Start" unfoldslike the soundtrack to a leisurely afternoon in the south, with Cobb singingthe praises of crawfish, barbecue, and day-drinking. Dig deeper, though, andthe song reveals itself to be something more universal: a reminder toappreciate the small things in life, stay mindful, and chase down new horizonsat your own pace. To Cobb, there's something distinctly southern about thatmessage, too. "Sometimes, there ain't shit going on down here," hesays with a laugh, "but since there's nothing else to do, you learn to belaid back. You learn to use your imagination, and you wind up imitating yoursurroundings. These songs sound like the place that inspired them. On 'It's aStart,' when the organ comes in, it reminds me of the sound of the cicadas andfrogs you hear in the springtime."

Cobb doesn'tjust imitate his surroundings with Southern Star. He immerses himselfwithin them. To record the album, he headed to Macon and set up shop at CapricornSound Studios, whereartists like the Marshall Tucker Band, Charlie Daniels, and Percy Sledge onceroamed the halls. "I decided to use all local musicians," says Cobb,who self-produced the album with help from Oran Thorton. "I wanted SouthernStar to shine a light on the southern players who are still living andworking in Macon. Everyone on the album is a Georgia native apart from JimmyMatt Rowland, who plays keys, and Oran Thornton, my engineer and co-producer.That's it. I wanted to capture that 'southern eclectic' sound on this album,and I don't think you can capture it without being in it."

Eclectic,indeed. Track like "Devil Ain't Done," "Livin' the Dream,"and "On't Know When" dish up greasy servings of country-friedfunky-tonk, while "Patina" and "Kick the Can" evoke theunhurried sounds of 1970s folk music. "When Country Came Back ToTown" even shifts its focus to Los Angeles (where Cobb recorded his indiedebut, No Place to Leave, with producers Shooter Jennings and his ownGrammy-winning cousin, Dave Cobb) and Nashville. The song is a salute to theunsung heroes of the music communities in both cities, laced with shout-outs toNikki Lane, Hayes Carll, and others. "It's about the friends I've madealong the nearly 20-year-old path it's taken for the independent countrymovement to grow into what it is today," he adds.

During themonths leading up to Southern Star's release,Cobb spent much ofhis time on the road, playing to stadium crowds of 60,000 people as Luke Combs'opening act. Perhaps that's why Southern Star feels so well-timed. Notonly is it a snapshot of an artist at the peak of his songwriting abilities;it's also a love letter to his southern roots, made all the more potent by hisrecent travels.

"You knowhow when you’re growing up, you're told that if you ever get lost out there,look for the northern star to help find direction back home?" he asks."Well, I'm from Georgia, so I always look for the southern star. Thisalbum, the songs, the sounds… they're all a product of where I'm from, bothmusically and environmentally. Historically and presently, that area alsohappens to be the same place that cultivated a good many of the mostinfluential artists in the whole world of music. Music as we know it would notexist without the American south. It's funky and sentimental. It's simple andcomplex."

With BrentCobb, the southern star shines on.

Event Venue

1911 Poplar Ave Memphis TN 38104, 1911 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN 38104-2654, United States,Memphis, Tennessee


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