Feb 4, 2023
Saturday Night Music / Hayes Carll & Brent Cobb / "I Got a Gig"
Dec 29, 2022
Brent Cobb & Hayes Carll Cover John Anderson's "Wild and Blue"
Mar 9, 2022
Road Dispatch: Brent Cobb, City Winery (ATL), 2/25/22
By Kevin Broughton
“Man, we played Macon last night, and I kinda blew my voice out,” are the first words out of Brent Cobb’s mouth during a brief tour-bus visit before a late February show in Atlanta. And why wouldn’t it happen? Macon’s just 70 miles up the road from Cobb’s hometown of Ellaville; what to expect, if not a rocking show?
“The response on this tour has been overwhelming,” says Cobb, who recently released an album of Southern gospel standards, And Now, Let’s Turn to Page… “In places like Manhattan, even, they love it when we play the gospel record live, beginning to end. You’re gonna like this show.”
And yet, there’s one more tour stop, tomorrow in Nashville. Our boy was gonna have to dig deep.
And dig deep he would. Atlanta’s a good bit further from Ellaville than Macon, but there’s a partisan Cobb crowd on hand. It’s largely respectful of the opening act – rising country star Gabe Lee – but there’s a sense of anticipation bordering on rowdy.
As the moment arrives, Cobb and the band make quite the entrance: the front man in a shiny, mother-of-pearl-colored jacket with raised paisley, his bandmates sporting Kelly-green blazers of their own. The night is actually three concerts in one, as most of the songs from the gospel record make an appearance. After a quick jacket swap – as mother-of-pearl gives way to mustard corduroy – there’s a brief acoustic solo set, followed by a full-band, secular rocker to close things out.
It’s not until the last leg that Cobb’s vocal fatigue peeks in. “So, we played Macon last night, and I kinda blew my voice out,” he tells the crowd, before addressing the sound man. “Could we double up the vocal monitors, please?” And he soldiered on, including this live version of his 2020, tongue-in-cheek “Shut Up And Sing.”
Unsurprisingly, the lights come on after the last song of the set, signifying there’ll be no encores. Nobody complains, knowing they’ve watched a native son leave it all on the stage.
Mar 6, 2022
Mar 4, 2022
Mixed Music Action, Vol. 1, No. 1
Welcome to the inaugural edition of Mixed Music Action, a hybrid back-and-forth between Jeremy Pinnell and Kevin Broughton that touches on the worlds of music and mixed martial arts…and whatever else may suit them.
When Kevin interviewed Jeremy last fall in advance of the release of his phenomenal album, Goodbye L.A., he was delighted to learn that Jeremy practices Brazilian jiu-jitsu and, like himself, is a big fan of the UFC. Two guys, two great topics and a platform like FTM? To quote UFC ring announcer Michael Buffer – though much more succinctly – “It’s time!”
KB: I caught a show with an artist last weekend -- the second-to-last show on this tour. He was really struggling with his voice, and I didn't envy him on the next night's show. That has to be a common problem in your line of work. Do you have a go-to, emergency throat remedy, beyond gargling salt water?
JP: First of all I want to say I’m happy we’re doing this. Gonna be fun.
So, losing your voice happens a lot. When you’re singing two hours a night -- and we’ve done four-hour nights -- it’s unavoidable. I supplement while on the road: Vitamin C, Vitamin D… I try not to smoke cigars. Throat Coat has been proven to work when necessary. But you have to go hard.
KB: When I recently asked you what's good to listen to these days, your first answer was the new Cactus Blossoms album. They remind me a lot of the early Jayhawks, right down to the Minneapolis roots. What about them do you find so appealing?
JP: I just dig their Everly Brothers sound. The harmonies, the hooks, the songwriting, etc. I also dig the Jayhawks and have seen them twice. Once when I was 16, they opened for The Black Crowes at Riverfront Coliseum 1993. The lights were on and people were strolling in when The Jayhawks played.
KB: Two poignant answers there. In a subtle way, you let me know that I’ve got a decade-plus on you, and now I’m jelly that I never saw the Jayhawks open for the pre-implosion Black Crowes. Whose idea was this feature, again?
Anyway, what's up with JP these days? You touring, raising young 'uns, rolling in the BJJ studio? A little of everything?
JP: I’ve been able to hit the Carlson Gym a little more, but touring is picking up quite a bit. I’m looking forward to summer. Yesterday was open mat at the gym, and my son and I went down, and some surrounding gyms showed up and everyone rolled for a couple hours. It was really cool seeing my son use the things he’s learned and enjoy himself. He’s seven, by the way. He and I have been enjoying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu quite a bit.
KB: Looking ahead to this weekend's UFC 272 card: The main event has "must see" written all over it, and to say there's bad blood between Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal is like saying Jon Tyler dabbles in conspiracy theories. Covington is a sizeable favorite, and his only recent losses are to Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman. Jorge is a fan favorite who needs a win.
Your thoughts on the matchup, please, and give me the winner and method of victory. I'll even go first and say Covington by unanimous decision; his wrestling's too much.
JP: So I talked to my BJJ instructor and asked him his thoughts. I’m a Jorge fan obviously, but he said Colby will probably wear him down by using his wrestling, and probably win by decision. But the cool thing about a fight is, anything can happen! I think Jorge is fighter’s fighter. I don’t think anyone will like Colby even if he does win.
KB: Hmmm. Going to a ringer for advice on picks? I mean, I’m not calling Brent Cobb or Leroy Virgil for advice on what music questions to ask, but whatever.
Finally, pick me another winner on this fight card.
JP: I like Kevin Holland, but Alex Oliviera is fierce. I’ll take Alex. I’m also taking Edson Barboza over Bryce Mitchell, even though I like Bryce more. But who knows?*
*Solid, underdog picks from the Kentucky Troubadour here, ladies & gents. Serious value plays.
Feb 17, 2022
Knives Out Country Reaction Gifs
Feb 9, 2022
Brent Cobb w/Aaron Raitiere / "When Country Came Back To Town"
Jan 28, 2022
And Exchange it Some Day for a Crown: A Conversation with Brent Cobb
By Kevin Broughton
One of my favorite political/theological commentators recently joked that modern Evangelical services consist of “a Coldplay concert and a Ted talk.” As the sage Homer Simpson once observed of every good joke, “It’s funny because it’s true.” Put another way, as a former pastor of mine once said, “Music in most Baptist churches now follow the ‘747’ model: Seven verses, sung 47 times each.”
I’ve got a million of ‘em, folks.
I’m a “get off my lawn” Southern Baptist, and defiantly proud of it. And that’s why I love Brent Cobb’s And Now, Let’s Turn To Page…, his love letter to his, my and your youth, provided like him and me, you knew what it meant to be in church twice on Sundays plus Wednesday nights.
Esoteric? Sure. This may not be your thing, if you’re not from the Deep South. But for authentic country music fans of a certain bent – and Cobb gets his “country” honest – this album will move you viscerally. It’s been a good while since I could “have church” just by listening to a record, but Cobb has made a joyful noise in such an authentic way. It’s time to spread the good news.
In late November, we caught up with our fellow Georgian to talk faith, hymns, coincidences (spoiler: they don’t exist,) and meeting destiny at a clogging great aunt’s funeral.
Hey, Kevin. It’s been a while, man.
About four years, best I can tell.
Yeah. Let’s do this!
This is the first “new” album I’ve listened to where I knew 90 percent of the lyrics ahead of time and found myself singing along involuntarily. A gospel record was on your checklist for a while, but something happened to move it up on the schedule. How about you let folks in on that?
Aight. Well, first of all, we’ve gotta make sure that it’s known as a Southern gospel album. (Laughs) I grew up with Southern gospel, and I grew up in Antioch Baptist Church, where we sang all of those songs. Of course back then it was just with piano and congregation. But I always had it in the back of my mind that that I would do a gospel record, because all my heroes did it: Johnny Cash, Elvis…Willie Nelson still closes out his shows with gospel songs.
But then last year, my son and I got T-boned at this little intersection, a four-way stop I’ve been going through my whole life – on the way to my grandparents’ house. And it’s really rural, a lot of Chinaberry trees, plus it’s in July so everything’s in bloom. And I did my best to look, but it was timed so this guy in a little Honda Civic was in my blind spot. He’s not from the area and didn’t see the stop sign, so he hit me full-on.
My son was right behind me, and we got hit on the driver’s side of the truck. He was okay; I broke my collarbone. So that accident really hurried the making of a Southern gospel album along.
And here’s what crazy about that story, too, that sort of relates: The first thing that I found when I was cleaning out my truck after the wreck was a Rosary that a priest had given me years ago on a Jamey Johnson tour. The necklace was slung way up on the other corner of the dashboard, and I found the cross between my seat and my son’s. But that whole situation’s what made me go ahead and record this album.
By my Baptist count, there’s just one “invitation hymn” on the record, “Softly and Tenderly.” I imagine we’ve both sat (stood, more accurately) through altar calls set to this hymn – and others – that cycled through all the verses multiple times….
“…if anybody’s feelin’ it in their heart today, come on down.”
…exactly! That said, now seems a good time to ask about when you “walked the aisle.”
I was young when I walked the aisle. I was ten years old when I got baptized. It’s funny you ask about that. We played a show down here Saturday, and one of the guys I got baptized with, his daughter was at the show and we talked about that.
When you’re young, you don’t really know about the world, but I just thought Jesus was really cool. The kids I grew up with, we went to Royal Ambassadors and all the different activities. In fact, when I was little – before I started sinning when I was about 16 or 17 – I thought I might want to be a preacher. Obviously, I didn’t go down that path. But yeah, I got saved and walked the aisle when I was ten.
Is this album more spiritual than nostalgic to you? The other way around, or a bit of both?
It’s definitely both. It’s what I grew up with, as I was saying. But I sing these songs…I think I sing them better than I sing my own songs. I think it makes you sing different. My grandaddy, he led the singing at our church, but he wasn’t really a singer. But when he got up there to lead the songs, he could sing. I guess it was because he was singing those songs. And it’s the same way for me. I don’t try to push my beliefs on anybody, but it’s definitely spiritual on a personal level. But also nostalgic.
As we were setting up this interview, I mentioned that when my grandaddy died in 2000, my cousin and I sang “The Old Rugged Cross” at his funeral, and that it was fifteen years or so before I heard that hymn sung in a church house. You said that you’d had a similar experience that we could talk about. Now’s the time.
I actually have two stories about that.
My grandaddy’s mother died when he was in his teens. Or he might have been in his twenties. Regardless, after the night she died, he and all his siblings woke up singing “The Old Rugged Cross.” The next day when they found out about their mom, they got to talking and every one of them said they woke up singing that song. “That was always her favorite hymn,” one said, and then each of them said the same thing. So, that song has always had a real personal connection to our family.
So, when my grandaddy passed away, April 4, 2012, me and my cousin were sitting on the front pew. And the piano was right there, and we had a guest singer who was gonna come in and sing that hymn because it was his favorite, too. The hymnal was already open, and every so often the breeze from the fan would turn a page. And when the singer sat down at the piano, it was opened to “The Old Rugged Cross.” He didn’t have to flip a page.
Isn’t that somethin’?
And Now, Let’s Turn to Page…
Let’s talk about some of the arrangements. The bulk of these hymns are traditional and acoustic, but a couple have distinct interpretations. “Are You Washed in the Blood,” with its thumping bass line strikes me as a Southern white boy’s funk-infused reimagining of some the great black gospel tracks. On “When It’s My Time,” the band also lets it fly. Even “Softly and Tenderly” ends with a sweet guitar solo. How did you and Dave decide when and where to step the sound up?
Well, here’s the deal. I call it a “Southern gospel” album because of the gospel, one, but also for Southern rock. All the music I grew up with was born of Southern gospel. Lynyrd Skynyrd – a huge influence of mine, you know? All the soul music – Otis Redding and all those greats – Southern gospel is all it is. So, for it to be a true Southern gospel album, I wanted to infuse all the sounds of the South that make the South so great. And Dave also does, you know?
So, when we first went in, I wanted to make a Jerry Lee Lewis-type country album, but with gospel songs. But when we got to playin’, the first song where we really found the sound – and it wasn’t really intentional – was “Just A Closer Walk With Thee.” We hit that groove there – kinda laid-back, kinda Southern and funky – and we realized this album wasn’t gonna take the Jerry Lee Lewis approach. (Laughs) And we just kept findin’ stuff like that.
Like on “We Shall Rise,” that was the last song we recorded. My great aunt Christine, she was Pentecostal. That was Dave’s grandmother, and she would come every so often and guest sing at our church. And since she was Pentecostal, she didn’t believe in instruments, so she’d come in with her clogs…
…Man, I know. But she’d have her hymnal while she was clogging, singing “We Shall Rise” in a good a Capella, and she would sing it at the top of her lungs. What’s also a coincidence – I don’t know if I believe in coincidences – is that it was the first single of the album, with no influence by me; that was my radio team. And her funeral is where I met Dave for the first time. I was a pallbearer at her funeral.
Pretty wild, huh?
Does Cousin have a Grammy winner in the “Gospel” category yet? Asking for a friend.
Dude, he’s got about every other one, doesn’t he? (Laughs) I don’t know, man. Here’s hoping. Who knows?
You’re about to head out to the United Kingdom for a tour. Two-part question: (1) Is there one cut from this record you might consider springing on a British audience; and, (2) What’s the first thing you look forward to on your return?
Well, I’m sure I’ll play “When It’s My Time” when I’m over there. It’s not purely a gospel song, but I think a lot of people can relate to it. When I get back, I’m looking forward to flying straight to Texas and joining Robert Earl Keen on the “Merry Christmas From The Family” tour. That’s just a dream tour for me and I can’t believe I’m on it; he’s been a major influence of mine since I was a teenager.
And I haven’t had a whole lot of time off. I just got off the road with Nikki Lane and Adam Hood, so I am looking forward to being at home for just a little stretch, anyway.
Ye who are weary, come home: And Now We Turn To Page… is out today wherever you purchase fine music.
Jan 26, 2022
New Video / Brent Cobb / "When It's My Time"
Jan 20, 2022
The Sopranos Country Reaction Gifs
Jan 13, 2022
The Righteous Gemstones Country Reaction Gifs
Morgan Wallen’s team’s thoughts about the Opry controversy
When you catch your boyfriend listening to The Highway SiriusXM
If you catch yourself starting to like Sam Hunt a little
“We’re playing pop country at the reception; take it or leave it.”
Country radio, obviously
When you’ve been listening to Brent Cobb gospel songs all day
When somebody says Turnpike won’t be good anymore because they’re happy and recovering
How about Farce the Music start spreading more positivity?