Showing posts with label Dave Cobb. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dave Cobb. Show all posts

Jan 17, 2017

Top 10 Ways Nashville Will Respond to Sturgill Simpson's Popularity



10. Sign Virgil Simpson, Sturgill's tonedeaf cousin 

9. More songs about DMT

8. Ban pitch correction in lieu of barely discernible enunciation

7. Request Florida-Georgia Line try some of that "authenticity" stuff on for size

6. Vow to release another dumb bro-country song for every 
Facebook rant Sturgill goes on, out of spite

 5. Kidnap Dave Cobb; force him at gunpoint to produce Rascal Flatts next album

4. Quietly invite Sturgill to play the CMAs; never let anyone know 
about his 5 minutes of laughing on voice mail reply

3. Scour the hills of Kentucky for a salt-of-the-earth type who writes great songs; 
ruin him with spray tan, EMD, and emojis

2. Get Cole Swindell to cover "You Can Have the Crown" …very poorly

1. Just do whatever the fuck they were gonna do in the first place because 
they still don't know who Sturgill Simpson is

Jan 13, 2017

Brent Cobb: The Farce the Music Interview

Brent Cobb: The Farce the Music Interview

By Kevin Broughton

Brent Cobb is an old soul. He’s wise and even-keeled like you’d expect a man twice his 30 years to be. Heck, he sounds old on the phone; his conversational tone matches up with a grizzled roughneck, not the soothing troubadour on Shine On Rainy Day. Critical acclaim poured forth upon the album’s October release, and it finished at a heady No. 4 in the FTM critic’s poll – ahem – no small feat. Our intrepid publisher described perfectly it as “a slow drive down a gravel road on the outskirts of your hometown, with nary a bro in sight.” 

And therein lies the irony. Or paradox. Whatever, the bro issue is inescapable in a discussion of Cobb’s musical journey, and it’s evident that the dichotomy puzzles the man himself. Because this guy – who hasn’t needed a day job outside of music for 10 years – has written plenty of songs that bros and their producers have fattened their wallets on. And while Cobb would never say it, the bros and their auto-tuning technicians commit aggravated musical assault on his art, dumbing it down in the pursuit of (a) filthy lucre; and (b) the approval of millions of 80-IQ drones.

Oh, his frustration occasionally bubbles up, but in an understated way in keeping with his gentle temperament. Except that one time two years ago when he went into the studio to vent; that’s when “Yo, Bro” caught the ear of notable outlets like Rolling Stone. (Though, by the way, Cobb sent it to FTM first.) The magazine was one of many platforms to make the obvious comparison of his parody song to the work of one of the reigning bros, who happened to be a friend of Cobb’s.  It picked up steam to the point the artist felt compelled to preemptively reach out to the pop star in question. “He asked me,” Cobb said, “whether I was making fun of bros, or if it was something I wanted him to record.”

Yeah.

It’s a stretch to say Cobb has a foot in both camps. It’s indisputable, though, that there’s some overlap because of his personal and professional relationships. It gives him a unique perspective into the critical/commercial contrast, and you won’t find anyone with Cobb’s artistic integrity who has such a realistic window into the tragic dumbing down of country music.

When Jody Rosen coined the term “bro country” three and a half years ago, it cut deep with the thin-skinned millionaires whose songs are confined to beer, trucks and heavy petting with loose women. Jason Aldean – who stares at the orange juice can because it says concentrate – remarked, “It bothers me because I don’t think it’s a compliment.”

“You have no idea,” Cobb says, “how personally they take it. You wouldn’t think it would bother them too bad, since all they have to do is go to the mailbox and pick up a check. I don’t know why it bothers them so much, but it does.”

Brent Cobb may never sleep in piles of money; he’ll also never have to worry about the respect of his peers.

On a Sunday in December, Cobb took a break from singing the Frozen soundtrack with his little girl to talk about songwriting. And the music business. And having a cousin who churns out Grammys for the guys program directors ignore. The “bro” thing may have come up, too.

I’d like to start with a question about tradecraft. For a while you made a living writing songs for other people. Is there a different mindset for writing a song for somebody else? I would imagine you attack it differently, for instance, when the goal is to get a song on mainstream radio.

Well, I got lucky, really. I’m with a great publishing company, Carnival Music, that’s always supported people and let them be their own artists and writers. I can’t imagine being anywhere else.  There are a lot of places in town, where you go in and it’s a nine-to-five, and you have to try to write hits and that sort of thing. I’ve never had any of that kind of pressure. And for some reason I’ve gotten lucky enough; the songs I’ve written I’ve always done for myself. And I’ve been fortunate that there have been folks to record them.

About six months before the release of Shine on Rainy Day, there was the compilation from your cousin Dave Cobb, Southern Family. Your song on it, “Down Home,” seems like a preview for the album. Was that a song you’d been working on for a while? Put another way, if Dave hadn’t done the compilation, would that have been the eleventh song on Shine On?

I’m sure it would’ve been, man. It’s funny. I had gotten started on that song and had maybe a half a verse or a full verse. When Dave gave me a call [about the compilation] I knew it would be a perfect fit. But it’s definitely a Sunday in the life of my Southern family. And on my album there’s definitely a lot of that, so yeah, no doubt it would’ve been the eleventh track.

It looks like y’all had a lot of fun recording that one.

Oh, yeah. It was definitely good to get back in the studio with Dave; it had been about 10 years since I’d done that with him. So it was a blast. I’ve said this before, but he kinda produces the way I write. There’s a lot of spur-of-the moment stuff, and if he says, “something doesn’t feel right,” he means from his heart, not technically. And that’s the way I’ve always approached writing songs.

You met your cousin Dave, I believe, when you were about 16. He was an established producer then, but not the big name his is now in the industry. He’s kind of a big deal….

That’s what I’m saying!

…How big an asset is it to have a producer who’s not just blood kin, but the hottest hand in Nashville right now?

Ah, that’s gonna be pretty beneficial. It’s definitely helped me out a lot. When we first met I was 17, and he had produced Put the O Back in Country by Shooter [Jennings], which was one of my favorite records at that time and is still one of my favorites.

And it was funny, man. When I moved up here [Nashville]… well, actually, I moved to L.A. for a minute. I lived in the middle of Hollywood for about four months and went back and forth for about a year and a half. Then I moved back to Georgia, then back to Nashville in March of ’08. And I was looking around trying to find a publishing deal and learning about being a staff writer. And the first thing everybody asks is, “Are you a songwriter or an artist?”

So I would always say, “I thought they were one and the same.” And they said, “Well, we’ve gotta get you a producer.” And I told everybody the same thing, for eight years: I’ve got a cousin who’s a producer, and he’s badass. But folks were a little scared to invest money in someone who’s somebody’s cousin who happens to be a producer. And I didn’t have the money and Dave didn’t have the money, so we sorta did what we had to do there for a second. But now a lot of those naysayers are red in the face, I believe. [Laughs.]

Around the time Something More than Free came out, Jason Isbell talked about the collaborative way he and Dave worked in the studio. Your cousin, he said, had a real knack for knowing where to place a bridge, for example, or whether to start a song with a chorus or a verse. Did you experience a similar chemistry in the studio?

Yeah. Well, definitely on my first album, Dave would structurally set up songs. I was 17 at the time. And there’s still a lot of that because he’s just got such a great instinct for… well, I might think a song is incomplete and he might say, “I think it’s done; let’s just put this little melodic thing at the end.” He’s just fantastic, and that’s why everybody loves him, because he thinks like an artist. Well, he is an artist, not just someone who can afford a bunch of equipment and calls himself a producer.

I imagine he’s as valuable – if not more so – than any great session man.

Yeah! And going back to the staff-writing thing, I approach that the same way Dave does: It’s a collaboration that comes down to “What’s best for the song?”

How long had you been working on this batch of songs? Did you do any writing while in the studio?

Some of them longer than others. Like I said, I’ve always written for myself, so I’ve always had a deep pocketful of songs that kinda lent themselves to this album. But some of them I finished up in the studio in the moment; I might have a melody in mind and I’d say, “What do you think about this one, Dave?” So, a little bit of both.

There’s an uplifting air to this album of yours. There’s sort of a demarcation point, I think, between the first seven and last three songs, but for the most part there’s kind of a contentment running through it. Is this a reflection of your personality and general outlook on life?

I think it has to be. I come from a very musical family, a positive family, a loving family.  For me, it’s been a long decade professionally in music and I’ve seen some people come behind me and excel and surpass me. But I’m still rockin’, professionally. I’ve been able to make a living from just music for almost a decade. So I’ve gotta be positive.

The other thing I wanted to show, you know…I’m friends with everybody on both sides of the fence; I can’t really pick a side because I’ve got so many friends on both sides of this invisible wall. My thing is, I wanted to do country music in such a way that just because you’re going beyond scratching the surface and doing something a little deeper, it doesn’t have to be depressing. You can write something that feels good and also has a little more meaning to it, a little more depth.

So that was always in the back of my mind while I was putting this album together. And also – having a two-year-old – I wanted to put something out where if I never did anything else, my daughter could listen to it and say, “Man, that was my daddy’s album!”

From Brent Cobb's Instagram
You'd easily fit into the mainstream country neo-traditional revival (artists like Stapleton, William Michael Morgan, Jon Pardi).  You've seemingly gone the more straight-Americana/less-commercial route. Was that a business decision, or just staying true to your style and comfort level?

Yeah, it’s just the way I write. If you go the traditional or commercial route, there’s just so many people who have to get involved, and that wouldn’t have been a good representation of what I do. This album is just natural.

And, speaking of the commercial route, let’s talk about an elephant in the room. There are several folks in the “mainstream” camp who’ve recorded your songs. You wrote “Tailgate Blues” and Luke Bryan had a hit with it. (editor’s note: was a popular album cut)  It might be hard for folks to reconcile the songs on Shine on Rainy Day with that one. Was that a case of “well, that’s just what the music-listening public wants, so give it to them?”

No, that song was originally written for me. I had a verse or two, and it was originally called “Mossy Blues.” And I would ask people to go and listen to the lyrics of that song * before they made any judgments like, “Oh, he wrote that song for Luke Bryan.” Because – and I don’t really want to be the one to say it – if they listen to it, it’s structurally different. There are some of the same phrasings, but we’re from the same area. But I think you can tell the differences in depth.

And my co-writer, Neil Medley – it was one of the first songs I’d had a co-writer for, and this was about five years ago – he’s the one who said “Let’s call it ‘Tailgate Blues.’”

Well, that was certainly some foresight, right there.

[Laughs]. Isn’t that funny, man? And look, I’m not saying we were the first ones to write about a buzz, or write about a tailgate or crickets and stuff, because we damn sure were not. But during that time period not a lot of people were saying that stuff. And then, about a year or so after that…[laughs].

What’s more likely to happen: Brent Cobb writing another song about a truck, or Luke Bryan covering “Down in the Gulley?”


Luke would do Down in the Gulley.

Yeah, but would you want him to? Wait. You don’t have to answer that.

Of course I would! I want everybody to do whatever they want to do. Wouldn’t it be cool to hear Luke do Down in the Gully? That would probably change everything.

Well, it would help your bottom line, no doubt… So, you apparently dipped your toe into satire and wrote something called “Yo, Bro.”

[Laughs] Aw, I should’ve sent that to you.

I’d love to hear it, but I can’t, since all traces of it have disappeared from the Internet. Can you clear up this mystery?  

Ah, well…For about four or five years, I averaged doing about 120 dates a year, and when we found out we were having our baby, I decided I’d leave the road and just focus on songwriting. And during that time, it was at the height, the peak really, of the bro country movement, and I couldn’t get anybody to listen to any of my songs.

So I got kinda pissed off. And what happened…I won’t say any names, but I had a couple folks who are kinda high up – Luke WAS NOT one of them – a couple folks in that camp told me, “Man if you could just write some stuff that leaned that way, you could probably have a lot of success.” And it really bothered me because it ain’t that I can’t do that; I just don’t do that.

I decided to write something that was that style of song, and I wanted to do it better than they can write their own style of song. [Pauses] Against them. As a matter of fact, Neil Medley – the same guy who co-wrote “Tailgate” – that’s who I wrote “Yo, Bro” with. And it worked.** [Laughs] It did a lot of what I thought it would do; I figured it would go over a lot of the bro fans’ heads…

That’s not a very high bar, Brent…

And later they were like, “Wait, I think he’s making fun of us, but it doesn’t matter because it sounds so cool.” What I didn’t expect to happen was that a lot of the more traditional fans – I expected them to get the joke – but it kinda backfired on me and said, “Aw, he’s a bro hatin’ on bros.”

[Howls with laughter]…

Yeah, that’s what happened. So, I pulled it off the Internet. Someday I’ll put it back out there, but I took it off before I put this record out because I didn’t want people to be confused and not get the joke. Luckily we’ve got folks like [Trailer] and ole Trigger (Saving Country Music) who do get the joke. But a lot of folks didn’t, so I just didn’t want to deal with that.


Back to Southern Family for a second: It’s become a cliché, what with the mainstream country bros checking all the boxes (trucks, dirt roads, etc.) to show they’re authentically rural on all their songs. On “Down Home,” you touch all the bases yourself, yet it’s valid on its face. Did you write that song as sort of an ironic wink at the bro template?

Nah, I didn’t really think of it that way. The thing is, I’m friends with some of those guys. There was one time we were sitting around in the writing room writing a song, and I had this really cool idea.  Where I grew up my grandpa had a junkyard. He had a hundred acres that my great-grandpa bought for a dollar an acre after World War I, and on one part of it was this junkyard.

So I had this idea about how things rust away in a junkyard, but it can still be beautiful; a really rural song, you know? So this one guy – and man this is one of the top dudes, and again I’m not gonna say any names. He says, “Well, does that pass the Bubba test?” I asked him what the “Bubba test” was. “As in Bubba back home; is he gonna get it?”

It bothered me so much. And I was a young buck, just a low man on the [Nashville] totem pole. I told the guy, “Well, I don’t think we’re gonna be able to write anything together. Ever.” And I just got up and walked out. Who knows; maybe if I hadn’t walked out I could’ve had a bunch of bro hits. [Laughs] But it just bothers me, man. It’s an epidemic, and what I don’t understand is, those guys are from there (the rural South.) They know that things are deeper. I don’t know whose fault it is, whether it’s the fans of that music; I don’t know if it’s the record labels, or the radio, or if it’s just people getting there and selling where they’re from short. I don’t know whose problem it is. But it’s unfortunate, because it’s much richer, where we’re all from.

Yeah. As a lifelong Southerner, it chaps me when in the movies, for example, every Southerner is gonna be a dumb yokel…

Always…

…and these guys, they’re reinforcing that stereotype and lining their pockets. And now they’ve added an element of soft-core porn to it, singing about trying to get in some skank’s pants…

yeah…

…and it’s not healthy.

You know, I hate to name-drop because I know these guys and they’re all heroes of mine. But my wife and I were talking about this the other day. Guys like Kristofferson and Willie, when they talked about a woman, it was so romantic. They did it in a way that was just beautiful, man. You can still do that, dammit. It’s the same way with movies, too. I love the movie Dazed and Confused; it’s funny because it’s real-life, not over the top. What’s happening in all genres of music, not just country, is that it’s over the top and exploitative of whatever the truth is.

Lastly, are you doing any new writing, or is that something that’s perpetual for you? And have you thought about what you might do for your next album?

I have thought about it and I’m really excited about doing the next album. It won’t stray too far from where I am already, though.



* Seriously, go listen. He’s right, and it’s a great song. When sung by Brent Cobb, of course.

** Oh, man, does it ever work. Since the interview, your humble correspondent received a copy from the artist on the condition of not circulating it. It is brilliant.

Nov 18, 2016

Exclusive: Luke Bryan Says He's Through Shaking It

Luke Bryan at the 45th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.
Luke Bryan Says He's Through Shaking It
(Nashville, TN)

In a stunning exclusive, we can now report that Luke Bryan has left his music label -- UMG Nashville -- and plans to record what he calls "some old school country music." As of press time, he was in talks with several independent labels about continuing his music career at what he called "a dialed back and more real" level. Calls to UMG were not immediately returned; nor could rumors that Bryan left CEO Mike Dungan a strongly worded "I quit" voice mail be confirmed by anyone close to the artist.

Multiple sources, however, with intimate knowledge of Bryan’s plans -- but who spoke only on the condition of anonymity -- said the star hasn't announced new tour stops because he's cancelled all tour dates past December. They confirmed that his current single, "Move," will be his last release on mainstream country radio for the foreseeable future.

"He said, and I’m not kidding, ‘I'm through shaking it,’" according to one source on Wednesday. "He told me he’d looked in the mirror and just didn’t like what he saw," the source continued, before a long, seemingly disconsolate pause.  “I mean…I just don’t even know.”

Another member of Bryan’s inner circle thinks he has isolated the multi-platinum winner’s artistic turning point. “For the last year and a half, all Luke’s heard about is Sturgill this, Isbell that, blah blah Grammys, whatever,” this source said. “So he YouTube’d this Isbell guy and saw him playing live with John Prine and he yells to all the guys on the bus ‘What’s that little bitty fiddle thing that one dude has?’” It was yet another of Bryan’s coterie who told him the instrument in question was a mandolin.

“That’s when he chugged a couple more Red Bulls and just Googled for a while; not a single Fireball mini for hours. He was like so focused,” said the source. “Then he finds out some ‘Dave Cobb’ guy supposively [sic] has like the best studio to make you sound really, really good.”

Despite multiple, repeated – and ultimately unreturned -- calls from Bryan to Cobb’s Ryman-based recording studio offices, the singer appears to his intimates a man determined to cash in on the fledgling “roots” movement in country music. “Who knows?” said one source. “Here’s a perfectly normal, 40-year-old man signing about beer and [expletive] to college girls, and now it’s all ‘Y’all get me a banjo guy and a dude who can play that steel thing.’ I mean, what’s up with that [expletive]?”

While all of the confidential sources pushed back on the idea of “panic” within Bryan’s camp, each of them acknowledged that as their meal ticket stepped off into such uncharted territory, tensions are high.

"Pedal steel, fiddle, some resonator? What the [expletive] are we supposed to do in the studio now?” asked a source on the mega-star’s recording team. “Turns out he wants to write ‘a bunch of songs’ with that Cobb guy’s son [sic] Brent.  And John Prine turns down all our Snapchat requests.”

The news that its golden boy is gone – at least for the foreseeable future -- will likely shake Nashville to its core. The Leesburg, Ga. native has sold more than 7 million records and 27 million singles, and will be – regardless of his risky new ventures – always recognized as one of the founding fathers of bro country. We'll have more information on this fluid situation when it becomes available.







*by Trailer and Kevin Broughton

Nov 2, 2016

There's Something About Mary Country Reaction Gifs

When your stepson says he's a huge Big Smo fan

When you try to make your friend stop listening to Lindi Ortega

Riding with your Brantley Gilbert fan cousin like...

Did you know Dave Cobb is Brent Cobb's cousin?

 When your girlfriend walks in after 
you just listened to Turnpike Troubadours

When you meet Hunter Hayes

Oct 7, 2016

Album Review: Brent Cobb - Shine On Rainy Day

Review by Trailer

The inviting warmth of John Denver, the deceptive simplicity of Kris Kristofferson, and the swampy grooves of Tony Joe White. Comparisons are the crutch of a lazy critic, but I'll be damned if those three traits don't fairly aptly describe Brent Cobb's sound. Throw in a little Van Morrison sublimeness for good measure. If I'm gonna go the easy route, I may as well go all out.

Hailing from a musical Georgia family, Brent Cobb gets both his chosen career path and his sound honest. His dad and uncles were songwriters (in fact, they wrote one of this album's strongest cuts, "Country Bound" when Brent was 5) and cousin Dave, well, you know Dave. He's helmed a few records you might have heard before. He's at the board on this one too, and Shine On Rainy Day stands as a fine first full-album collaboration between the Cobbs.




Distilled to its most central theme, Shine On Rainy Day is an exaltation of home and simple living. Where the typical Nashville writer might see a party spot or a mudding hole, Cobb takes you on a thoughtful stroll through the cattails and dragonflies. It's an appreciation rather than an exploitation; one that shows respect for both the craft and the audience.

You might even say this was a further exploration of the themes of this year's Southern Family compilation (produced by Dave and including Brent and many other rootsy artists). It's certainly similar in atmosphere…the kind of music you'd rather have a front porch seat than a front row seat to enjoy.

"Solving Problems" opens the set with a knowing look at the simple joys of just hanging out with an old friend. "We ain't up to nothing, just solving all the problems of the world" Brent sings, imbuing the moment with an emotional weight that belies the self-deprecation.

"Diggin' Holes" has passed this way before; it's a release from a 2012 self-titled EP and was one of my favorite songs that year. It holds up well, with a sense of humor that recalls Roger Miller and a catchy tune that would fit well in most eras of country radio that aren't this one.

The title cut, previously recorded by Andrew Combs as "Rainy Day Song," is a near celebration of the dark days in life. I know the feeling. It's not about wallowing in misery, but appreciating and feeling the full depth of the lows so you can love the highs …"Laughing ain't a pleasure till you know about crying."

It's a strong and consistent set of tunes without a lull in quality. Shine On Rainy Day isn't a party record but it's light enough for a round of beers on the back porch while the grill smokes away. It's a humid afternoon with a cool breeze. A slow drive down a gravel road on the outskirts of your hometown, with nary a bro in sight. Cobb's debut has all the goods to satisfy both the buzzy ne'er-do-well and the homesick romantic in us all.

---------------
Shine On Rainy Day is available on Amazon, iTunes, etc.

Apr 22, 2016

Every Mainstream Country Act's Next Album to be More Mature


Citing a need for depth and truth, every single mainstream country act announced that their next album will be more mature.

"Trucks and girls and beer are all fun, but there comes a time when you have to let your heart show," said all of Nashville's radio-friendly country acts. "You have to be honest and real about what happens after the party ends."

Singers and bands as diverse as the previously raucous Florida-Georgia Line and the formerly licentious Cole Swindell were all planning to release more songs about death, love, love-making, Jesus, the working man, disease, rural blight, marriage, divorce, depression, farming, and alcoholism.

"Just like life, you've got no choice but to grow up," said 129 singers, duos, and bands. "It in no way has to do with the success of Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson; we just want to present a different side of us."

Dave Cobb, the highly sought after producer of popular albums by Stapleton, Simpson, and Jason Isbell, was being brought in to helm at least 76 of the scheduled recordings. "I'm honored, and a little confused, but way too busy to complain," laughed Cobb as he worked the boards on Dan + Shay's new track "Daddy Shouldn't Have Hit Mama."

At press time, Chase Rice's new album was being edited for profane sexual content because he looked up the wrong definition of "mature."

Feb 1, 2016

New Video: Anderson East - Learning

From the forthcoming Southern Family compilation album produced by Dave Cobb and featuring Miranda Lambert, East, Jason Isbell, Jamey Johnson, and many more.

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