Oct 7, 2016
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.