Shine On Rainy Day Brent Cobb
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- 1Solving Problems02:34
- 2South Of Atlanta05:22
- 3The World03:38
- 4Diggin Holes02:52
- 5Country Bound03:45
- 6Traveling Poor Boy03:34
- 7Shine On Rainy Day04:23
- 8Let The Rain Come Down03:37
- 9Down In The Gulley03:16
- 10Black Crow04:30
Info for Shine On Rainy Day
„Shine On Rainy Day“ is the second album for the Nashville based singer-songwriter, who has penned tracks for Miranda Lambert, Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan and others. Brent Cobb didn’t set out to write an album that feels and sounds like the place he grew up. But now that the grooves have been cut in his debut LP, Shine on Rainy Day, there’s no denying the people, the places and the vibe of his southcentral Georgia home infuse almost every song.
“It just is Georgia,” Brent says in his musical drawl. “It's just that rural, easy-going way it feels down there on a nice spring evening when the wind’s blowing warm and you smell wisteria, you know?”
It’s quiet down there where he’s from in Ellaville – “population 1,609” - laid back and forgotten in the shadow of Atlanta and Savannah. The people have blue-collar values and believe in treating your neighbor like you want to be treated. They believe in curses and the dark finger of Fate and wield a sharp, dark sense of humor that sustains them through the hardest of times. Distant radio stations, roadside honkytonks made of cinderblock and back-porch picking sessions heavy on the backbeat predominate under Spanish moss-strewn live oaks and loblolly pines. It was the perfect place to grow up.
“Lord, when I die, let’s make a deal,” Brent sings on the album’s swirling thesis statement, “South of Atlanta,” “lay me down in that town where time stands still.”
Shine on Rainy Day is an album Brent’s been trying to make for a decade, enlisting his cousin and fellow Georgian, Dave Cobb, the Grammy Award-winning producer whose Elektra Records imprint Low Country Sound is home to the album.
Brent wanted to record an album that felt Southern, though not the kind of Southern you might expect. Neither Southern rock nor mainstream country, the sound sits somewhere on the wide bandwidth that exists between the two. Cousin Dave helped him find the right vibe, full of blue-eyed soul, country funk and the kind of swamp boogie sounds that predominated pop in the 1960s and early 1970s. There’s a reason Georgia was always on Ray Charles’ mind, after all.
“I don't mean to get weird and be into, like, deep shit, but it really has got to be blood,” Brent said. “When I write songs, it's almost like I didn't write them. You know it's just like this is happening right now and it just comes out. He's the same way in the studio. He's like, ‘Put this right here and play it like this,’ and you're like why? And he’s like, ‘I don't know, it's just the way it's supposed to go.’ That's exactly how I write songs.”
Brent finds it a strange sensation to be so closely linked to someone. Though cousins, the Cobbs didn’t know each other growing up. Dave’s a little bit older than 29-year-old Brent and his father was the one brother who left the area and moved away – to an island off the coast from Savannah. So when they first met – as adults at an aunt’s funeral – Brent was wary. And a little bit of an ass.
“We're standing around outside and I was like, ‘Man, we hear you're producing in L.A. What you produced?’ just kind of like a jerk, really,” Brent said with a laugh. “He told me Shooter Jennings’ 'Put the O Back in Country,' and that floored me, man. Because me and my buddies working at a tree service, we’d get off work, somebody would get a 12 pack, we’d get stoned and listen to 'Put the O Back in Country,' man. We knew it was the cool country. We knew it was for real. Man, I mean it was the shit.”
Brent’s dad shamelessly slipped Dave a disc of six acoustic songs Brent recorded as he left town. Dave didn’t really want to listen to it, but his wife, Lydia, convinced him to stick it in the car’s player on the way to the airport. Not long after Jennings called and invited Brent out to Los Angeles.
He spent four months there, but after living through an earthquake, a drought, a near car-jacking and a drive-by shooting he returned home where he lived for about four months before an old acquaintance from the area, Luke Bryan, called out of the blue. Bryan invited Brent to stay with him and his wife for a week to write and get to know Nashville.
Not long after he returned for good and recorded a well-received EP that led to 3½ years on the road, touring with a band and opening for every big player in country. He decided that wasn’t what he was looking for either, and began to focus more deeply on songwriting. He landed several cuts – most notably Miranda Lambert’s “Old Shit,” Kenny Chesney’s “Don’t It” and Bryan’s “Tailgate Blues”- while working on his own songs and searching for a direction for his long-delayed debut.
Meanwhile, Dave left L.A. for Nashville and began building a reputation as one of music’s most exciting producers for his work with Chris Stapleton, Jamey Johnson, Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell. As part of his deal with Elektra, he conceived of a concept album called Southern Family and thought it only right his “bitch ass little cousin” have a part. “So I was like, ‘I’ll be there,’” Brent said. He contributed “Down Home” to the album and also mentioned the project to Lambert, who wanted in and sang the Brent-written “Sweet By & By,” a standout on an album full of them.
It was during these sessions that the Cobbs began to notice a real connection in the way they would approach songs during the recording process. “It just felt like home, you know?” Brent said. “I made the comment, ‘Dude, let's just do it.’ So we did.”
From the Nashville slice-of-life narrative of “Solving Problems” to the delicate and powerful interplay of acoustic and electric guitars on the stunning closer “Black Crow,” the album feels like the people, places and sounds of Brent’s life.
The album carries something of a Southern Gothic narrative, alternating between dark visions and self-deprecating scenes of black humor that bubble up in laugh-or-cry moments. He chose the album’s title after a friend heard “Shine on Rainy Day” following a family tragedy and mentioned how powerful it was to him.
“When you have a bad storm that hits, the next day the trees are in full bloom and the grass is greener and lightning cleans the air up,” Brent said. “My friend called me up out of the blue and said that song hit him so hard. It’s talking about a rainy day, they’re going through a real life rainy day.”
Like “Shine on Rainy Day,” the album alternates between light and dark. In “Black Crow,” a doomed soul argues with a laughing crow sitting on a fencepost, “Black crow, I ain’t a joke no more!,” before earning a prison sentence in a corner store robbery. “Lord,” he sings, “I can feel those spirits carrying me down” before Jason Isbell unleashes a devilish slide guitar line that feels like a Neil Young guitar solo.
The deliciously self-deprecating “Diggin’ Holes” has that giddy AM radio/Gram Parsons feel with dancing music accompanied by dark lyrics that are both funny and painful. “I ought to be workin’ in a coal mine/Lord knows I’m good at diggin’ holes.”
“Down in the Gulley” is a sour mash-flavored short story with a first line worthy of Faulkner or O’Connor: “My granddaddy was a good man – no matter what the papers said.” The dread-filled “Let the Rain Come Down” opens with visions of doom, a rattlesnake strung from a tree and a witch’s curse: “She put a curse on me/Another on the river/And now my crops won’t grow no more.”
“Solving Problems” was written sitting on a balcony overlooking an especially historic corner of historic Music Row while thinking about Kris Kristofferson’s “To Beat the Devil,” which has a spoken word section that feels lifted right from the Row.
“The energy just feels crazy around here,” Brent said. “I loved how Kristofferson would capture the present moment of his Nashville during that time. Nobody does that anymore.”
“Country Bound” is the only song on the album not written or co-written by Brent. Instead, the song was written by his father and uncle in a far-off place called Cleveland.
“It was the first song I ever witnessed being written in my life,” Brent said. “I was 5 years old and it was the first time I ever saw snow, too. We were up in Cleveland for Christmas. My uncle had been through this breakup and he was wanting to get the hell out of Cleveland and go to Georgia.” Brent knows the feeling, and after listening to Shine on Rainy Day, he hopes you get it, too. He has never been more proud of his work. After 10 years of searching and struggle, the LP sounds and feels exactly how he wants it to. Like home.
“It’s not as good as it's going to get,” Brent said. “But if it’s the last thing that I ever do, if I died the day after it came out, then thank God I was able to record it because the songs and the production, it was everything I wanted to say. Finally.”
Brent Cobb, guitar, vocals
One of Nashville’s most promising singer-songwriters would have been content if his music had never been heard beyond the Georgia state line.
Today, Brent Cobb’s songs are sung by stars such as Luke Bryan, David Nail, Kellie Pickler and the Eli Young Band. He writes for one of Music Row’s top publishing houses and has just completed his first Nashville recording as an artist. Brent says he never intended to be known much beyond his hometown, but fate, family and his fellow Georgians conspired to change that plan.
“I was never going to move from Georgia and didn’t care to,” says Brent. “I loved being where I was from. I always liked the idea of being the guy who never left and didn’t pursue music, but who wrote these cool songs that folks loved down there.”
“Down there” is Ellaville, Georgia, a small town an hour east of Columbus in the rural, south-central part of the state. Both of his parents were highly musical. His father and uncles were songwriters.
“It’s a big musical family,” he reports. “My dad’s always been in a band, and still is in a band. My uncles played, too. Everybody plays. I was always around music.
“Mainly, I was into songs. Growing up, I thought the cover songs that my dad and my uncles were doing were their songs, like ‘Tangerine’ and ‘Rocky Raccoon’ and ‘I Like Beer.’ I’d listen to them play those and thought they wrote them. I didn’t know they were on records by other people.”
Brent can distinctly remember watching his father and an uncle compose together when he was five or six years old. Less than a year later, the boy came up with his own original ditty about collecting rocks. He made his stage debut with his father’s band at age seven.
“We were at the American Legion Hall in Richmond, Georgia. My favorite song was ‘Don’t Take the Girl’ by Tim McGraw. The band had learned it, and my Dad got me on stage. There’s a line in the song that goes, ‘Johnny hit his knees, and there he prayed.’ So when I sang it, I hit my knees, and the crowd just went wild. That was my peak as a showman.”
Around this same time, papa Patrick Cobb’s band opened for country star Doug Stone, a fellow Georgian. Stone was so impressed that he brought Patrick Cobb to Nashville and arranged meetings with booking agents, song publishers and record companies in 1992. Rather than seizing the opportunity, Brent’s father chose to return home.
“He wound up not doing it, because I was seven and my sister was three, and he didn’t want to not be around. So I think, in my mind, I was always a little scared of doing it, because I felt like you had to just give up your whole life,” to make music your profession.
So Brent Cobb followed in his father’s footsteps. He intended to become an appliance repairman like his dad and be happy as a weekend music maker. He picked up the guitar at age 12 and began writing songs regularly at age 13.
“I loved the life that I had. When I was 18, I was playing in a band called Mile Marker 5, and we were doing good in Georgia.
“What happened is that I had a great aunt who passed away, and I was a pallbearer at her funeral. At the funeral, I met a distant cousin of mine, who was a record producer in L.A. I had a little, six-song acoustic demo tape that my folks wanted me to give him at this funeral. I didn’t want to, but my grandma gave it to him anyway.”
Cousin Dave Cobb produces Shooter Jennings, The Secret Sisters, Jamey Johnson and other artists. Two days after hearing Brent’s song demos, he invited him to come to Los Angeles to make a record. Brent Cobb commuted back and forth at first, then moved to L.A. to complete his 2006 CD No Place Left to Leave.
“While I was in L.A., I got held up. Some guy was trying to carjack me. Then I almost got shot in this drive-by shooting. Those two incidents made me start to think about maybe checking Nashville out.”
Mile Marker 5 had opened shows for Georgia native Luke Bryan. Luke heard Brent’s album and took an interest in him. He invited Brent to come to Nashville, but Brent initially resisted the offer.
“I was just so ignorant of the way things worked. I felt like people in Nashville would steal your songs. So I was back in Georgia. When Luke’s video of ‘All My Friends Say’ came on GAC, it was early morning. I was going to work with my dad, and he said, ‘Man, you ought to give him a call. He has taken a lot of interest in you.’ The very next morning, Luke called and left me a voice mail. He hadn’t forgotten me.”
Luke brought his fellow Georgian to Music City, put him up at his house and took him on a whirlwind tour of booking agencies, publishing companies and record labels. It was practically a replay of what Doug Stone had done for Brent’s father. This time the result was different. Brent Cobb moved to Nashville in 2008.
During his first year in Music City, Brent worked at Walgreen’s developing photos. It turned out that the time he’d spent in L.A. had not been in vain. In 2009, Dave Cobb produced The Oak Ridge Boys CD The Boys Are Back. It included the quartet’s version of Brent’s ballad “Hold Me Closely.” In the meantime, Brent played his songs for Matthew Miller at Carnival Music in Nashville.
“Sometimes I have anxiety, but the morning I went to Carnival, I was on fire. I felt confident. I felt smooth. I walked in to Matthew and said, ‘I’m Brent Cobb, and I just want you to know I’m going to play you some of the best songs that you’ve ever heard.’ I just felt good that day.”
Carnival signed him to a songwriting contract in 2009. By 2011, Luke Bryan had recorded Brent’s “Tailgate Blues,” David Nail and Frankie Ballard both released his song “Grandpa’s Farm,” Kellie Pickler did his “Rockaway” and the Eli Young Band recorded “Go Outside and Dance.”
In the meantime, Brent began booking weekend performing dates and opening for stars such as Blake Shelton. In 2012, Carnival’s Matthew Miller and co-producer Oran Thornton took Brent into the recording studio to capture his gripping, passionate vocal style. So now there’s a Brent Cobb EP collection to sell at his shows and take to radio programmers.
“It all sort of happened at the same time,” the singer-songwriter marvels. “I feel like I’m rockin’ right now. I’m glad that these songs are feeling right to people. I’m just thankful that it’s working. This has been the coolest experience.”
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