On the Edge: Brent Cobb
On the surface, handsome Brent Cobb looks like the kind of artist who would churn out country hits comparable to those of Jake Owen, Chris Young or fellow Georgia boy Luke Bryan. But when Brent’s band joins him onstage or for one of his unplugged “Fireside Sessions” videos, the differences in sound couldn’t be more apparent. Banjo, mandolin and doghouse bass dominate, and his songs, whether hard-core country or middle of the road, possess a distinct sense of purity and integrity.
“I definitely want to always honor traditional country music,” he says, “but I think it’s more that it just feels right when it’s got that banjo and mandolin. I want to honor the history of the music, but I don’t try to do that so much as it just feels right for the song.”
Call it inspiration or even divine intervention, but Brent is nothing if not an inspired songwriter. “The one common ground—if I’m writing by myself, if I’m writing with a new person or if I’m writing with somebody that I’ve been writing with for a long time—is I have to be able to go to that spot where I don’t think too much. Let it come from nowhere,” he explains. “And when that’s happening, it’s not a mind thing. It’s really something else that is happening. It’s bigger than just sitting down writing lyrics on a piece of paper.”
But those lyrics don’t always come from nowhere. “Love on Me,” written with Jason Saenz, came from Brent’s past. “We sat down in a room and I got to thinking about my old days when I was a flirter.” He laughs and goes on. “I would say, ‘I’m about half-drunk, but you sure look good to me.’ And you’ve got to believe in it if you’re going to say something like that. I’ve done it and I haven’t been hit because it’s a charm thing.”
Recording a song like “The Good Ol’ Days” from his new EP is inspired, too. The song was recorded as unconventionally as he writes. “I just wanted to be sure we captured what the band does live,” Brent says. “We recorded it with two mics in the room and that was it. We just gathered around the mics and threw down. I think there was something to everybody being young and in that moment of the music, because I think all the timeless music that we know now, that’s how it was recorded.”
The bulk of Brent’s EP (a full-length project is due later this year) has the same scaled-back production, giving it an in-the-moment honesty. The fearless approach has garnered Brent a legion of celebrity fans, including Luke, Little Big Town, Kellie Pickler and David Nail, who have all recorded his songs. Likewise, regional touring acts such as Josh Abbott Band are chomping at the bit to take Brent on the road.
They’re solid endorsements, but Brent chalks it all up to the music and connecting with listeners. “I think it’s just rural music and it’s true emotions,” he says. “If you’re really writing an emotion, then other people feel that, too.”