Think Country’s Lesley Chats with Brent Cobb
Hi, Brent, thanks for taking the time to speak to me, I gather this is your first visit to the UK, when did you arrive and have you managed to do any sight seeing yet?
Thank you for wanting to talk to me! We got here around midday yesterday and I was looking forwards to getting a full English breakfast today but woke up at 1am, didn’t get back to sleep till 6am so that didn’t happen!
Damn jet lag! Tomorrow hopefully then!
Ok, I’ll jump straight in with some questions about your album “ Shine On Rainy Day”, it’s been 10 years in the making so can I assume some of the songs have been hanging around a while waiting for the right time for its release?
Some of them have, yeah, I’ve always written for myself, a few of them are very old and some of them we wrote, you know, right in the process.
So what made this the “ right time” to release the album, was working with your cousin Dave Cobb on the compilation “ Southern Family” a catalyst?
Yeah, we had worked together on my last album and I’ve worked with some of the same artists as he has over the years, writing with them. It was also a time I didn’t know what I was going to do, direction wise, I was writing still but I wasn’t recording anything and I didn’t know that I would, but I was having a hard time writing for anyone but myself so when we got back into the studio together it was just so natural we knew we had to do a record…….I didn’t know it was going to lead to this!
I’m glad it did!
Did the recent interest in, and success of, less than commercial, mainstream country artists help with the timing of this album as well? Artists who aren’t necessarily on rotation on country music radio?
Yes, it’s the first time in a long while that they (the country radio stations) are not the end all and be all of an artist being heard! And you know it took 15 years for the Americana side of it to become a platform for artists to be heard. Luckily tho, neither one of them has severed the relationship with one another, cos they’re very much related, mainstream country and Americana….they may not get along together all of the time but it’s nice that both of them are still friends and can help whatever the music is be heard.
Do you listen to country radio much?
Little bit, not a whole lot! I flip it on every now and again just to see what’s going on!
So, I think it’s safe to say that “ Country Bound” is the oldest track on the album, you remember it being written by your father and uncle when you were 5 years old?
I think the reason I remember that happening is also because it was the first time I ever saw snow, we were in Cleveland Ohio for Christmas, i was looking at it out of the window as they were writing the song! Now every year for the holidays we all get together as a family, pull out the guitars and I always request for them to play it! Every time I play “Country Bound “ I hope it will snow!
Not tonight, please, I need to get home and don’t want train cancellations!
Of the other album tracks, there’s just one solo write, the rest being co-writes. So do you find it inspirational collaborating up with other writers and bouncing ideas off one another?
I do, as long as we are kindred spirits like Andrew Combs and I…..you think of John and Paul and what a songwriting team they were, when you find someone you really truly connect with and not someone writing for monetary purposes but for the sake of the music it’s amazing.
Andrew also recorded your co-write “ Shine on Rainy Day” but called it “ Rainy Day Song” didn’t he?
Yeah, I don’t know why he named it that but I love hearing other interpretations……Lee Ann Womack recorded a version of it too, it’s not out yet but hopefully it will make the record! I love how “ back in the day” there were several versions of the same song, I don’t know what happened to that!
Anyone you dream of writing with in the future?
I always like writing with people I know nothing about, it’s more natural, I’d never want to write with a hero of mine! I’d rather be influenced by them.
Your vocals and lyrics really shine through on the album…..when you listen to music is that important to you?
Yes! I love putting on a record and it feels like someone’s telling me their story……like early Willie Nelson….I listen to records like watching a movie!
Much of your writing is inspired by your growing up in the small town of Ellaville, Georgia…..small towns seem to inspire a lot of country/Americana artists lately, such as Will Hoge, Brandy Clark and Natalie Hemsby….
why do you think this is?
I don’t know! Maybe there’s not a whole lot to do there so we’re forced to dream a lot and entertain ourselves!
Thanks again for the interview, I really hope you enjoy playing to us here in the UK, other artists say we are really attentive audiences
……yes that’s what they’ve told me…
…and are we going to have to wait another 10 years for the next album?
I hope not!
I hope so too! And I hope you get that English breakfast!