Brent Cobb Pulls Double Duty With Acoustic Shows In Atlanta, GA

 News  Comments Off on Brent Cobb Pulls Double Duty With Acoustic Shows In Atlanta, GA
Mar 022020
 

By Joshua Wallace
Photography By Joshua Wallace

I had the chance to catch Brent Cobb’s A Night Of Fine Acoustic Country Music Tour this past Wednesday night February 26th, 2020 in Atlanta, GA at Terminal West.  Brent Cobb actually had two shows this evening due to the initial show selling out quickly. These were duo shows featuring Brent on acoustic guitar and his regular guitar player Mike Harris on electric.  It was set up like the two were on their own front porch picking songs and hanging out with a few hundred friends. The opening act for this tour is Maddie Medley. I didn’t have much experience with her music before the show.  She only has one song out on Spotify with the promise of more to come soon. She played the same set both shows so I will cover her music once.

Maddie Medley was a solo act for these shows with an electric guitar.  Her voice is deep and rich and her songs are very personal. A stand out was “Edith” which she says is about if she has a daughter.  She sings about the things she would teach her future daughter about and how she would raise her in this world. The song she ended with was “Coming Of Age” which is the song you can hear on Spotify.  It’s a bit more upbeat than the rest of her set, but still a very personal song that looks inward. I hope to be able to hear more of her music in the near future.

Brent Cobb’s set began shortly after Maddie Medley’s set and you could tell it was going to be a fun evening from the start.  It was a very loose affair and the first show of the evening even had no set list. He kicked things off with a brand new song called “Keep ‘Em On Their Toes” which you can hear a snippet of in a video from the recording sessions of his next album on Twitter.  From there he got into a couple of songs from his last new album with “Mornin’s Gonna Come” and “Sucker For A Good Time”. Mike Harris was a great accompaniment for this set as he made the smooth songs still slow and smooth and the rocking songs still rocked out.  I particularly enjoyed hearing “Solving Problems” in this setting and the story that went along with it. Brent did another new song called “Shut Up And Sing” which I got a video of. It’s got a great message to it and I hope lots of folks hear it. After a rousing rendition of “Digging Holes”, Brent got a request from the crowd for “Old Shit” which is a song he wrote that Miranda Lambert recorded.  It was great hearing his version of this song and it’s refreshing to see an artist take requests in a setting like this as long as the audience is respectful about it.

I particularly enjoyed this version of “Providence Canyon” stripped back.  It was very smooth and laid back. We got another new song in “Soapbox” in the first set.  Brent does have a new album coming out in the fall and after hearing these new songs live, I’m particularly looking forward to having them on a record.  We got a version of “Black Crow” from the No Place Left To Leave album and it’s cool hearing those older songs live some 14 years after they were initially released.  From there, we got a cool instrumental segway into “Let The Rain Come Down” which was eventually recorded by The Steel Woods. I’m torn on which version I prefer, but Cobb’s acoustic version is great here.  A highlight of the early show was Brent Cobb doing a rendition of Tenacious D’s “Tribute” into “Down In The Gulley” when it got to the part in “Tribute” where you have to play the best song in the world. It was a great off the cuff moment that is what fans come to these stripped back acoustic shows for.

When it came time for the second show, those who were staying for both had to go back outside and come back in with the new crowd of people who were not here for the first.  Maddie Medley performed essentially the same set as she did the first time around so I won’t rehash that. Brent Cobb however performed a different set with a few duplicate songs but an almost entirely different order.

Brent started things off with another new song which I think was called “Ain’t That Enough” before going into one of my favorites from the Shine On Rainy Day album called “Traveling Poor Boy”.  There was also a rendition of “Come Home Soon” from Providence Canyon in the second set that was nice to hear here. There was another new song in this set called “The World Is Ending”. This was my personal highlight of the night.  Sometimes you hear a brand new song live and it just floors you. I’ve had that experience a few times with different artists and I cannot wait to hear this one on the album and for everyone else to hear it. From there, an audience member surprised Brent with a song he said no one requests from the Providence Canyon album called “Lorene”.  I was happy to hear this one live as it’s been a recent favorite of mine and it should be a regular part of the set list, especially on a stripped down acoustic set like this.

I can’t say enough about Brent having Mike Harris on guitar for these shows.  He adds another element to the sound that makes these more than just your regular acoustic sets.  This is especially apparent in heavier songs like “High In The Country” and “.30-06”. Mike Harris got to rock out on these numbers with extended solos and killer riffs that kept these songs rocking but still stripped down from what you would normally get in a full band setting.  The night ended with Brent Cobb starting up “Richland” from No Place Left To Leave before changing up to the slower, appropriate closer of “South Of Atlanta”. I was happy to finally get to hear this one as it’s one of my favorite Brent Cobb songs from any of his records.

I highly recommend going to this tour if it comes near you.  Brent Cobb is a great performer and entertainer in this unique setting.  The tour is set up like two guys picking on their front porch in front of a few hundred friends and it comes off like that.  You get to know Brent between the songs and get to know a little about the songs that you might not hear otherwise. If for some reason you can’t make it out to this tour, there is apparently a new record coming in the Fall for folks like me who can’t get enough Brent Cobb.  I’m already looking forward to the next time I get to see Brent Cobb live because it’s a good show whether it’s stripped back or full band.  Be sure to scroll down to the bottom and get the dates for the rest of this tour.  You can also check Brent’s website for the most up to date tour information.

 

Live Review – Tyler Childers with Liz Cooper and The Stampede in Atlanta, GA (Night 1)

 News  Comments Off on Live Review – Tyler Childers with Liz Cooper and The Stampede in Atlanta, GA (Night 1)
Dec 302019
 

By Joshua Wallace
Photography By Joshua Wallace

Earlier this month, I got the chance to check out Tyler Childers on his Country Squire Run.  This show was the first of two nights in Atlanta, GA on December 21st, 2019. He initially sold out this date during pre-sale and they added a second date on Sunday December 22nd.  I was only able to get a ticket for Saturday night, but I know both nights were amazing sold out and packed shows. This is kind of crazy to me because the last time I saw Tyler Childers was on March 28, 2018 at a small venue in Florida that only held 300 people.  This show was a huge upgrade from that at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, GA which holds around 2600 and was packed. The opener for this two night run in Atlanta was Liz Cooper and The Stampede and I will start with their set.

I honestly did not know what to expect with Liz Cooper and The Stampede.  I had listened to some of their music on Spotify and they appeared to be a psychedelic folk rock trio.  On this evening, they leaned more to psychedelic rock. From what I have been told, they played new material so we didn’t get any songs you would be familiar with such as “Mountain Man”.  Most of the songs were heavier rock tunes that went into psychedelic jam territory. I did enjoy their groovy bass player and you don’t always find bass players with the skill this guy has.  I somewhat enjoyed their set, though I don’t know if their choice of material matched the expectations of a crowd awaiting a country singer like Tyler Childers. I look forward to the chance to see them live again in the future.

Tyler Childers came out and got right into it with “Honky Tonk Flame” from his amazing 2017 album Purgatory.  This lead to other tracks off that album like “Universal Sound” and “Born Again”. The first cover song of the night came in the form of a great tune called “Tulsa Turnaround”.  This was a Kenny Rogers cover and I loved hearing Tyler Childers and The Food Stamps do it. Up next we got the title track off his newest album called “Country Squire”. This is one of my favorite tracks off the new record and I was glad to hear it live. In fact, this song started a run through the entire Country Squire record which was awesome to get live.  A real highlight was the live version of “House Fire”.  Tyler picked up an electric guitar for this song and kicked it off with a long instrumental called “Reuben’s Train”.  From there he did an awesome version of “House Fire” that is actually much better than the recorded version and is a song you must hear live.  I also know he doesn’t do “Matthew” as part of his sets every time and this felt special to get the entire album here.

“Matthew” also began the acoustic run for this show which included “Nose To The Grindstone”, a rare “Banded Clovis” and “Follow You To Virgie”.  It was amazing hearing the sold out crowd singing along to older tracks like “Follow You To Virgie”. I would say the crowd was just as much a part of this show as the band was.  Following this acoustic run, we got a second cover of the night with the awesome Bobby Charles song “Tennessee Blues”. This is a wonderful cover that not many in the crowd will be familiar with.  I’m happy to see Tyler covering these obscure classic tunes.

After that cover, we got a run of 3 big songs from the Purgatory album.  This included “Feathered Indians”, my favorite from the record “Whitehouse Road” and “I Swear (To God)”.  Following that song there was a brief break before the encore. I say this is brief because while the lights went down, the band never left the stage.  The crowd knew what was happening though and gave Tyler one of the loudest reactions of the night. He finished the evening with a Charlie Daniels cover that he often does called “Trudy”.

If you get a chance to see Tyler Childers, I highly recommend it.  His stock is only rising and I fully believe his next headlining US tour will be in amphitheaters and arenas instead of large theaters.  In fact, he’s already doing a run of opening dates next year with Sturgill Simpson and this tour is going through and has already sold out some of the nation’s biggest arenas.  Tyler still has one show left in 2019 on New Years Eve in Pikeville, KY with Todd Snider and Darrell Scott opening. If you can’t get a ticket to that one, get a ticket to one of his shows opening for Sturgill Simpson.  You can find all of his upcoming dates at his website. While you’re there, check out his new record titled Country Squire which features in many best of 2019 lists including my own. This was my final show for 2019 and my final show of this decade.  Look for more live show and festival reviews in 2020.

Live Review – Atlanta, GA’s ATLive welcomes Eric Church, Luke Combs and more

 News  Comments Off on Live Review – Atlanta, GA’s ATLive welcomes Eric Church, Luke Combs and more
Nov 212019
 

By Joshua Wallace
Photography By Joshua Wallace

This past Sunday November 17th, 2019, I had the opportunity to see Eric Church, Luke Combs, Brothers Osborne and Caylee Hammack live at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA.  This was the second night of the ATLive concert series promoted in Atlanta by Falcons owner Arthur Blank’s AMB Sports and Entertainment. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, this night was a sell out with 52,414 fans.  This was one of the biggest crowds I have ever been a part of for a music concert and it was an amazing night of good country music.

Caylee Hammack opened the night.  She was probably the most pop oriented singer of the evening.  She didn’t get a very long set and maybe did 5 songs. She did originals like “Preciatecha” and “Family Tree”.  She also did covers of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” and Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”. I came out of her set feeling sort of indifferent to her music as she did some good covers, but her originals didn’t really grab me.  I was however, pumped for the rest of the night.

The Brothers Osborne mentioned that this was their last show of the year and they couldn’t have picked a bigger crowd to do it in front of.  The band kicked off their set with “Drank Like Hank” which is one of my favorites off their last studio album. They rely heavily on long jams during their set and John Osborne is one hell of a lead guitar player in that respect.  The longer jams help space out their more pop leaning songs through their set. During the nearly hour long set, they got to songs like “Shoot Me Straight”, “I Don’t Remember Me (Before You)”, “Burning Man” and wrapped it up with “It Ain’t My Fault”.  This last song was a killer jam that I feel like lasted at least past the 15 minute mark. There was an epic keyboard solo followed by John’s longest solo of the night. This song is one of those epic closing songs that will make anyone a fan that sees this live, even if you were on the fence throughout the rest of the set.

Luke Combs was the first double headliner for the night.  He played an hour and fifteen minute set full of hits and songs from his new record that are sure to be hits in the future.  This wasn’t a full set you would get at one of his own concerts, but I feel like we only missed a small portion of his usual set.  He came across very humble on stage and very real. The band kicked the night off with one of my favorite tracks from his first album titled “Honky Tonk Highway”.  He then immediately went into the hits with one of his biggest in “When It Rains It Pours” and you could hear the entire stadium singing along. In fact, it was like this the whole set for Luke Combs.  

Some highlights included the hit song “1, 2, Many” where after the line “So whatcha say we shotgun one?” he actually paused for a bit to shotgun a beer before going back to the song.  He performed “This One’s For You” largely acoustic before the band came back out to finish the song with him. He did one of my favorite tracks off the new record titled “Angels Workin’ Overtime” and I’m sure that one will be a hit at radio.  

Speaking of radio hits, Luke Combs announced that “Even Though I’m Leaving” is his 7th straight number 1 at country music radio.  That is an amazing run for any singer, let alone someone who is only on his second full album. He closed the set out with a Brooks and Dunn cover of “Brand New Man” and “Beer Never Broke My Heart”.  Before playing his final song, he announced that due to a bet with his keyboard player who was from Atlanta, he had to wear an Atlanta Falcons jersey for the final song of the night. Atlanta played his time the Carolina Panthers and beat them soundly earlier that day.  This was the first time I had ever seen Luke Combs live and this set only made me a bigger fan. I can’t wait to see him again but hopefully more up close next time.

The final act of the night was Eric Church.  I had seen him perform previously on the “Holdin’ My Own” tour in 2017 where he performed two sets in one night so I knew we were in for a long evening still.  He kicked the night off at the front of the stage on acoustic guitar doing a rendition of “Drowning Man” from his latest record Desperate Man. Eric Church’s live band brings a heavier rock and roll sound to the proceedings so it’s no surprise that he does things like add a tease of Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf” to the end of “Smoke a Little Smoke”.  He also did an exceptional version of “Creepin’” from his The Chief album with his lead guitar player Jeff Hyde handling the dobro for the song. Before he got to one of his older hits “How Bout’ You”, he discussed playing a smaller venue in Atlanta called Wild Bills and how crazy it was to be at a sold out Mercedes Benz Stadium on this evening. Also, during “How Bout You” he did a full cover of Waylon’s “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way” and a tease of Ram Jam’s “Black Betty” before closing out “How Bout You”. 

He performed one of my favorite songs called “Mr. Misunderstood” largely acoustic before the band joined him again halfway through the song.  It is my strong opinion that Eric Church is at his best in a more intimate acoustic setting. Following that, he kicked off a series of a few of my favorite songs of his.  He did a great tease of an “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” cover. Then he went into a string of songs that included “Cold One”, “Record Year” and “Round Here Buzz”. He did a spot during “Record Year” where he signed vinyl records that fans had around the stage.  He held up each one to the camera, including a vinyl record of Bruce Springsteen’s famous Born In The U.S.A. album which he signed. Before “Homeboy”, one of his guitar players came up front and did an awesome metal interlude with the band that was the heaviest bit of music of the night.  The set also heavily featured the vocal talents of his back-up singer Joanna Cotten. She was featured on the track “Mixed Drinks About Feelings” which features Susan Tedeschi doing a verse on the album cut. We got an amazing dueling guitar solo during the closing moments of a rousing rendition of “Pledge Allegiance To The Hag” that was awesome.  He closed out the night with “These Boots” where he signed a bunch of boots around the stage and one of his most popular songs in “Springsteen” which he says is his ode to a moment and the influence music can have on that moment and the power of a song to take you back to a specific moment in time. I know many people who were at this show will go back to this particular moment in time when they hear any of these songs that were played this night.  He came back out for a one song encore of the Jackson Brown song “The Load-Out” which is a perfect encore song for any band.

This was an amazing night of performances and while no one got to do a full set, it was a full night of great music.  Eric Church and Luke Combs were of course the highlights, but Brothers Osborne was awesome as well. I didn’t really get a chance to hear much of Caylee Hammack with her short set.  Overall, this was a great night and I can’t wait to hear many of these artists again. You can find out a full tour itinerary for all of the artists involved in this show on their respective websites.