Album Feature – Brent Cobb – Keep ‘Em On They Toes

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Oct 022020
 

By Joshua Wallace

Brent Cobb has released the follow up to his 2018 record Providence Canyon.  While that album revealed a more rocking side of Cobb’s music, Keep ‘Em On They Toes goes back to the more mellow rootsy vibe of 2016’s Shine On Rainy Day.  With four albums under his belt, Cobb is proving himself to be one of the premier songwriters in country and Americana music.  Let’s check out some of the tracks in this new record.

The album kicks off with the inspirational and quotable track “Keep ‘Em On They Toes”.  It’s a feel good anthem about walking to the beat of your own drummer and not letting other people get to you.  It’s a great message that a lot of people need to hear right now.  “Good Times and Good Lovin’” is another great track.  I love the interplay between the fiddle and the slow piano on this track.  It’s a smooth ballad that I’m sure will be a lot of folks’ favorite song.  

“This Side Of The River” is a great song about loving what you have and celebrating the simple life.  It’s got a smooth vibe that flows well with the rest of the album.  “Don’t Sweep Your Dust Under My Rug” is a song about those people that are quick to judge other people they don’t understand.  It’s basically saying “I live the way I do, I don’t mess with you, don’t mess with me.”  It’s a simple message that a lot of people can relate to these days.  “Soapbox” feels like the kind of song the world needs to hear about stepping off your soapbox and trying to get a long.  It’s another great track for this record and I love Nikki Lane’s feature here.

Brent Cobb has released a great record that speaks to a lot of the current conditions of the world without being tied to any particular point in time.  While a song like “The World Is Ending” feels like a 2020 song, it doesn’t feel stuck in 2020.  Good songs should be timeless and this record has that.  Brent Cobb has been playing some of these songs live over the past year or so, but I can’t wait till I’m able to hear some of the newer stuff in a live setting with a full band.  You can find out more of what Brent Cobb is up to on his website.  Keep ‘Em On They Toes is out everywhere as of October 2nd, 2020.

Favorite Tracks : Keep ‘Em on They Toes, Good Times and Good Lovin’, This Side Of The River, Dust Under My Rug, Soap Box

Brent Cobb – Keep ‘Em On They Toes (2020)

  1. Keep ‘Em On They Toes
  2. Shut Up And Sing
  3. Good Times and Good Lovin’
  4. Sometimes I’m A Clown
  5. This Side Of The River
  6. Dust Under My Rug
  7. Soapbox (feat. Nikki Lane)
  8. When You Go
  9. The World Is Ending
  10. Little Stuff

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

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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.

 

Album Feature – Brent Cobb – No Place Left To Leave

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Feb 082020
 

By Joshua Wallace

No Place Left To Leave is an important album for Brent Cobb.  It’s also one that the majority of his fan base probably hasn’t heard yet so this is a good re-release.  Brent Cobb released this record in 2006 before he truly hit the national scene with his 2016 album Shine On A Rainy Day.  This record was produced with his cousin Dave Cobb who he had just met at the time. They made the record with Shooter Jenning’s then backing band including Jason “Rowdy” Cope on guitar and Chris Powell on drums.  This album features his first two cuts that were recorded by another artist also. These songs are “Bar, Guitar and a Honky Tonk Crowd” which was recorded by Whiskey Myers and “Hold Me Closely” which was recorded by The Oak Ridge Boys.  He has since gone on to have songs cut by the likes of Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, The Steel Woods and Lee Anne Womack. This is actually my first time hearing his first album so let’s dig into some of these songs.

The album kicks off with “Richland”.  It’s an upbeat shuffle about the place where Cobb comes from called Elleville, GA.  This is a small town in southwest Georgia and this song is about the life you’d find there.  I really dig the harmonica work throughout the track and you can tell this will be a fun record right from the start.  “Lavenders and Loving Gestures” is another highlight and it’s a wonderful break-up ballad. I really dig the pedal steel guitar throughout the track.  This version of “Bar, Guitar and a Honky Tonk Crowd” plays more like a demo tape than the version Whiskey Myers recorded on their debut album. It’s still a great rocking tune though that plays into the southern rock sound you would find on Cobb’s Providence Canyon album.

“Black Bottle” continues the southern rock sound and it’s a tune that reminds me of some of the 90’s era grunge bands but more acoustic leaning than that era of rock could be.  “Dirt Road In Georgia” is probably my favorite track on this record. This song really captures small town Georgia life better than most others who have tried. I dig the smoothness of this track and I can’t wait to hear a live version of this in the future. “Black Creek” is another smooth ballad on the album that is often a fan favorite.  There is some great acoustic picking and it is a great example of the songwriting you would find on his bigger releases. 

Even back in 2006, Brent Cobb was showing some promising talent. This re-release of his first album shows me that he will be around for a while whether he is doing a singer songwriter style or a low key southern rock style.  You can see Brent Cobb on his acoustic tour if your date isn’t already sold out. I highly recommend seeing him live whether it is acoustic or with his band. You can find out where he will be here. The reissue of No Place Left To Leave is out everywhere as of Friday, February 07th, 2020.

 

Note: The Charlottesville, VA venue has since been upgraded to The Jefferson

Favorite Tracks : Richland, Lavenders and Loving Gestures, Bar, Guitar and a Honky Tonk Crowd, Black Bottle, Dirt Road In Georgia, Black Creek

Brent Cobb – No Place Left To Leave (2020)

  1. Richland
  2. No Place Left To Leave
  3. Butterfly
  4. Lavenders and Loving Gestures
  5. Bar, Guitar and a Honky Tonk Crowd
  6. Don’t Want To Leave
  7. Black Bottle
  8. Dirt Road In Georgia
  9. Black Creek
  10. Hold Me Closely

Joshua Wallace’s Top 50 Albums of 2018

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Dec 232018
 

By Joshua Wallace

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the time of year where all music journalists put out their best of lists.  Gary Hayes will have his own list coming up soon.  This is my personal Top 50 Country Albums of 2018. I could probably double this list to 100 with all of the awesome releases that have come out in the past year.  It has been that good of a year. However, that being said, I feel like these 50 albums represent the best of what I heard over this year. I reviewed many of these during the year and you can find every one of those reviews on this website.  I will link a few of them here in this article. Every record on this list is worth your time, from number 1 to number 50. Gary Hayes will have his own separate list published later this month, check it out too. Let’s kick things off with the album of the year and Top 10, and then immediately following that will be 11 – 50.

**ALBUM OF THE YEAR** 01.  American Aquarium – Things Change  **ALBUM OF THE YEAR**

This album stuck with me the most throughout the year and thus, it is my number one record of 2018.  From the heartland rock politically inspired tune “The World Is On Fire” all the way to the country balladry of “‘Till The Final Curtain Calls”, this is the best album American Aquarium has ever put together.  I doubt you can find another band that can weave in and out of heartland rock and roll and country with the skill and ease this band does. I look forward to whatever comes next from BJ Barham and company. Check out my full review of Things Change from earlier in the year.

02.  Ashley McBryde – Girl Going Nowhere

This album had me last year with the single “A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega”.  That song was out well before the album and has stuck with me ever since. The album itself ads more great tracks to Ashley’s repertoire and there isn’t a bad cut on this one.  I predict big things for Ashley McBryde in 2019 and I’m looking forward to seeing her open for George Strait in Atlanta next year. Check out my review of this record here.

03.  Randall King – Randall King

Randall King is a throwback to an era of country we don’t have many throwbacks to.  He takes the best elements of 90’s country music and brings them to modern times. His songs “Mirror, Mirror”, “Tuggin’ On My Heartstrings” and “Cool Under Pressure” have stuck with me and this album is often played front to back when it comes on.  Check out my review of the record here.

04.  Josh Card – With A Heavy Heart

The sound on this record is perfect.  Everything is spot on and these are the best tracks Josh Card has ever put out.  Check out a couple of my favorites in “Suffer” and “Won’t Chase Your Love Anymore”.  Read my full review of the album here.

05.  Whitey Morgan & The 78s – Hard Times & White Lines

This is straight up the best live honky tonk band going right now.  This album is another great chapter of their music adding some killer new originals, some new Dale Watson and even ZZ Top to their live set.  Give this one a spin however you listen to music and read my review here.

06.  Sarah Shook & The Disarmers – Years

This album is punk rock outlaw country at its best.  Sarah Shook put out her best record yet with Years. It has been high on this list all year and lands at number six.  Do yourself a favor and read my review of the record here, and then go out and buy a copy and see her live when you get a chance to.

07.  Belle Plaine – Malice, Mercy, Grief & Wrath

Belle Plaine has released some solid country gold right here.  I’m still digging on “Taxes, Death and You” and “Is It Cheating” featuring Colter Wall.  Do yourself a favor and give this one a spin. My full review of this record is here.

08.  Colter Wall – Songs Of The Plains

Colter Wall does not disappoint on his sophomore full length release.  This album has some great tunes with “Plain To See Plainsmen”, “Thinkin’ On A Woman” and the Billy Don Burns cover “Wild Dogs”.  This album could have been number one if this year wasn’t so stacked with awesome releases. Check out my review of this one here.

09.  Jamie Lin Wilson – Jumping Over Rocks

In her follow-up to 2016’s Holidays and Wedding Rings, Jamie Lin Wilson has put out her best stuff yet with tracks like “The Being Gone”, “Everybody’s Moving Slow” and a cover of Guy Clark’s “Instant Coffee Blues” featuring Jack Ingram sticking with me in heavy rotation.  Do yourself a favor and give this record a spin, you won’t regret it. Check out my full review here.

10.  Dallas Moore – Mr. Honky Tonk

I knew when I first heard Dallas Moore’s track “Mr. Honky Tonk” that this would be a killer record.  This album represents a high mark in Dallas Moore’s career and there isn’t a bad track on it. I’m still digging on “Shoot Out The Lights”, “Killing Me Nice and Slow” and “You Know The Rest”.  Do yourself a favor, check out my review and pick up a copy of this one.

The Best Of The Rest:

11.  Shooter Jennings – Shooter

12.  Caitlyn Smith – Starfire

13.  Cody Jinks – Lifers

14.  Pistol Annies – Interstate Gospel

15.  Joshua Hedley – Mr. Jukebox

16.  Bri Bagwell – In My Defense

17.  Brent Cobb – Providence Canyon

18.  Dillon Carmichael – Hell On An Angel

19.  Kayla Ray – Yesterday And Me

20.  Josh Ward – More Than I Deserve

21.  Josh Grider – Good People

22.  Brandi Carlile – By The Way, I Forgive You

23.  Paul Cauthen – Have Mercy

24.  Blackberry Smoke – Find A Light

25.  Jason Boland & The Stragglers – Hard Times Are Relative

26.  T.J. Hernandez – Who I Am

27.  Courtney Marie Andrews – May Your Kindness Remain

28.  Old Crow Medicine Show – Volunteer

29.  The Brother Brothers – Some People I Know

30.  Ward Davis – Asunder

31.  Craig Gerdes – Smokin’, Drinkin’ & Gamblin’

32.  Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour

33.  Courtney Patton – What It’s Like To Fly Alone

34.  John Prine – The Tree Of Forgiveness

35.  Ashley Monroe – Sparrow

36.  Pat Reedy & The Longtime Goners – That’s All There Is (And There Ain’t No More)

37.  Kyle Park – Don’t Forget Where You Come From

38.  Lori McKenna – The Tree

39.  James Scott Bullard – Full Tilt Boogie

40.  Adam Hood – Somewhere In Between

41.  Kristina Murray – Southern Ambrosia

42.  Chelsea Nolan – Chelsea.

43.  Abe Partridge – Cotton Fields and Blood For Days

44.  Mike & The Moonpies – Steak Night At The Prairie Rose

45.  Sara Morgan – Average Jane

46.  Jason Sinkhorn – Junction City, Kentucky

47.  Urban Pioneers – Hillbilly Swing Music

48.  Joe’s Truck Stop – American Dreams

49.  JP Harris – Sometimes Dogs Bark At Nothing

50.  Darci Carlson – Darci Carlson