For his first shows in the UK the Sold Out signs are up and Brent Cobb finds himself, to his surprise I’m sure, welcomed with open arms for his London debut. The musical grapevine has been working overtime and Brent is playing to full houses two months before the UK release of his debut album ‘Shine On Rainy Day’ (March 24th is the date). A respectful and knowledgeable crowd obviously knows the album, which was released stateside late in 2016, and have an appreciation for good songs well played and sung. Brent Cobb covers all these bases with aplomb which, when coupled with the relaxed Southern charm he demonstrated on the night, ensures artist and audience are on the same page and destined to have a great time.
Brent Cobb introduced himself by way of the languid ‘South of Atlanta’ one of the standout tracks from the album and it was immediately apparent that Cobb, accompanied by Mike Harris who excelled on electric guitar and harmony vocals, had bought a little of Georgia to London with one of many tales that perfectly evoked images of rural America. Cobb should know as he grew up in Ellaville which has a population of 1,609 so we’re hardly talking New York City or Los Angeles.
‘Shine On Rainy Day’ was presented in full, I think, this evening and the only nod to his successful career as a songwriter was a run through of ‘Old Shit’ a song he penned for Miranda Lambert (Whiskey Myers, Kenny Chesney, Little Big Town and Luke Bryan are among many who’ve recorded Brent Cobb songs). To be honest ‘Shine On Rainy Day’ the album doesn’t have any weak tracks so picking highlights from tonight’s set is a fools errand but ‘Black Crow’ featured sublime slide guitar work from Mike Harris and the title track from the album (a co-write with Andrew Combs) is just such a terrific song. Brent Cobb is a songwriter who seems to really appreciate the greats of the genre and the craft involved which enables the likes of ‘Solving Problems’ which has a Glen Campbell ‘Gentle on My Mind’ vibe to sit comfortably beside the relaxed humour of ‘Diggin’ Holes’ and the strident ‘Let the Sun Come Down’ with Harris again to the fore.
Brent Cobb comes over as a really nice guy, his anecdotes between songs are engaging and he's quick to credit fellow songwriters that he has written with (Andrew Combs and Neil Mason were among those name checked this evening) and It was an absolute pleasure to see him play a show in the bijou confines of the Slaughtered Lamb. The man himself mentioned a possible return to the UK in May and I’ve a feeling that larger venues and widespread acclaim are just around the corner for Brent Cobb. If you caught a show on this tour it might turn out to be one of those I was there moments.
Opening tonight’s proceedings Jade Bird, a new name to me - but one I'll certainly be looking out for in the future - won the crowd over with her relaxed stage presence, a compelling mix of flighty nervous energy and good humour. Jade added a dash of spiky, bluesy bite to her set of memorable tunes that she delivered in a strong voice with neat guitar work that very quickly had the audience eating out of her hands (not an entirely sanitary idea as she had her set list written on them :-)). Set highlights included ‘What Am I here for?’ and a new song ‘Good Woman’ which included the “She’s cheaper than the dollar store version of me” line which raised a smile. Jade looked to be having loads of fun and the feeling was mutual.
Gig Date: 26th January 2017.