in performance: brent cobb

Brent Cobb.

After easing out of “King of Alabama,” a rootsy but vivid remembrance of songsmith Wayne Mills, who was shot to death in a Nashville bar/barbeque joint, Brent Cobb wound down with guitarist Mike Harris bringing the tune to a wiry electric conclusion. “That’ll do,” Harris remarked. Yes, indeed. It did nicely.

As a warm-up for tonight’s sold out Rupp Arena performance with Chris Stapleton, Cobb offered a nine song in-store set with Harris this afternoon at CD Central that will likely prove, given the modest stage time opening acts are afforded at arena shows, as long as his Rupp outing.

Cobb packed a lot into his 35 minutes at CD Central. The expected priority of in-store shows is to promote new product, which he did with five songs from his splendid 2018 album, “Providence Canyon” that ranged from the hangover prayer “Mornin’s Gonna Come” to a plain-speaking warning to rural intruders called “.30-06.” But the program, brief as it seemed, was loose and unstructured enough for other fine surprises to surface.  Among them, a rewind to “Down in the Gulley” (a wild account from 2016’s “Shine On Rainy Day” of Cobb’s grandfather’s pump house being mistakenly raided as a moonshine distillery), a suitably rustic cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Swamp Music” and even a soundcheck snippet of the oddly nostalgic “Back When Daddy Smoked,” a tune Cobb said he composed the previous evening.

The advantage of an in-store show over an arena outing? In Cobb’s case, it was a chance to examine the striking rural sentiments within his narratives, especially in ballads like “Lorene.” But it was also a kick to hear Harris lightly unload a solo full of blues-savvy soul at the end of “.30-06” that underscored the tune’s rebel heart as well as Cobb’s acoustic accompaniment and Muscle Shoals-style singing.
All in all, a fun, intimate and insightful view of an Americana original. Now, on to the big house.

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