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  • Writer's pictureNikki Smash

Brent Cobb release beautiful new record 'Southern Star' let's dive in to this beautiful record!

Brent Cobb has bestowed a new record upon us ‘Southern Star’ and it’s an organic, soulful and beautiful piece of music and songwriting. Let's unpack it!

This is a gentle record with a very laid back/story telling, lyrical feel and encapsulates the sound of the great American south.

"Down here, there's a lot going on and there's nothing going on at the same time," he says. "You've got all these different cultures in the south, and everything is mixed in together. Otis Redding and Little Richard were from the same town in Georgia. So were the Allman Brothers. James Brown and Ray Charles grew up right down the road. All these sounds reflect the South itself, and that music has influenced the whole world. It's definitely influenced mine." says Cobb.

Filled with country-soul songwriting, laid back grooves, and classic storytelling, Southern Star distils the best parts of southern culture into 10 of the strongest songs in Cobb's catalogue. He began writing the material after leaving Nashville — where he spent a decade releasing solo records like 2016's Shine On Rainy Day (which earned a Grammy nomination for Best Americana Album) while penning hit songs for Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, and dozens of others — and returning with his family to Georgia. It was a time of change. Not long after celebrating the arrival of his second child, Cobb found himself mourning the death of his longtime friend, Jason "Rowdy" Cope of The Steel Woods.

"Rowdy was like my older brother," says Cobb, who named Southern Star in part after a small-town bar that he and Cope used to frequent. "He loved the music that came out of Georgia, and he helped me appreciate it even more. A lot of artists like to branch out and become experimental as their career continues, but I sort of go the opposite way. I feel like I can never go wrong if I continue to get closer and closer to the core of who I am and what I love, musically. Coming back to Georgia helped me with that. Southern Star is the sound of me getting closer to the source."

As mentioned, sonically this record is laid back, it’s a gentle record and it's easy on the ears mainly down to the beautiful organic sounding production. The drums are warm and sound like they’re being played just behind you while the thick swaying bass fills the room without rattling your bones. Keys, acoustic guitars and traditional instruments are placed in front of you with the sometimes overtly modern sounding production of the genre. It initially reminded me of Crosby, Steals & Nash, Steely Dan, that 70’s vinyl warmth. There are some lovely vocal touches to the production when Cobb opens up his voice you can hear that classic sound of the plate style reverb strengthen - just a beautifully produced record. If you’re a music geek such as myself, on this merit alone I'd highly recommend everyone to listen to it but PLEASE make sure you do it on a good system; a record like this deserves nothing less than the best to be played on. Thank me later….

This being said the actual lyrical content at times has some dark tones and Cobb has dealt with loss, as well as love of the growth of his family. He keeps a steady vocal control through-out the record, focuses on the overall story telling and how the record can make the listener feel rather than making it all about him. I’m a big fan of those types of juxtapositions, it makes you really listen because the shop front of the song is not what it first seems behind the door. It’s a great bit of intellect in songwriting but extraordinarily hard to pull off, but at this level but this is why Brent Cobb is a grammy award winning writer and recognised and highly respected by his peers.

Tracks like ‘Livin’ The Dream ', ‘On’t Know When’, ‘Devil Ain’t Done’ & ‘Miss Ater’ really summarise that 70’s grove, back bone pocket from the rhythm section. The rest is beautiful traditional singer-songwriter country. ‘Kick The Can’ really strikes a chord with me especially with the poetic lyric of “time rolls on, it’s the same old song”. This is a clear meaning of the passing of Jason "Rowdy" Cope of The Steel Woods. Time marches on whether we are here or not, it's simple and although you may have heard that line before the delivery from Cobb just makes it hit differently, it’s sombre and it sticks out and makes you think.

More from Cobb;

"You know how when you’re growing up, you're told that if you ever get lost out there, look for the northern star to help find direction back home?" he asks. "Well, I'm from Georgia, so I always look for the southern star. This album, the songs, the sounds… they're all a product of where I'm from, both musically and environmentally. Historically and presently, that area also happens to be the same place that cultivated many of the most influential artists in the whole world of music. Music as we know it would not exist without the American south. It's funky and sentimental. It's simple and complex."

My only critiques are that there is a fade out on ‘Kick The Can’ and I can’t personally stand fade outs, they come across lazy to me. The record ends with ‘Shade Tree’ but doesn’t quite tie up the record enough for me. It made me feel like it was left open still, albeit the song is a beautiful song and this one in particular Cobb is in a different feel on his voice with hints of Bob Sega and it's wonderful - just not the closer I yearned for.

Brent Cobb's new record ‘Southern Star’ is classic already, it’s beautifully and carefully written. The storytelling is extremely relatable with life event changes, love and loss; it's all there. It’s cleverly presented in a light, grove-laden manner, with warm back beats and gentle instrumentation but it's concealed with a dark undertone within the lyrics and story telling a gorgeous juxtaposition. I cannot recommend this record enough to anyone.

By Nikki Smash


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