Brent Cobb may not be the biggest name in country music, but some of his songs are. He has written for stars like Luke Bryan, Eli Young Band, Miranda Lambert, and the list goes on.
He is what most Americans consider a “good ol’ Southern boy.” He loves his home state of Georgia, his family and music. And Cobb appreciates every opportunity he has received and the people that have helped him get those opportunities. Humble is a perfect word to describe him.
“Everything I write about sort of stems from Georgia,” Cobb said. “Down to the actual music that comes from Georgia to people like Larry Jon Wilson and Otis Redding and obviously the Allman Brothers, to even just the rhythm of the way the people from there talk.”
Cobb has received some real traction now after opening for Chris Stapleton, which he will do again later this year. But right now, he is headlining his own tour for his new album, “Providence Canyon.”
Brent Cobb’s Sucker for a Good Time Tour will make a stop at New Brookland Tavern on Feb. 8. He took the time to talk with us about his musical influences, his new album, and what goes into his song writing.
Q. You are a Georgia man and many great country stars have come from that state. How did the place where you grew up influence you and your music?
A. Wholeheartedly. I can’t help it. I come from rural Georgia and so the environment and atmosphere of the pine trees and the red clay and that sort of thing, really all of it influences every bit of my music.
Q. Your father was also a musician. How did that musical influence at such a young age impact your career?
A. Daddy had a band with his brother and they were called the Slaughter Creek Band, which was the creek on the backside of his my grandparent’s property. In the band, he would do more of the ’50s and ’60s rock ‘n’ roll and boogie-woogie type stuff, and then my uncle would do more of the classic country like Ernest Tubb and Merle Haggard, just the honky-tonk stuff. I just kind of grew up around it that way. My whole life they would rehearse every Sunday at this little shack out there in the west part of the county. Me and my cousins would be running around, and we’d have something on the grill while they’d be singing, picking and playing.
My dad always treated music as a trade, just like going to school for heating and air which he also did. It was always included as a form of secondary income for us. When I was about 7 years old, there was another fellow Georgia country singer named Doug Stone who was big in the ’90s. He actually heard my dad play at this place called The Silver Moon in Bueno Vista, Ga., and he invited my dad to come to Nashville. It was sort of in the same way Shooter Jennings and Luke Bryan did for me really. My dad went to Nashville, and I watched him go through the whole talking to record labels and booking agents and that sort of deal while trying to decide what was best for his family. It sent something into my heart to think about things in that way. In the way Georgia has influenced me in every way possible, so has my dad.
Q. Your cousin is Dave Cobb, a record producer who has produced artists like Zac Brown Band and Sturgill Simpson. He’s produced most of your music as well. How did he help you get your foot in the door?
A. Dave is about 13 years older than I am, so we didn’t grow up together, but when his grandmother passed, we both went to the funeral of course. We all heard he was a record producer and were a bit skeptical about it since we’re all a bit musical. I asked him who he had produced and he said, ‘well this guy Shooter Jennings and his album ‘Put the ‘O’ Back in Country.’ It blew me away. It was my favorite record at that time. I had a little demo with some songs I had written, so I gave it to him. A couple days later, he had played it for Shooter out in L.A., and they both graciously decided to fly me to L.A.
We went in and recorded two songs that first trip and that album led me here. It’s like anything else. If you do one thing and it’s decent work, people hear about it. Then, that leads to something else. That record led to me meeting Luke Bryan, and Luke Bryan led me to the booking agents, and the booking agents led me to publishers. Everything just kind of grows over time.
Q. What is it like working so closely with a family member?
A. It feels just right. It just feels like the way it’s all supposed to go. It feels like I’m living in a story that is being written in real time.
Q. You wrote most of “Providence Canyon.” while you were on tour for your previous record, “Shine On Rainy Day.” Were you surprised by the inspiration to write an entire new album while you were on the road?
A. No, and only because it is sort of the way I have always been. I always write in the present moment, and I’m always influenced by my current surroundings.
Q. So, there’s a lot of different country these days. What makes you write in more of that traditional, storytelling, Southern rock style rather than that new pop country that’s been coming out in the last few years?
A. I’ve always sort of naturally wrote that way. The very first time we opened for Luke Bryan it was probably in 2006, and I was in a band called Mile Marker 5. It was right after I had done that very first album with Dave. I remember Luke at the end of that show saying, “man you are a Southern rocker.”
When he first took me to Nashville, he took me to Capitol Records, which was Larry Willoughby at the time, and we walked straight in his office. He made Larry listen to “Bar Guitar and Honky Tonk Crowd” that I wrote when I was 16. For some reason or another, people have always accepted it from me, and I don’t really know why.
Q. You’ve written for many big names. Do you get the same kind of satisfaction from writing those songs as you do writing your own songs?
A. I’ve always written for myself, and I have a hard time writing if I’m thinking about it for someone else. I think I’ve got about 40 cuts for musicians bigger than myself and every one of them has been a song that I would consider for me. Back in the day, there would be like six different versions of the same song. I miss those days. I wish they would come back. I wish people would just perform whatever they wanted.
If you go
When: 8 p.m. Feb. 8
Where: New Brookland Tavern, 122 State St.
Details: $12 in advance; $15 day of the show. Ages 21 and over. www.newbrooklandtavern.com.