Brent Cobb is a new name to a lot of people but is certainly no stranger to Nashville’s finest. The cousin of producer Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell) Brent has been writing in Nashville for years and counts the likes of Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert and Stapleton as friends. Last year saw the release of his album Shine On Rainy Day which was produced by his cousin and was met with a great reception from critics. This year Brent headed over to the UK to perform some shows and we managed to catch up with him before his Manchester show…
Welcome to the UK Brent! Is this your first time over here playing shows?
Yes! First time here ever!
You played London last night. How did that go?
It was great! It was really incredible. It was sold out and everyone knew the lyrics to my songs and I don’t know how! It was crazy and really cool!
Were you worried about the reception?
Maybe a little. I knew that they were sold out which had me kind of excited so I wasn’t afraid. I have a lot of friends like Andrew Combs, Whiskey Myers, Cadillac Three that have all told me to come here. They all said that they’ll appreciate me and I’ll love it!
Have you already noticed much of a difference between UK crowds and those back home?
Just how much people pay attention and care. You get a little bit of it back home but it’s really not as strong as it is here.
Is it a big risk for you to come this far as a smaller artist?
A little but I think it’s worth it especially early on like this. It’s pretty amazing that it’s really caught on as early as this – I know they’re small venues but it’s really amazing!
Have you always wanted to come over to England and play music?
I think so. Especially doing the kind of music that I do. There’s always been a mutual game of catch from bands like The Beatles, Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones playing Robert Johnson songs. Everybody just appreciated each other.
The tour has completely sold out. Does that come as a surprise to you?
I can’t believe it! I texted my wife earlier telling her how much people loved it and it’s just amazing!
Do many British artists influence you at all?
The classics that people know. I listen to a lot of classic and less modern. Mumford and Sons are doing some good stuff.
There were 10 years between your first release in ‘No Place Left to Leave’ and the recent ‘Shine on Rainy Day’. What were you doing in that time?
I was writing. I got a publishing deal in Nashville which is very structured and organised. You co-write every day nine to five. I was doing that and put an EP out in between with a little bit of touring. Eventually I stopped for a while and focused on song writing.
It must be cool to now break out and do your own thing?
It is but at the same time I’m with a really cool publisher. They’re a little more free and kind of let you do what you want and be as free with the music as you want.
I understand that Luke Bryan was a big part of your decision to move to Nashville. Do you still keep in touch with Luke?
I do for sure!
Your sounds have obviously gone worlds apart though…
Yeah and I think that’s the way that it should be. Everyone should be friends if we can be. I’m just going to be the peace keeper! There’s been a little bit of a civil war recently but I try to stay out of it. I’m in a pretty weird position as I’m really in the middle of it.
You’ve opened for artists such as Blake Shelton. Do you find the crowds at those kinds of shows are receptive to your style of music that is a little more laid back?
It depends on the venue. I’m a songwriter-singer not the other way around so when you go and open a show for someone like Blake or Luke then their audience are expecting a big show that’s entertaining and has dancing and all of that. Sometimes my show may not translate.
I suppose if you’re playing to 50,000 and 1% want to go buy your album then it works?
Exactly and that’s great!
Your cousin is Dave Cobb who has produced for the likes of Chris Stapleton and Anderson East. How important an influence has he been on your career?
Yeah! I told everyone in Nashville for eight years how great Dave was as a producer and that we’d done this record and we’d work together again. Nobody would listen to me because everyone was uneasy investing in this cousin of mine but now he’s killing it!
It can’t have done him any harm to produce Chris Stapleton?
Not at all – after that then it popped!
I was going to say that must have been good for someone like you to see an act like Stapleton go so big?
The last question about opening for Blake and how does it translate – well not so much but now we have an artist like Chris it will totally translate. We have a few shows with him this year. It’s really exciting that now there’s a path that I knew existed but has been blown open now!
You appeared on Dave’s ‘Southern Family’ compilation last year and also wrote the song ‘Sweet By and By’ which Miranda Lambert recorded. Were you quite heavily involved in that whole album?
No just my songs. Miranda and I co-wrote her song.
Dave produced your album ‘Shine on Rainy Day’. Is it ever challenging working with a family member?
Not yet! The thing is that Dave and I didn’t know one another growing up! It might be different had we known one another early on but we only met ten years a go. It almost makes it way colour because the music is definitely in our blood. We work just the same in that it’s very free and there’s this natural chemistry. Luckily we’re not close enough to fight one another!
How did you find the reception to the album when you released it?
It’s been crazy man! I can’t believe that people are accepting it the way that they are. I don’t know why but I’m glad that they are!
Are the songs on the record ones that have been around a long time or did you write them specifically for the album?
I’ve always written for myself and some of these are ones that I just finished in the studio.
Do you intend to continue writing songs cut by other artists or concentrate on your own work now?
I want to continue writing. Usually when I know a song is a good song then it’s good for me and it’s good for anybody. I want anybody to record anything. It’s really nice because when you start to get into the music business people tell you “you need a fall back” well it’s really nice to know that song writing is my fall back plan!
What are your plans for the next 12 months?
This tour then we’ve got the Nikki Lane tour and a couple of shows with Chris, a fe
w shows with Jamey Johnson. The whole year is booked through to November. We’re going to try and come back here one or two times.
Bring Chris with you!
Yeah I’ll tell Chris to come along! Him and Morgane may be the sweetest people that I ever met!
Brent Cobb’s album ‘Shine On Rainy Day’ is available now. Buy it here:
Read our review here: