Despite the tumultuous year that the pandemic has caused for many artists, Brent Cobb has made the most of the time off from touring as many have - spending time with family and writing and releasing music.
While new album Keep Em On They Toes was written and recorded for the most part pre-covid, Cobb explains that as the year progressed, the more and more relevant the album became. The title track he wrote for his newborn son, listing a series of life lessons and particular songs with a political lean to them. He collaborated with some of his favourite writers, including his father, Patrick, and wife, Layne, who Brent said learnt to juggle during Lockdown. He even found time to collaborate with good friend Luke Bryan.
In a year of cancelled plans, Brent has also been where he is most comfortable - in a writers room, working on even more new music. As he looks to the future, he ponders what he does when he has a good show. He admits he has the occasional spot of stage fright, which is inspiring him to keep an eye on the new ways to tour; “They’re figuring out these drive-in shows, I’m going to let the artists that don’t have any kids be the Guinea Pigs and then I’ll follow suit!”
Now sat at his desk, guitar in hand - Brent took some time out of his day to discuss the record, his influences and most importantly, his essentials.
My family, we’ve always been close, my Mum and Dad are really wonderful people, my sister, my own children and my wife. I lived away from my hometown for 12 years, then when I started touring we moved back so my children can grow up around family. My Dad and Uncle are both musicians so I listened to them a lot. I liked George Jones and Chuck Berry, those kind of folks. Of course being from South Georgia, we listened to Marshall Tucker and Lynyrd Skynyrd, all those kind of folks. So my earliest influences were Chuck Berry and Marshall Tucker. One of my first albums was probably a Live Chuck Berry Cassette.
My mom is a wonderful cook, she makes the best Vegetable Beef soup. My band calls me "soup-er boy", that’s all I eat on the road. I love to cook a good Potato Soup, I couldn't live without it.
My Wife and I have what we call Country days. We leave the kids with their grandparents, we jump in a Toyota pickup truck and ride the dirt roads and around the farm. Then maybe we'll have a bonfire in the evening, throw something on the smoker, shoot a BB gun at some cans; that’s the second thing I couldn’t live without. My wife and I actually wrote a couple of songs. We’ve written together in the past, she’s way smarter than I am, very intelligent and has a wonderful taste in music! Writing with her was the most fun, we’d get our children down to sleep and we’d go sit out on the porch and relax by writing songs.
4th would be sleep. I don’t get a whole lot of it, but I come from a long line of nappers. My grandpa always took a twenty minute lunch nap, then he’d be revived.
Finally and perhaps most obviously, songwriting, I’m sitting here right now, I do it for a living and I do it as a hobby. When I wrote Old Sh!t for Miranda Lambert, it was written about my Grandad who passed away. I never thought anyone would record it because of the swear word but Miranda did a really laid back, back porch recording of it. The strangest thing I've written about is Bad Hygiene! I’ll play it for you, let’s see if Miranda wants to maybe record this one too!
Brent Cobb's Keep 'Em on They Toes is out now via Ol' Buddy Records / Thirty Tigers.
Photography by Alysse Gafkjen