Don’t call it nepotism. Call it having a good ear.
On Friday (3-18), producer Dave Cobb’s conceptualized compilation album Southern Family officially hit the street with it’s mouth watering list of contributors, including Jason Isbell, Miranda Lambert, Jamey Johnson, and Zac Brown. Also in the track list is a distant cousin of Dave Cobb’s, songwriter Brent Cobb. But this is far from Brent Cobb’s first exposure, and his inclusion on the track list was no family favor. Signed to Carnival Music as a songwriter, Brent penned “Rockaway (The Rocking Chair Song)” on Kellie Picker’s album 100 Proof (named SCM’s Album of the Year in 2012), and has written songs for The Oak Ridge Boys, Miranda Lambert, Frankie Ballard, David Nail, and others.
“He’s always been incredibly talented,” says Dave Cobb. “One of the first things he did was write a song for an Oak Ridge Boys record I was working on, and it sounded like a classic hymnal.”
Brent Cobb wrote “Hold Me Closely” for the 2009 Oak Ridge Boys album The Boys Are Back, which Dave Cobb co-produced. But at the time, the two Cobb’s were still getting to know each other.
“I’m from Savannah, Georgia and he’s from Ellaville, Georgia which is on the Alabama border. So we’re both south Georgia, but we’re literally on the opposite sides of the state completely,” explains Dave Cobb. “He’s from my dad’s side, and I grew up in Savannah where my mom’s side is from. I didn’t know him at all growing up. I didn’t meet him until I was in my 30’s. I met him going to my grandmother on my dad side’s funeral. His great grandfather is my father’s brother; that’s how distant we are. I don’t even know what kind of cousins you call that. He’s a lot younger than me too.”
But music still runs deep in the Cobb line, regardless of what side of Georgia it comes from.
“Man, what a great writer,” Dave says about Brent. “His dad gave me his CD, but a lot of my family plays so I just thought ‘Well, it’s just another CD.’ My wife made me put his CD on in the car of songs he’d been writing. We were driving back to the airport from the funeral that time, and he just knocked me out. He’s like Don Williams. So deep. Such a deep, beautiful writer.”
Brent released a self-titled EP in 2012, but now that he’s signed to Dave Cobb’s “Low Country Sound” imprint on Elektra Records, Brent will get his big shot at making a statement as a solo artist. And his new album will carry the “produced by Dave Cobb” stamp, which has been working out quite well for a few of country and roots artists lately.
“I’ve always believed in him. I signed him because of his talent, not because he’s my relative,” Dave Cobb says. Relative or not, anything Dave Cobb is involved with is probably worth paying attention to, and Brent Cobb is about the be the latest beneficiary.