Brent Cobb is a Southern songwriter, first and foremost. And over four songs from his poetic full-length Shine On Rainy Day, at a recent Tiny Desk concert for NPR, Cobb showed a talent for crystal-clear characters and salt-of-the-earth storytelling that evokes greats like Kris Kristofferson and John Prine. Watch the performance video above.
Speaking in slow, colorful yarns like an old-time gentleman, Cobb admitted to not quite being comfortable surrounded by hushed, attentive listeners – especially in an office setting. But this long-haired country boy’s songs are so fully-formed that once the singing began, any awkwardness quickly faded.
“Solving Problems” paired a laid back, front-porch conversation with a breezy summer melody, while “Down In the Gulley” felt dark, foreboding and bluesy – a half-true tale based on his Uncle Bubba being mistaken for a moonshiner. “Country Bound” and its homesick optimism felt like a long-established classic, perhaps because Cobb watched his father and uncle write it when he was five years old. And his album’s title track offers insight into a man who’s broken, but not defeated, with soul-stirring lines like “Ain’t it funny how you learn to pray / When your blue skies turn grey / When there’s nothing left to say / Shine on rainy day.”
Unsure of how to end the cramped mini-concert, Cobb eventually just lets the applause fade before amiably asking what comes next, demonstrating his commitment to putting art above commerce when it comes to country music. He’ll get the chance to work on both at the end of January with three tour dates scheduled in U.K. before returning stateside for a show in Cincinnati on February 2nd.