REVIEW: Brent Cobb’s “Providence Canyon” Will Rock Your Americana Soul

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The national groundswell of support around Brent Cobb is only going to increase after the release of Providence Canyon (Low Country Sound/Elektra).  This album is a funkier, groovier addition to his body of work than his recent Shine on a Rainy Day. Providence Canyon, recorded in Nashville’s Studio A, is yet another home run super thriller by producer (and Brent Cobb’s cousin) Dave Cobb; this album is one to rock your Americana soul.

Cobb blatantly flaunts his songwriting skills in the title track “Providence Canyon,” reaching into the heart of country folk everywhere with lyrics like “grab a cooler, why didn’t we think of this sooner.” Love is in the air as he urges us to “go down to Providence Canyon and carve our names in the side of the red clay wall,” and anyone who grew up as a teen (or if you still find yourself) trying to find the natural party spots and hidden American summertime party coves will instantly relate.  Lyrics like these combined with layered instrumentation are lead by searing hot pedal steel as Mike Harris winds us down the road to the canyon via slide guitar.

But it is really “King of Alabama” that forms the heart of the album, from its opening that unwinds rhythmically like a throwback to J.J. Cale and the Band, to its painful story of Cobb’s real life troubadour friend who got shot and killed by a friend, with Cobb’s languid voice telling us that they “both rode the highways on the song… it’s a damn shame the way things go, it’s too bad we have to lose the good folks… the king of Alabama has gone home.” And, to add another lump in your throat,  “I keep his chain in my pocket, his son in my prayers. Every stage I’m on I can feel him there”  is a deeply resounding tribute, with Kristen Rogers on backing vocals for this one.  “Morning is Gonna Come” pulls off that sumptuous red dirt groove that Cobb himself obviously felt from Georgia growing up.  Philip Towns adds thrilling layers of Hammond B3 to the crescendoes. With Brian Allen on bass and Chris Powell on drums the rhythms on this entire album never stop grooving.

Cobb’s magic continue with the nod to Georgia and homesickness in “Come Home Soon.”  “Sucker For a Good Time,” returns to the party spirit, and  “.30-06” jives with not only Southern rock sensibilities, but will ring true even with pacifists who see clear boundaries around relationships and loneliness.  Charlie Worsham adds extra flair on blues guitars to this one.  Providence Canyon is such a mix of joyful bounding music played in syncopated interlocking patterns, with real storytelling and honoring of summertime Americana music traditions.

You really have to give this one a listen.  Cobb is on tour with Chris Stapleton’s “All American Road Show” this summer and fall; don’t miss this lineup.  Check for your copy and tour dates, herewww.brentcobbmusic.com

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