There's a real getting-to-know-you quality to Brent Cobb's new album, "Providence Canyon," which hits stores and streaming Friday.
It's there in the often autobiographical songs like the title cut or "Come Home Soon," a song written from the experience of one of his first major tours and a longing to get back to his South Georgia home of Ellaville. There's a particularly confessional passage about getting pass-out drunk with people he did not know that Cobb said absolutely happened, in a Rolling Stone Country story.
Then there's what he chooses to write and sing about: how he tells the story of late musician Wayne Mills in "King of Alabama" or the sobering party tunes, "Mornin's Gonna Come" and "Sucker for a Good Time."
But most of all, there's the ease of the whole thing. From the funky groove of "If I Don't See Ya" to the album closing "Ain't a Road Too Long," with its staccato, spoken delivery, to songs like "High in the Country" and "Lorene" that take you back to peaceful, easy AC country of the 1970s, "Providence Canyon" goes down smooth.
And Cobb is someone you may want to get to know, as he'll spend a good chunk of this year the same way he spent last: opening for Chris Stapleton, including the Johnson Countian's late October stand at Rupp Arena. Far from an opener you have to tolerate until the main act shows up, based on this album, Cobb should be seen as icing for Stapleton fans; and chance to see an up-and-comer who shares more than concert venues with Stapleton.
All of Cobb's efforts thus far have been produced by his cousin, country and Americana uber producer Dave Cobb, who has guided all three of Stapleton's solo efforts to the top of the charts.
More than Stapleton, or even Cobb's Low Country labelmates like Anderson East and Brandi Carlile, Cobb will make you forget bro country ever happened. Cobb has said he was going for a bigger sound on this album because he is opening arena shows. Just accessing the rhythms around him in Southern funk and soul, Cobb achieves what the Florida Georgia Lines of the world are grasping at by trying to appropriate other sounds.
This album is what you get when you're not trying to hard, or at least, you don't sound like you're trying too hard.