Brent Cobb released one of our favourite albums of 2020 with Keep ‘Em On They Toes, a record that was loose, warm and possessing some brilliant turns of phrase amid the laidback rhythms and grooves. Now he’s taken an interesting approach with the followup, digging deep into Southern gospel and hymns of his youth.
A car crash that shook up Cobb and broke his collarbone was something of an inspiration to make the album, and keeping it in the family, he called on his famous cousin Dave Cobb to produce. The results are beautiful, poignant and musically rewarding, even for someone like myself with something of an aversion to religious music.
You can hear the heart, conviction and spirit in Cobb’s emotional investment in the songs as he drapes them in Southern Soul (‘Just A Closer Walk With Thee’), the bluesy rock sound of original ‘When It’s My Time’, the funk testimonial of ‘Are You Washed In The Blood?’ and the freewheeling Rolling Stones meets Black Crowes Southern rock sound of ‘We Shall Rise’.
The production is sublime on the album. If you can, treat your ears to hi-res audio while listening to it. There’s a hallowed, heavenly and church-like aura to the songs, via the use of reverb and super-warm, presumably analogue recording in the hands of cousin Dave. Multi-harmony voices billow skyward, most effectively on closer ‘Blessed Be The Tie That Binds’ featuring his parents, sister, wife and cousin providing familial backing. Right across the album the drums, bass and organ all coexist perfectly in the warm, soulful grooves of the music. Listen to and embrace the divinity of the lyrics or just treat yourself to some beautiful music at the junction of gospel, country, blues and soul.