At first glance, Brent Cobb doesn’t appear to embody the stereotypical image of a country artist. As he stepped up to the mic to rock the DC9 Nightclub stage with his long hair and leather black jacket, one might have expected him to sing hard rock or perhaps indie folk. However, the over 80 attendees roared with applause when he opened his mouth and belted out a soulful, bluesy southern ballad reminiscent of his upbringing in rural Georgia.
Brent Cobb’s March 31 D.C. performance marked one of more than 50 concerts the Grammy-nominated artist is set to headline with his backup band to promote his new album, “Providence Canyon.” His performance at the DC9 Nightclub was a riveting revival of old school country, incorporating genres like Americana, Bluegrass and Outlaw.
These are genres that “are found few and far between in today’s country music,” said Adam Lennett, one of Cobb’s fans who attended the concert. In general, Lennett and Cobb’s other fans, it seems, relish in the singer’s ability to weave his own personal experiences into an underappreciated sub-genre of music while remaining authentic to the broader Southern experience.
Every song Cobb performed, from “King of Alabama” to “Ain’t a Road Too Long,” was heavily rooted in his family-oriented upbringing, and every pause he took between songs to talk about the wise words of his father and the experiences he had growing up with his friends was met with applause and empathy from his adoring fans.
Throughout the concert, Cobb balanced heartfelt ballads with upbeat, Southern-centric pieces from his debut album, “Shine on Rainy Day.” All hands were flying in the air as the audience listened to Cobb’s story. When he spontaneously shouted out, “Let’s play some Hillbilly music!” the place erupted with “yeets,” hollers and ground-shaking stomps. For the rest of the night, he maintained perfect control of the audience’s dynamic.
By the concert’s end, Cobb had truly spoken to the heart of his fansthose in his fanbase. His final song was met with a roar from the audience that lasted longer than a minute. In a mere two hours, Cobb gave everyone a taste of something that many feel mainstream country has lost: authenticity.
His narratives provided those in attendance, fans or not, with a glimpse into the life of a man who was born, raised and molded by Southern culture -- a level of reality that was and should be valued by the concert’s audience.
“Providence Canyon” is set for official release on May 11. Until then, Brent Cobb’s debut album “Shine on Rainy Day” can be streamed on Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.