The King Has Gone Home (Brent Cobb, Providence Canyon review)

A distinct sound. A fun time. Something for everyone. That’s what this album offers.


Brent Cobb – Providence Canyon

released May 11, 2018
******** 8/10

Brent Cobb is an American singer, songwriter and musician who plays country music tinged with Americana, southern rock and outlaw leanings. To-date, he has released three studio albums – No Place Left to Leave (2006) Shine on Rainy Day (2016) and Providence Canyon (2018). Now if you are wondering why the gap between his first album, and his second album, it’s because No Place Left to Leave was recorded on the Beverly Martel label with his established producer cousin Dave Cobb.

During this space of time, Cobb moved to Nashville in 2008, landed a songwriting contract with Carnival Music Publishing, and began writing for prominent artists. Namely, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Kenny Chesney and a whole host of others. When he released an EP in 2012, he was able to leverage it into performances opening for Blake Shelton, Sara Evans, and other well-known artists. And then Cobb landed a spot on Dave Cobb’s compilation record Southern Family. When he finally got onto major label Low Country Sound, he was able to release a major studio record, earning himself a Grammy Nomination and deserved attention.

How’s that for exposition?

Now let’s consider his third record, Providence Canyon.

This album continues the trend of overt Americana notes, and has a distinct conversational tone, often focusing on where he’s been, where he’s going and what he loves about his hometown. Filled to the brim with details about old rifles, fallen friends, and monetizing the freedom of the road, Cobb is just as comfortable crooning about red clay walls (Providence Canyon) as he is reflecting on his time with Willie Nelson (Come Home Soon), and there is a spirituality contained in each track to boot.

Of course there are songs like Mornin’s Gonna Come and Sucker For A Good Time that focus primarily on sleeping around and the consequences of it, like say the reality of running into the girls boyfriend the morning after. Another common theme to be sure, but his presentation has a great indie country flavour, and fits in perfectly with the overall tone of the album.

Another great track is his ode to Wayne Mills, and the first single of the album. King of Alabama is a particularly eclectic tribute to his late comrade and yet another reminder of where Cobb comes from. Which as mentioned features strongly throughout the whole record, but I think it’s less of a thematic tool and more a demonstration of his character and what he cares about.

When we get into the final song, Ain’t A Road Too Long, it’s been quite a journey. But Cobb doesn’t pull his punches here either. This is probably one of my favourite songs as it is an especially haunting exploration about what happens when you life a life on the road. The natural ups and downs, but more importantly, the way an escape form becomes a job.

These are gritty stories that manage to work well across Cobb’s already established choice musical styles, and there is even some funk found in the middle of the album with .30-06. Yet another great track that talks about a wife’s infidelity and a jealous threat using a classic hunting rifle as weapon of choice. That said, I’m also partial to High In The Country and Lorene as they call back to 1970s outlaw country.

Pros: It sets the bar even higher then his last album did, and save a couple weaker tracks, it is a really solid listening experience. King of Alabama and Ain’t A Road Too Long are great 2018 summer songs.

Cons: For whatever reason, the backing vocals and the tone of both If I Don’t See Ya and When The Dust Settles are a little mundane for me, and don’t have any staying power.

Runtime: 34 minutes

Points of Interest:

This is the kind of album that is immediately enjoyable, but also bears some weight as you spend more time with it, giving it a natural progression and lots of layers to unpeel. But that is the way that Brent Cobb writes, he’s happy to share intricacies of his life, if it means a more intricate song can come out of the labour. Yes, these are well-worn themes, but what makes them inspired comes from the delivery method, Cobb focuses on things he cares about, and so that makes them interesting to the casual listener.

theories Summarized

Okay here are my final thoughts.

If a musician can open up for Chris Stapleton and still retain their stage presence, then that is an artist worth listening to. That, and super producer Dave Cobb is the  voice behind both artists. Brent Cobb’s Providence Canyon is an album of both internal and external geography, and it never sounds preachy on either front. A definite add to your collection.

And speaking of solo artists who just don’t know how to quit what they know, Brendon and I have a Sound Culture video on Caribou’s The Milk of Human Kindness. Dan Snaith is a mathematician, composer and musician that makes electronic music to melt your ears to.

And if you like either of these album reviews or both of them, please like and share the video, and of course, please subscribe to the blog and channel for more awesome theories on the arts! Tomorrow I have some thoughts on Batman Ninja.


Steel Your Heart Away (Miranda Lambert, The Weight Of These Wings review)

It’s always a challenge to make a good album. And to make a great album, even tougher. But what happens when you attempt to do the ol’ double deuce for your fans? Well it can go off really well or really poorly, just a matter of perspective.

And boy does this week’s album review have it in spades.

Miranda Lambert – The Weight Of These Wings
released November 18, 2016
******* 7/10


Miranda Lambert is an American country music singer/songwriter, and is also a member of the Pistol Annies (alongside Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley). Lambert has won seven consecutive Academy of Country Music awards for Female Vocalist of the Year, two Grammy Awards, and is the first woman to have won the County Music Association Awards Album of the Year twice.

Having recorded six studio albums to date, starting with Kerosene in 2005, Lambert is no stranger to success in the country music genre. In fact, from 2011 to 2015, Lambert was married to fellow country singer Blake Shelton.

Normally I wouldn’t really care about that last factor, but it’s important to consider within the scope of this album and it’s release date. You see, dear readers, Miranda Lambert started to write this album following the fallout of her divorce. It was July of 2016 that she released Vice, an emotional track that is something of a tearjerker for her, morally ambiguity aside. Because we don’t know what sparked the divorce, not really. After all, we all have our vices that we lean on from time to time, but she couldn’t really do anything to spread the truth out about it when she split from Shelton – that was already in the open air, the tension the anger, the emotional wreckage.

That’s the impression I get when I listen to this album over and over. And that’s something I felt necessary to do as practice, to make sure I wasn’t missing any emotions or stages of grief as she got over what had happened.

Another concept album for the year, Lambert decided to split this record up into two parts, each at twelve tracks. The first disc being labelled as The Nerve and the second, ever so clever, is The Heart.

Interestingly enough, it’s not just an album full of fears – substance abuse, cheating on a marriage an aging woman, the problems associated with touring, losing faith. No, that’s just the first half. It’s also about confronting those fears, and that’s where the second disc comes in. The ideation and definitions of this exploration by Lambert are good, but not necessarily as powerful as my favourite album of the year – Angel Olsen My Woman.

Yeah, that’s right… it could have been a tighter compilation of tracks, organized into two sections for sure, but without splitting it up over two discs and forcing me to remain aware of the run time eternally. There just seems to be a bit of fill in here. It’s hard to point out and crucify specific tracks, but the pacing feels really long and we sometimes forget the themes as a consequence.

I think you should pay attention to Vice, Tin Man, Ugly Lights, Smoking Jacket, Highway Vagabond, Pushin’ Time, Keeping The Flame and To Learn Her in particular. There are a number of great songs, that could easily make a solid singular disc, but it’s not terrible, I think you should give it a listen. Americana yes.




This is the greatest range of emotion and ability we’ve seen from Lambert yet, and in fact, I could argue it’s probably one of the best country albums I’ve heard in a long time. But the double album play somehow cheapens the weight of the work being done here. That could just be a theory though.