Brent Cobb took the stage at The Basement East at 9:17 p.m. on Thursday with “Sucker for a Good Time,” the namesake of his current tour. It was his second stop at the venue but, this time, it was a hard sellout.
Cobb could have relied on a lot of things during his performance. He could have leaned into country, a presumption that many uninitiated listeners among the audience may have made before seeing him live. After all, his albums have twangier moments that sound more like the music his friends are making — Chris Stapleton, for one.
He also could have leaned into his friends. This show was in Nashville, after all, and it was his first real moment in the sun. He could have called any number of folks in his producer and cousin’s (Dave Cobb) stable to make a cameo, but he didn’t even call on Dave himself.
It was a straightforward, 70-minute set that concluded with “Ain’t a Road Too Long” and no encore. What he leaned into was the influence of the Southern rock created just up the road from the house where he was raised in Ellaville, Georgia. This performance was much more Allman Brothers Band than Stapleton or Sturgill Simpson.
It was casual. Cobb assured the audience before his final song, “I’m going to come out there and drink beers and smoke cigarettes and I want to talk to every one of you.” On a night that was surely one of the biggest thus far in his career, he didn’t forget where he came from.
His band found a perfect groove between country and blues, much the way that his fellow Georgians did more than 40 years ago. He and Michael Harris (guitar), Jason Kott (bass) and beloved Nashville drummer Jerry Pentecost were tight and sounded much bigger than a four-piece. They rocked as hard much harder.
The night wasn’t completely free of cameos, though. Cobb joined his opener and longtime friend, Adam Hood, for the latter’s final song. It’s a move artists have long done as an endorsement, and for those that have followed both careers, there’s no question about how much respect Cobb has for Hood. On this night in East Nashville, it was the brightest moment. Cobb has now achieved a level of success where he can lift up the friends that helped him get there. And it’s a testament to his person that he chose to use the platform for that rather than break out his Music City Rolodex.