Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
rent Cobb may be a good ole' son of the South at heart, but that does not limit him either. Cobb may sing of cicadas and kudzu as he did on this night with the title track of his CD, "Southern Star," but there's no pigeonholing the Georgian.
As in musically. Maybe at heart, he's a soulful, bluesy singer, but he also knows a thing or two about country ("Shut Up and Sing") and rock (the very fine "Ain't a Road Too Long") with a Southern rock edge at times. He also knew how to get down dirty and swampy ("Sucker For a Good Time"). All were on display. It's easy to see why he has opened shows for Chris Stapleton as they march in similar musical circles.
Cobb was an easy-going performer. He sang with a hard drawl and was comfortable with the variety of styles, although the funky/soulful edge seemed to work best.
It helped that Cobb has a sturdy band anchored by the cool looking Matt McDaniel, who has more than shades and a pony tail to make him stand out on guitar with steely sounds and slide smartly utilized. The rhythm section of Len Clark on drums and Josh Williams on bass anchored the music, while keyboardist Jimmy Rowland colored the songs as well.
About two-thirds of the way through the 70-minute show, Cobb served up "Livin' the Dream," a funky, soulful delight he wrote with Josh Morningstar. Like much of Cobb's work, he writes of simple scenes and life's occurrences. Like Cobb himself, the song seems to extol the virtues of being satisfied with one's lot in life. As he did on the closing encore song, "Patina," a gentle love song penned by his wife, Layne.
On "Livin' the Dream" from "Southern Star," Cobb sang, "Am I only one who knows I'm livin' the dream/It ain't as hard as it seems." That about sums up Cobb live. Not sure that the life of a musician on the road is all that easy, but on this night anyway - for him and us - the dream came alive.
Ben Chapman came off as just about the perfect complimentary opening act for Cobb. Chapman, also a native of Georgia, has a bit of the same grit when he sings and power to his voice when wanted or needed.
Chapman, who performed solo acoustic, said at one point how nervous he was to play in front of a crowd. But he didn't seem to have any difficulties with that over the course of a set that was on the blues and blues rock side of the musical equation. Not to mention a well-delivered cover of Stealers Wheel's "Stuck in The Middle With You."