New take on gospel to express gratitude and grace.
If you are bathed in the blood of the lamb and aged in a bourbon barrel, Brent Cobb’s new album ‘And Now Let’s Turn To Page…’ is for you. Cobb’s reprisal of gospel favourites doesn’t break new ground, most of the songs on this release are gospel standards that have been covered by an illustrious list of musicians. ‘A Closer Walk with Thee’ has been recorded some 70 times since 1941 by everybody who is anybody in country music and then some. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t always room for one more take.
Musically, ‘When it’s My Time’ is a new take on the gospel form. The lyrics reflect Cobb’s view of the well-lived life. ‘I lived my life, The way that I wanted’, he sings. Then, he goes on: ‘I fought tooth and nail, I walked the high road, And given it hell’, summing up a Southern take on the theology previously preached by Frank Sinatra.
In ‘We Shall Rise’, Cobb’s personal statement of faith comes through. A honkytonk piano and Southern blues guitar drive the song, which is a straightforward and uplifting hallelujah celebration of his heartfelt expression of faith and gratitude for surviving a car crash. This isn’t Cobb’s first expression of faith. ‘Black Creek’ from Cobb’s earlier album ‘No Place to Leave’ was a more subtle plea for redemption.
To really love these songs, you had to be raised in a congregation that relies on 19th century music to give voice to its faith. The power of these songs is in the association. They bring back the smell of the canvas during a tent revival, the hardness of simple pine pew and the taste of fried chicken at a church supper. Or maybe you’re drawn to the fantasy that Nashville promotes so well, which is to say a pickup truck driving down a country dirt road with a dog in the back, on the way to church with a hangover from Saturday night. Or maybe you just enjoy a musician who is firmly rooted within the Southern musical tradition that brings together rock, blues, country and gospel; a musician who is happy to be alive and uses traditional songs to celebrate his good fortune.
If you’re a fan of Brent Cobb this album is a must. He revives gospel classics with his distinctive voice and instrumentation. At times, he might sound like he is singing from the bottom of a well, but he has an authentic voice that celebrates his Georgian roots and calls us – gently, clearly – to be saved.
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