With And Now, Let’s Turn the Page…, Cobb shares a brand of southern gospel keenly focused on a particular shared experience.
Thinking back on my own experiences growing up in a tiny rural church just two doors down the road from my grandparents’ house, the title of Brent Cobb’s new southern gospel album, And Now, Let’s Turn to Page…, strikes me for its precision in evoking memories of well-worn hymnals and congregational song services. Hell, I can still remember the page numbers from that hymnal for half of the songs Cobb has curated for this set, and I could probably still bang some of them out on the piano under duress. What Cobb has accomplished with this album, then, is less a record that’s focused on the actual gospel messaging in “Just A Closer Walk With Thee,” “In the Garden,” and “Old Rugged Cross” than it is on recreating a very particular shared experience. That he’s so successful in doing so is a credit both to Cobb’s interpretive skill — he’s such a low-key fantastic country singer that it’s easy to let the range of his performances slide by — and to his cousin Dave’s ace production. A greater compliment than it might read, And Now… is Dave Cobb’s best production work in ages, showing greater sonic diversity and deference to a performer and material than he often does. “Are You Washed in the Blood” turns into a credible and unexpected funk rave-up, while “We Shall Rise,” one of the handful of killer original tunes here, hits its hallelujahs as a fiery inspirational song. What both Cobbs seem to be interested in isn’t about proselytizing or testifying but, instead, is the power of southern gospel music as a vehicle for emotion and action. To that end, And Now… is a real triumph.
Published as part of Album Roundup — January 2022 | Part 1.