Dave Cobb

RECORD PRODUCER

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For producer Dave Cobb, it always starts with the voice.

He first heard Chris Stapleton’s classic country delivery through the tinny speaker of an iPhone and was so taken he swore he’d someday work with the Kentucky-born singer. Eight years later they’re celebrating an all-genre Album of the Year nomination for Traveller at the 58th annual Grammy Awards.

He also heard something special in Jason Isbell, Anderson East, country rockers A Thousand Horses and the boy-girl harmonies of Houndmouth and HoneyHoney, and his work with all those distinct, genre-bending voices has earned him widespread critical acclaim and an additional nomination for Producer of the Year, bringing his total to four nominations at the 2016 Grammy ceremony in Los Angeles.   

“I think the voice is what I look for first,” Cobb said. “Singers always. If you have a great singer, you can make a great track. I think that’s a common thing and I think another common thing in all those artists is soul. Whether it’s country or more R&B-flavored, I’m still looking for soul.”

Soul poured out of the radio as he grew up on an island off Savannah, Georgia, and out of the congregation at his family’s century-old Pentecostal church, overseen by his grandmother. He learned the hymnal first by singing the lines into memory, then joined family members in the church band after learning to play the drums at 4.   

“There was always this sound in the air,” Cobb said. “I think it’s the sound of Georgia. Georgia always had that little-bit-country, little-bit-R&B thing compared to the other states, I think. Just hearing Otis Redding for the first time, he’s from Georgia. That’s super influential, even if I’m doing country. I think that is in the back of my head.”

Cobb shut that sound out as a young man, however, first heading to New York with his band The Tender Idols, then running to California where he aimed to become a rock ‘n’ roll producer, roots be damned. A few years in, he began producing Shooter Jennings, and through Jennings met bedrock country traditionalist Jamey Johnson. Cobb cut a couple of tracks on Johnson’s That Lonesome Song. It was Johnson who sat him down and convinced him that his heritage couldn’t be denied, so Cobb uprooted his family and moved to Nashville.

“I left the South to run away from it, then I came here to make country records,” Cobb said. “It makes no sense. I can’t explain it. It’s like tripping over yourself and landing on something.”

Since, Cobb has made some of the most respected and critically acclaimed albums to come out of Music City. He teamed with Johnson again, cutting seven tracks on the timeless double album The Guitar Song. He helped A Thousand Horses reach No. 1 with debut country single “Smoke.” He made Sturgill Simpson a reluctant star with Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. And Jason Isbell No. 1 in three genres with rock, country and folk chart-topper Something More Than Free, up for Americana Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards.

And then there was the triumphant emergence of Chris Stapleton and his acclaimed solo debut album, Traveller, also up for Country Album of the Year. Following its release in May, the album was already country music’s top-selling debut in 2015, but it made a record-setting return to the charts after Stapleton swept Album of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and New Artist of the Year at the CMAs and turned the affair into a dancing-in-the-aisles party during a two-song performance with Justin Timberlake. Subsequently, the album became the first to re-enter to the Billboard 200 all-genre album chart at No. 1 where it stayed for two weeks.

Cobb played guitar during the performance and was onstage to accept his trophy as the producer of the album. And now he’s headed to the Grammys with nominations in four very different categories. All because he listened to Johnson, took a chance and moved to Nashville.

“We had a good house and a good life in California and we gave it all up to follow the music,” Cobb said. “If I hadn’t moved here I wouldn’t have met Sturgill or continued to work with Jamey. I wouldn’t have landed the opportunity I had with Chris Stapleton or Jason Isbell. I followed the music. I followed the feeling.”

Dave’s Website

Dave Cobb Selected Discography

 ArtistAlbumLabelCreditYearNotes
Anderson East"All On My Mind" - SingleLow Country Sound / ElektraProducer2017Co-written with Ed Sheeran
Chris StapletonFrom A Room: Vol. 1UMG NashvilleProducer2017RIAA Certified Gold
Jason Isbell and the 400 UnitThe Nashville SoundThirty TigersProducer2017
Zac Brown BandWelcome HomeNo Reserve / ElektraProducer2017
Judah & The LionFolk Hop N Roll (Deluxe)CTV / CarolineProducer2017
Colter WallColter WallYMRC / Thirty TigersProducer2017
Dolly PartonCover Stories: Brandi Carlile Celebrates 10 Years of the Story (An Album to Benefit War Child)Looking Out FoundationProducer2017
Kris KristoffersonCover Stories: Brandi Carlile Celebrates 10 Years of the Story (An Album to Benefit War Child)Looking Out FoundationProducer2017
Anderson EastCover Stories: Brandi Carlile Celebrates 10 Years of the Story (An Album to Benefit War Child)Looking Out FoundationProducer2017
Anderson East / Dave Cobb"Forever Young" RAM Trucks CommercialLow Country Sound / ElektraProducer2017
Wheeler Walker Jr.'Ol WheelerThirty TigersProducer2017
Chris ShiflettWest Coast TownLe Coq Napoleon/SideOneDummyProducer2017
All Them WitchesSleeping Through WarNew WestProducer2017
Judah & The LionFolk Hop N RollCTV / CarolineProducer2017
Jillette JohnsonAll I Ever See In You Is MeRounderProducer2017
Brent CobbShine On Rainy DayLCS / ElektraProducer2016
Whiskey MyersMudWiggy ThumpProducer2016
Amanda ShiresMy Piece of LandLightning RodProducer2016
lori_mckenna_cover_sq-9ae86b0a8a53752f03e67e561b150228507a960a-s800-c15Lori McKennaThe Bird & The RifleCreative Nation RecordsProducer2016
rivalsonshollowbonescdRival SonsHollow BonesEar AcheProducer2016
Bonnie_Bishop_album_400_400_s_c1Bonnie BishopAin't Who I WasBe Squared RecordsProducer2016
173680Brett DennenPor FavorAtlanticProducer2016
the-things-that-we-are-made-ofMary Chapin CarpenterThe Things We Are Made OfLambent Light RecordsProducer2016
FoCWIS7QThe Sore LosersSkydogsExcelsior Recordings/V2Producer2016
MI0003995862John Paul WhiteSouthern FamilyLow Country Sound/ElektraProducer2016
MI0003995862Jason IsbellSouthern FamilyLow Country Sound/ElektraProducer2016
MI0003995862Brent CobbSouthern FamilyLow Country Sound/ElektraProducer2016
MI0003995862Miranda LambertSouthern FamilyLow Country Sound/ElektraProducer2016
MI0003995862Morgane Stapleton (ft. Chris Stapleton)Southern FamilyLow Country Sound/ElektraProducer2016
MI0003995862Zac BrownSouthern FamilyLow Country Sound/ElektraProducer2016
MI0003995862Jamey JohnsonSouthern FamilyLow Country Sound/ElektraProducer2016
MI0003995862Anderson EastSouthern FamilyLow Country Sound/ElektraProducer2016
MI0003995862Holly WilliamsSouthern FamilyLow Country Sound/ElektraProducer2016
MI0003995862Brandy ClarkSouthern FamilyLow Country Sound/ElektraProducer2016
MI0003995862Shooter JenningsSouthern FamilyLow Country Sound/ElektraProducer2016
MI0003995862Rich RobinsonSouthern FamilyLow Country Sound/ElektraProducer2016
Wheeler Walker Jr.Redneck ShitPepperhill MusicProducer2016
Lake Street DiveSide PonyNonesuchProducer2016
chris_stapleton_coverChris StapletonTravellerUniversal NashvilleProducer2015Grammy for Best Country Album
MI0003915260Corb LundThings That Can't Be UndoneNew West RecordsProducer2015
ci-cover-final_rgb_sq-d9175c2452a7a4a1888250a109be1e8d27baee3b-s300-c85Chris IsaakFirst Comes the NightVanguardProducer2015
81hT9ep0a-L._SY355_HONEYHONEY3RounderProducer2015
cyom_400_400_s_c1Kristin DiableCreate Your Own MythologySpeakeasyProducer2015
Delilah-albumAnderson EastDelilahElektra / Low Country Sound / New ElektraProducer2015
homepage_large.2a458b5eLindi OrtegaFaded GloryvilleLast Gang RecordsProducer2015
finger-eleven-5-albumFinger ElevenFive Crooked LinesBicycle Music CompanyProducer2015
Houndmouth_LittleNeonLimelight_packshot_hi_res_400_400_s_c1HoundmouthLittle Neon LimelightRough TradeProducer2015
Cover_hi_resJason IsbellSomething More Than FreeSoutheastern RecordsProducer2015Grammy for Best Americana Album
southernalityA Thousand HorsesSouthernalityRepublic Nashville/BMLGProducer2015
OnwardChristian LopezOnwardBlasterProducer2015
Europe_War_of_Kings_albumEuropeWar of KingsHell & BackProducer 2015
1452011628817Judah & the LionFolk Hop N' RollGood Time RecordsProducer2014
EB Cover finalEliot BronsonEliot BronsonSaturn 5 RecordsProducer2014
California BreedCalifornia BreedFrontiers RecordsProducer2014
Whiskey MyersEarly Morning ShakesWiggy Thump RecordsProducer 2014
Sturgill SimpsonMetamodern Sounds in Country MusicHigh Top Mountain RecordsProducer, Mixer, Engineer2014
Sturgill SimpsonHigh Top MountainHigh Top Mountain RecordsProducer2013
Jason IsbellSoutheasternThirty TigersProducer2013
Rival SonsHead DownEaracheProducer2013
Rival SonsPressure and TimeEaracheProducer2011
George JonesSquid Billys - Theme SongCartoon NetworkProducer2011
Shooter JenningsBlack RibbonsBlack CountryProducer2010
Jamey JohnsonThe Guitar SongMercury NashvilleProducer2010
Nikki LaneGone, Gone, GoneIAMSOUNDProducer2010
The Secret SistersThe Secret SistersUniversal RepublicProducer2010
Rival SonsBefore The FireEaracheProducer2009
A Thousand HorsesA Thousand Horses EPInterscopeProducer2009
Brooke WhiteHigh Hopes and HeartbreakJune Baby RecordsProducer2009
Michael JohnsHold Back My HeartDowntown RecordsProducer2009
The Oak Ridge BoysThe Boys Are BackMCA NashvilleProducer2009
Jamey JohnsonThat Lonesome SongMercury NashvilleProducer2008
Waylon JenningsWaylon ForeverVagrant RecordsProducer2008
Shooter JenningsThe WolfUniversal SouthProducer2007
Nico VegaNico VegaMyspace RecordsProducer2007
Black RobotBlack RobotBrightman MusicProducer2007
Chris CornellCarry On "Safe and Sound"InterscopeProducer2007
Shooter JenningsElectric RodeoUniversal SouthProducer2006
The StraysLe Future NoirTVTProducer2006
The RingersHeadlocks and HighkicksIndependentProducer2006
Shooter JenningsPut The O Back In CountryUniversal SouthProducer2005
The ShysAstoriaSire/London/RhinoProducer2005
Rock N Roll SoldiersSo Many Musicians To KillRNRS RecordsProducer2005
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