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Is Producer Dave Cobb Taking RCA Studio A To The Top In Nashville?

A 50 year Old studio on Music Row developed by country legend Chet Atkins…a studio where Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings all recorded songs…was set to be demolished.  But music enthusiasts stepped in at the last minute and saved the building…in lieu of luxury condominiums.  So now Producer Dave Cobb has taken this RCA Studio A, and is set to record and work with artists to produce “artists I would want to listen to.”  “I just fell in love with the music scene,” Cobb said. “I just felt like Nashville right now is maybe where London was in the ’60s and L.A. was in the ’70s. It feels like this is music mecca.”  “I think people just call me to make honest records, so that I can do.”   He moved back to Nashville in 2011 to start a home studio.

As noted…”Cobb got his start working with outsider country artists pushed aside as the trend moved to a slicker, pop and R&B-influenced country sound. But it was Cobb’s work with Americana darling Jason Isbell and breakout country singer Chris Stapleton that turned him into Nashville’s hottest producer. Cobb is nominated for non-classical producer of the year and album of the year for Stapleton’s “Traveller” at this year’s Grammy Awards.”

Cobb said. ” You’re in here and it just inspires you.”  “The Savannah, Georgia-native got his start as a producer in Los Angeles working with Waylon Jennings’ son, Shooter, on his 2005 album, “Put the ‘O’ Back in Country.” Jennings introduced him to Jamey Johnson, and the two worked together on Johnson’s 2008 album “That Lonesome Song,” and his critically acclaimed 2010 double album, “The Guitar Song.”

“He broke genre lines with Kentucky-bred singer Sturgill Simpson on his 2014 psychedelic honky-tonk record “Metamodern Sounds in Country Music.” Isbell’s raw post-rehab album, “Southeastern,” swept the 2014 Americana Music Awards and their 2015 follow-up, “Something More Than Free,” is also nominated for best Americana album this year at the Grammys.”

“He found his biggest commercial success with the long-haired Stapleton, who had written hits for Luke Bryan and Kenny Chesney. The former bluegrass singer cut his debut solo album with Cobb in Studio A, but he struggled to get any radio play with his bluesy, country soul record when it was released last May.”

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After the show…the night of the Country Music Association Awards on Nov. 4, when pop star Justin Timberlake and Stapleton performed for 8 minutes on national television… Stapleton won album of the year, male vocalist and new artist of the year awards, and Stapleton’s record jumped from nowhere to No. 1 on Billboard’s 200 chart. Soon after that, the award nominations came rolling in for Stapleton, including four Grammy nominations and five Academy of Country Music Award nominations.

“I can’t believe it’s had the impact that it has,” Cobb said. “Especially because there was no angling for any of this. That’s what is so great about this. It was done out of purity and honesty. To see commercial success behind that was really gratifying.”

Singer John Paul White, recorded a new song, “Simple Song,” for the upcoming album and said Cobb’s relationship with artists is what makes him distinctive.  “I think Dave is just making records for himself,” explained White, formerly of the Grammy-winning country duo The Civil Wars…  “He’s incredibly knowledgeable about gear, he’s mindful of vibe and feel, and has studied production technique to the nth degree. He takes that info and makes records that he would want to buy. He works with artists that he would want to listen to. Strangely, that makes him unique.”

“Mainstream country artists are eager to work with him…Cobb is releasing an all-star concept record called “Southern Family,” on March 18, which features Cobb’s ever growing musical family, including Jennings, Johnson, Isbell, Stapleton and his wife, Morgane, as well as artists he’s never worked with like Brandy Clark and Miranda Lambert.”

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