Locals put an end to their weekend Sunday night at the Jefferson Theater, where alt-country artists Brent Cobb and Hayes Carll kicked off the ninth show of their “Gettin’ Together” tour. As the name of the tour suggests, Cobb and Carll brought together their distinctively raw sounds in an effort to demonstrate the artistic power of collaboration through mutual admiration.
While the two artists claim the same genre as their home, each carries a distinct footprint in the alt-country world. Carll’s low voice and the sarcastic humor that riddles his lyrics provide an ironic contradiction with his meticulous picking patterns that weave his songs together.
Making up the other half of this tour, Grammy Award nominee Brent Cobb departs from Carll’s rougher sound to lean heavily on a combination of southern rock as well as gospel and soul influences in his work.
When these two joined forces, they were not putting on a performance so much as inviting the entire audience to take a seat in their living room. The Jefferson, usually a venue with a standing room section on the floor, was replete with seats for the entire audience to sit and listen.
The stage was set with a carpet as well as two bar stools and two tables with lamps framing the performers — overall creating the illusion this theater was Carll and Cobb’s world, not simply a stage to perform on.
Attendees also said staging elements enhanced the intimacy of the performance.
“I really liked the lighting and how it coordinated with the music and the words,” attendee Savannah Kenyon said. “It was really cool.”
Soon they took the stage, walking out to “Why Can’t We Be Friends” by War. Carll and Cobb remained seated the entire time, at a slight angle inwards towards each other so they could connect with their fellow performer just as much as the audience.
There were no other performers, leaving the two just their voices and acoustic guitars to create a sound large enough to fill the space, a challenging task without a band backing them up. The fleshy sound of bare fingers hitting strings infused each of their songs with an authentic earnestness and the layering of complicated fingerpicking patterns between the two of them created a classical feel in some of their songs, such as Hayes Carll’s original “Nice Things.”
This vulnerable, bare-bones performance style prevented these two from hiding behind performance value, bringing the emotional meaning of this tour and this specific performance to the forefront. In between every song, Cobb and Carll paused and shared the specific meaning behind each piece, inviting the audience into their music in a personal way.
These stories included truck rides with grandparents, the adoption of pandemic puppies and legal battles between a favorite folk bar owner and Starbucks. These personal anecdotes, while serving to make this concert more of a multi-medium storytelling experience than a simple show, carried an underlying weight Cobb and Carll drove home consistently.
One highlight of the show was the performance of “Another Like You,” a song about the romantic attraction of a man and woman on opposite sides of the political spectrum being great enough to overcome their differences. The repeating refrain in the song is “I have never seen another like you,” which indicates the ability to see and admire their partner’s essence while respecting their differences.
For attendee Bob Kenyon, “Another Like You” was wonderful to watch.
“They played ‘Another Like You’ and they did not change the original lyrics,” Bob said. “I thought that was great.”
Carll said while this is a comedic song it is also about the intangible part of the human spirit that makes us more alike than different — something he hopes America will continue to lean into despite increasing political polarization.
While “Gettin’ Together” clearly refers to Carll and Cobb joining up for this tour, it is also a wish for their audience to find moments of community to lay the groundwork for greater cooperation across personal differences.