With two No. 1 singles, multiple awards and nominations, plus performances on some of the biggest stages in the world, Easton Corbin made an auspicious entree with his self-titled debut album.
The release of his sophomore effort, All Over the Road, builds on that success and delivers music that confirms that Easton Corbin is here to stay.
When Easton broke on the scene in 2009 with not one, but two, No. 1 singles, "A Little More Country Than That" and "Roll With It," and a Top 15 hit, "I Can't Love You Back," the country music world was put on notice. He became the first country male artist in 17 years to have his first two consecutive singles reach No. 1. Billboard named Easton the Top New Country Artist of 2010 and named "Roll With It" the No. 6 Hot Country Song of the Year. He was ranked No. 9 on Billboard's list of Top Country Artists-Male, listed between Blake Shelton and Tim McGraw.
With three American Country Awards in 2010 and blockbuster tours with Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton, Easton set the bar high for his sophomore release. Not surprisingly, the hard-working Gilchrist County, Florida native-"Everybody knows everybody," he says-delivers in spades.
The new collection-like the first, produced by top Nashville producer Carson Chamberlain (Billy Currington)-finds Easton improving upon his impressive debut.
First single, "Lovin' You Is Fun," is an unapologetic traditional country love song in the spirit of Alan Jackson and George Strait, but with a vocal twist that only Easton can deliver. That's not by chance. A devotee of Alan, George and Keith Whitley, Easton is the genre's biggest torchbearer for the neo-traditional movement.
People have taken notice. "Somewhere up there in hillbilly heaven, Keith Whitley is smiling down as his legacy continues to affect new generations," The Hollywood Reporter said of Easton.
Entertainment Weekly agreed, saying ".He is singing old-school songs, full of wit and heart," and "It sounds effortless. . sit back and remember why you fell in love with country music in the first place."
The new album's title cut is as definitive for Easton as "A Little More Country Than That" was on his debut. "'All Over the Road' is a fun title," he contends, "but it's also actually what we're doing out there. We're all over the road trying to get music out to everybody, so I just thought it made sense."
"Hearts Drawn In The Sand" conjures summer love complete with henna tattoos, tank tops and Ray Bans while the laid-back "Dance Real Slow" paints a portrait of I-don't-care-where-we-are-as-long-as-I'm-with-you love.
The heartfelt "I Think Of You" is a universal testament to missing a loved one, whether it is an old flame or a soldier overseas.
The former hardware store employee relates to his hard working fans. "I'm singing and playing music I love and I relate to, and it's real for me," he says. "People know if you ain't being real. If I cut music I relate to and feel good about, I feel like my fans are going to do the same."
The album features tunes from Nashville's A-list songwriters, including Bob DiPiero, Ashley Gorley, Terry McBride, Tommy Lee James, Tony Martin and Mark Nesler, among others. Easton co-wrote two songs on the new collection, including the devotional "A Thing For You" and the revelational "This Feels A Lot Like Love."
Touring with Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton put Easton on a stage that afforded him a unique opportunity to learn from the best. "As a new artist you learn watching those guys, what they do, and of course with a big crowd like that you've got to learn how to entertain. It's a different thing from playing a club."
The experience left an impression on Easton, who rose to the occasion. "Growing up I was always self-conscious getting out there singing in front of people," he admits. "I guess I had a little stage fright. You get a little nervous out there, because you're always thinking, 'I wonder if they think I'm good?' But through all those experiences it gives you more confidence to get out there and be confident in what you do and get out there and really sell it and be yourself and do what you do."
While Easton has plenty of long-term goals, the most important ones are simple. "I want to get my music to as many people as possible," he says with a determined smile. "You've got to be good to your fans, and you've got to make music that's true to you.