Easton Corbin has found the sweet spot. Like few recording artists today, the rural Florida native has landed on the secret formula for effortlessly mixing contemporary country with the traditional sounds on which he was raised. And that musical alchemy is what defines About to Get Real, his new album on Mercury Nashville.
Easton’s third major-label release, it’s a record that is country music for a broad fan base. Like a winning candidate, Easton and his music appeal to young party-minded fans and country purists alike. Radio-ready beats sidle up alongside fiddle and steel guitar, blending seamlessly to create an at once modern and timeless sound. Songs like earnest Top 10 single “Baby Be My Love Song” and the clever take on romance “Guys and Girls” bring country music into the 21st century, not with jarring genre mash-ups, but with the finesse of producer Carson Chamberlain and the maturity of Easton’s textured voice.
“There’s not a whole lot of traditional country music out there today. But what’s great about the country genre is how wide it is—there’s room for everybody,” says Easton, proud to carry the torch for traditional country, albeit in his own modern way. “I’ll always wave that flag, but you still have to grow as an artist, not only in the studio but on the stage entertaining as well.”
Easton’s growth is apparent on About to Get Real, the mark of an artist who was able to capture the lightning-in-a-bottle success of his 2010 self-titled debut and its two Number One singles—“A Little More Country Than That” and “Roll With It”—and channel it into a career. He was the first solo male artist in 17 years to have his first two singles go Number One. If 2012’s All Over the Road and its Top 10 singles “Lovin’ You Is Fun” and the title track showed Easton furthering his reputation as a promising singer, the 12 tracks of About to Get Real paint a picture of a likely future Male Vocalist nominee.
“I definitely feel that I’ve discovered my natural sound with this album. If I try to do anything other than straight-ahead country, then that would just sound forced. And to have any longevity in this business, you really have to know who you are,” Easton says.
Just as importantly, he also knows what makes for an Easton Corbin song.
“If it has a steel and fiddle in it, that definitely attracts me,” he says with a grin. “But it has to be a song that I relate to in some way. And that’s where maturing and growing older comes into play. As you have more life experiences, that comes through in your music and your writing.”
Along with working with his producer to find just the right songs, Easton co-wrote three of the tracks on About to Get Real: the steel-heavy Seventies ballad “Like a Song,” the nostalgic slice-of-life “Diggin’ on You,” and the surprisingly sweet “Damn Girl,” which finds him apologizing to a particularly fine woman for his spontaneous titular exclamation.
“You apologize, but the girl has such an effect on you that you’re just floored, and those words just come out,” Easton laughs.
Like much of About to Get Real, the song, while light on the surface, shows increasing depth upon further listens. Easton is adamant about cutting songs that go beyond the bottle and the bonfire—so much so that he even re-recorded All Over the Road‘s stunning ballad “Are You With Me” for this album, convinced it’s the type of song country needs right now.
“Country music isn’t only about having a good time and drinking and this and that. It’s also about serious subject matter,” he says. “It touches on each end of that spectrum, from happy-go-lucky to heavy. And that’s the basis of country music, that whole human experience.”
“Like a Song” best addresses that solemn side. Co-written by Easton, the album’s closing track compares a lost love to an unforgettable song and was inspired by events in his own personal life. “It looks at that lonely, gnawing, nagging feeling after a breakup,” he says.
Other tracks celebrate the liquid lubrication and nights out with friends that help us shed such feelings. “Yup” is a deceptively simple chronicle of a much-too-late weeknight in a bar spent pursuing the pretty girl across the room, while the honky-tonkin’ “Wild Women and Whiskey,” co-written by Ronnie Dunn, name-checks Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s — as well as George Strait and Alan Jackson. It’s as wonderfully intoxicating as its title and lyrics imply, and another example of Easton finding that musical sweet spot.
“I grew up around my grandparents a lot, and my grandpa’s favorite singer was Roy Acuff, and my grandma’s favorite singer was Bill Monroe. I also fell in love with George Jones, Merle Haggard and Keith Whitley,” he says. “All that definitely shapes who I am musically.”
As does Easton’s keen ear for today’s language. The storyteller is able to take a modern phrase and, with just a change of inflection, twist it on its head, giving it a more classic, refined meaning. He does it in “Damn Girl.” He does it in the title track.
Easton laughs, aware that such clever wordplay—the deft merging of the old with the new—is a metaphor for the entire album.
“About to Get Real was a great title for this record because I just love what that says. It pretty much explains everything,” he says. “When country fans listen to this album, I want them to take away that, even though the music mixes the modern with the classic, it’s entirely real. Like the music of my heroes, it’s the real deal.”
Easton Corbin may not had snow on Christmas Day growing up in Florida, but he certainly had enough to get him into the holiday spirit. He reveals which soulful sounds got him into the holiday spirit. “I think the song that gets me, I guess, in the most Christmas spirit would probably be – since Merle Haggard is one of my heroes, ‘If I Make It Through December,’” says Easton.
His favorite gift would have to be a guitar. “My favorite Christmas gift probably as a kid would probably be the guitar my dad got me, the first electric guitar my dad got me one Christmas,” says Easton.
Easton is nearing the Top 10 on the country charts with his song, “A Girl Like You.”
Easton Corbin (fave Christmas song) OC: …December. :07
“I think the song that gets me, I guess, in the most Christmas spirit would probably be – since Merle Haggard is one of my heroes, ‘If I Make It Through December.’”
Easton Corbin (fave Christmas gift) OC: …ever got. :11
“My favorite Christmas gift probably as a kid would probably be the guitar my dad got me, the first electric guitar my dad got me one Christmas. I don’t remember exactly which one it was, but yeah, it was the first electric I ever got.”
Easton Corbin (Christmas tradition) OC: …my Grandma’s. :31
“Growing up, we’d always go to my Grandma’s. I don’t know what most people do. We do like lunch – they call it dinner, supper you know. We’d always do Christmas dinner there at 12 or 1 o’clock. My mom and dad divorced, and I lived at home with my mom and we’d open presents at my mom’s house, and then around 11:30a, we’d all go to my Grandma’s and everybody, the rest of the family, the extended family, my dad and everybody, we’d all gather up there and open up presents too. So, that’s kind of where everybody would congregate at my Grandma’s.
Holiday liners from UMG Nashville artists, including Alan Jackson, Billy Currington, Brandon Lay, Brothers Osborne, Canaan Smith, Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, Easton Corbin, Eric Church, Eric Paslay, Gary Allan, George Strait, Jon Pardi, Jordan Davis, Keith Urban, Kip Moore, Lady Antebellum, Lauren Alaina, Little Big Town, Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt and more!
LINER AJ (Christmas)
“Hi! This is Alan Jackson, and I’m wishing y’all a very Merry Christmas.”
LINER Billy Currington (Happy Holiday Season)
“Hi! Billy Currington here, wishing you and your family a safe and Happy Holiday Season.”
LINER Brothers Osborne (Christmas)
“Hey! This is T.J., and I’m John, and we are Brothers Osborne, wishing you a very Merry Christmas.”
LINER Canaan Smith (Christmas)
“Hey! What’s up guys? I’m Canaan Smith, wishing you a very Merry Christmas.”
LINER Darius Rucker (Christmas)
“Hey y’all! What’s up? This is Darius Rucker, wishing you a Merry Christmas.”
LINER Dierks Bentley (Christmas)
“Hey! This is Dierks Bentley, wishing you a very Merry Christmas.”
LINER Easton Corbin (Merry Christmas)
“Hey everybody! This is Easton Corbin, wishing you a Merry Christmas.”
LINER Easton Corbin (Happy Holidays)
“Hey everybody! This is Easton Corbin, wishing you and your family a Happy Holidays.”
LINER Eric Church (Christmas)
“Hey everybody! It’s Eric Church, wishing you a very Merry Christmas.”
LINER Eric Paslay (Christmas)
“Hi! I’m Eric Paslay. Hope you have a Merry Christmas.”
LINER Eric Paslay (Holiday Season)
“Hi! I’m Eric Paslay, wishing you a very Happy Holiday Season.”
LINER Gary Allan (MerryChristmas)
“Hey! This is Gary Allan. Merry Christmas.”
LINER George Strait (Happy Holidays)
““Hey everybody! This is George Strait, wishing you and your family a Happy Holiday season.”
LINER Jon Pardi (Merry Christmas)
“Hey! This is Jon Pardi, wishing you a Merry Christmas!”
LINER Kacey Musgraves (Christmas)
“Hey! This is Kacey Musgraves, wishing you a very Merry Christmas.”
LINER Keith Urban (Christmas)
“Hi folks, this is Keith Urban, wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas.”
LINER Keith Urban (Holiday season)
“Hi everyone, this is Keith Urban, wishing you and all your family the very best this holiday season.”
LINER Kip Moore (Christmas)
“Hey guys, this is Kip Moore, wishing you a Merry Christmas.”
LINER Kip Moore (Happy Holidays)
“Hey y’all, it’s Kip Moore. Happy Holidays!”
LINER Lady A (Christmas)
“Hey everybody! We’re Lady Antebellum, wishing you a very Merry Christmas.”
LINER Lady A (Happy Holidays)
“Hey everybody! We are Lady Antebellum. Happy Holidays.”
LINER Lauren Alaina (Christmas)
“Hey! This is Lauren Alaina, wishing you a Merry Christmas.”
LINER George Strait (Happy Holidays)
““Hey everybody! This is George Strait, wishing you and your family a Happy Holiday season.”
LINER LBT (Christmas)
“Hey! We’re Little Big Town, wishing you a very Merry Christmas.”
The Thanksgiving holiday tradition traces its origins to a 1621 celebration at Plymouth, in the state that’s now known as Massachusetts. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. While initially, the Plymouth colony did not have enough food to feed half of the 102 colonists, the Wampanoag Native Americans helped the Pilgrims by providing seeds and teaching them to fish. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival like this did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s. People now celebrate the holiday by giving thanks for their blessings over the past year, as well as feasting on turkey and other festive goodies.
Thanksgiving Day is Thursday, November 23rd, and most people will be enjoying time with their friends and families, including some of your favorite country stars, such as Alan Jackson, Brothers Osborne, Canaan Smith, Clare Dunn, Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, Easton Corbin, Eric Church, Eric Paslay, Josh Turner, Keith Urban, Kip Moore, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Mickey Guyton, Sam Hunt and more. They share their thoughts, memories and favorite Thanksgiving dishes.
AJ (Thanksgiving) OC: …enjoy it. :19
“My favorite Thanksgiving dish would be the homemade dressin’ that we, cornbread-based kind of dressin’ that we always have with turkey. That recipe is a kind of a combination of my mama, and Denise has taken it and perfected it over the years, so that me and my children really enjoy it.”
Brothers Osborne (misfits Thanksgiving) OC: …going home. :45
“What we’ve done the past several years is because it’s so hard to go home, we would have what we call the Misfit Thanksgiving dinner, and all the people in Nashville who aren’t able to go home to their families, we would just invite them over to our house and have a big potluck style Thanksgiving dinner. We’ll take like a couple of tables and throw them together and throw some sheets on it just to make it look nice. It’s a very redneck display of like tableware, because all the plates don’t match and the forks and knives don’t match, but we don’t care. People will bring wine, and at the end of the day, we’ll probably have 12-15 people all sitting at dinner together that weren’t able to go home with their families, and just enjoy it with friends. It’s been really fun. Definitely a lot less stress than going home.”
Canaan Smith (pumpkin pie) OC: …Thanksgiving. :14
“Pumpkin pie is where it’s at. My mom makes the best. She got it from her mom, my Nanny. It’s so good. It’s made from scratch. Everything about it, it’s just mouthwatering. I love it. I can’t get enough. If I could get fat, it’d be from pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving.”
Clare Dunn (Thanksgiving dish) OC: …like hers. :21
“I think my favorite Thanksgiving dish [is] my mom makes the best mashed potatoes in the world. I mean, they’re crazy. They’re like garlic and butter and all the good stuff, so that’s probably my favorite Thanksgiving dish. Oh, and she makes great stuffing too, and I’m not a stuffing person, but I like hers.”
Darius Rucker (favorite part of Thanksgiving) OC: …my family. :17
“My favorite part of Thanksgiving is easy – it’s food. It’s eating. It’s hanging out with family and getting some great food, ‘cause that’s really what Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for all of the great things you’ve got, and I always give thanks for the greatest thing I’ve got and that’s my family.”
Easton (Thanksgiving) OC: …my grandma’s. :33
“Having family and being able to spend that quality time with them and obviously, the opportunity to do what I do. But absolutely during that time, being able to spend that time with family and your loved ones. We used to always go to my grandma’s, that’s Christmas and Thanksgiving. We’d go there for the big meal. I don’t get to go back much. A lot of times I’ll stay up [in Nashville] for Thanksgiving, and then go down during Christmas, but we’d always go to my grandma’s.”
Eric Church (Thanksgiving) OC: …want to do it. :23
“A couple of things. I’m thankful for my family and great health. And I’m thankful for from a career standpoint, I’m very thankful for the success we’ve had lately. I’m thankful for what the fans have done. I mean there’s a lot of stuff to be thankful for in that regard. And I’m thankful that I was given the opportunity to do it my own way. I’m thankful that I’m going to get to keep doing this and do it the way that I want to do it.”
Eric Paslay (Thanksgiving) OC: …too much. :05
“My best Thanksgiving memory, I think, is just hanging out with family, watching football and eating too much!”
Josh Turner (fave side dish) OC: …’em myself. [laughs] :24
“Uh, deviled eggs! [laughs] Where I’m from in South Carolina, I don’t think I’ve tasted a bad deviled egg. It’s like everybody has their own twist on it, but they’re all good, but I always loved it when my mama made ‘em. I’m learning as I get older, making deviled eggs is no easy task. It’s more complicated than it looks, and so that’s probably why I never made ‘em myself.” [laughs]
Keith Urban (1st American Thanksgiving) OC: …immediately. [laughs] :44
“The first Thanksgiving I ever had here, which was 25 years ago, ‘cause I’ve been here a long time now. But the first one I ever had, I remember going to this family’s home, they invited me to Thanksgiving, and I couldn’t believe the volume of food. It was insane. I’ve never seen so much food in my life. Then after the food, there was like 12 desserts. I was like, ‘Why are there so many desserts?’ They said, ‘Well, because every Aunt and every Grandma, everybody brought their thing, their special dessert, and you have to try every one of ‘em.’ I’m like, ‘There’s like THREE apple cobblers.’ And they’re like, ‘Yeah, but they’re made by different people and they’re all watching, so you have to make sure you try everything up there.’ [laughs] I was in love with Thanksgiving immediately.” [laughs]
Kip Moore (Thanksgiving) OC: …with them. :11
“I [usually] go home for Thanksgiving. I love going home to see all them. I have five brothers and sisters and it’s a blast to go home and just catch up on their lives. I get so wrapped up in all this that I lose touch sometimes, and it’s cool to hear everything going on with them.”
Lady A (Hillary-Thanksgiving food) OC: …ever tasted. :12
“So, my favorite Thanksgiving food would have to be my grandmother’s sweet potato casserole. There’s just something she puts in it — probably all the love – that makes it better than anything I’ve ever tasted.”
Lady A (Charles-Thanksgiving eating contest) OC: …five pounds! :25
“One of my most memorable Thanksgiving memories was probably the first year that me and my two brothers (John and Josh) decided to start our annual eating contest where we ate throughout the whole day. We started that morning and weighed ourselves and at the very end of the night, we weighed ourselves out and all three of us equally gained five pounds. I wish we had a more accurate scale to decide the winner, but we all tied. Five pounds!”
LBT (Thanksgiving) 2 OC: (Kimberly) …and eat. :31
KIMBERLY: “Thanksgiving—we love Thanksgiving, ‘cause we get to be with our families and we don’t often get to spend time with our families, our extended families, until the holidays. I love being around the table with my family and talking and laughing and cooking and eating…” JIMI: “And eating and eating and eating and eating…” PHILLIP: “The laughter around the eating, the good cheer, the celebration, the music…” JIMI: “The eating, going taking a nap, then coming back and eating.” KIMBERLY: “Go to bed with a full belly, take a nap, and then get up and eat.”
Mickey Guyton (Thanksgiving traditions) OC: …Thanksgiving traditions. :17
“One of my Thanksgiving traditions is playing charades after Thanksgiving dinner. I’m not the most competitive person in the world, but as soon as you put some Charades in the picture, I am crazy, and you will definitely want to be on my team if we’re playing Charades. I’m just saying. So, that’s one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions.”
Sam Hunt (Thanksgiving eats) OC: …glass of milk. :34
“When I pile my plate up, it’s mostly turkey and then I’ll put a little dressing on the side, and I’ll usually go ahead and grab my dessert on the first run [laughs] and have it ready before it all disappears. Those are the really the three things. It’s strange, but since I was very young, I’ve always loved drinking milk, my brothers too, we drank lots of milk. My cousins, who grew up down the road, they always looked at us funny when we wanted to drink milk with our Thanksgiving meal. They would have coke or whatever else. So, I still get turkey, dressing, a piece of pecan pie and a big ole glass of milk.”