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.”
Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain. The holiday is commonly associated with fireworks displays, parades, barbecues and concerts. Some of your favorite country stars take time to remember their Fourth of July traditions, memories and what the holiday really means to them.
AJ (fave 4th of July memory) OC: …very cool. :58
Well, this one is hard to beat. A couple of years ago, maybe longer than that now, I had an old boat in Florida. It’s like an old antique motor yacht, and it was kind of a cool old boat. I had taken that boat, I’ve always wanted to take it up north like to New York and up in that area, up in the northeast where it’s so pretty. So, we took the boat up there and Denise and the girls, we all went up. They like going to New York City, which I don’t really care about going to the city. So, I got to stay in my boat there at the harbor tied up, which was cool anyway. So they spent time in the city a few days and then that was Fourth of July, and we went out in the Hudson River that night and they shot the fireworks off and we were anchored out in front of the Statue of Liberty and New York City was behind us, and the Statue of Liberty and the fireworks were going off sitting on that boat. That was the coolest thing and my girls still talk about that. I mean, that was the coolest thing on Fourth of July I can ever remember. I can’t top that one probably. It was emotional sitting there watching the Statue of Liberty and thinking about all that. It was very cool.”
Billy Currington (4th of July) OC: …of my life. :16
“My best memories would be hanging out with my mom, brother and sister on the beach on Tybee Island right off the coast of Savannah, Georgia. We’d go there every year, and we’d light our own fireworks and watch the ones that they had for us. They were the best times, some of the best times of my life.”
Canaan Smith (Fireworks July Fourth) OC: …kinds of stuff. :39
“Williamsburg, Virginia has a great fireworks display. It’s one of the best in the nation, they say or something like that. We’d go to the Governor’s Palace. They have a big lawn, and we’d sit out there and lay a blanket down. This was before I was old enough to drink, but we probably tried to sneak some in anyhow. And we’d just watch the [show], you know they’d have the grand finale, which always blew my mind ‘cause just when you thought it was over, they’d start bringing out all of the tricks and it just gets crazy. We did that on a regular basis. Other times, we’d do stuff in our own yard. We had a big yard when we were growing up with a dirt track in the back, and our neighbor’s yard was equally as big, so when you put ‘em together, we had a massive area to be destructive and do whatever we wanted. So, we blew up all kinds of stuff.”
Darius Rucker (4th of July) 1 OC: …in the world. :24
“The Fourth of July to me is a day to celebrate freedom. We get to travel all over the world and see a lot of stuff, and I’ve been to a lot of countries that aren’t like ours and that’s when you really appreciate the fact that you can do whatever you want. As long as you’re willing to deal with the consequences, you can do whatever you want, you know? [I] appreciate those soldiers who died for us to be sitting here doing this, and we live in the greatest country in the world.”
Darius Rucker (fireworks) OC: …off once. :15
“Oh, I love fireworks. We had the bottle rocket fights and all that good stuff. I was the typical little crazy kid, you know. In South Carolina, it was always legal, so we shot fireworks when it was legal. We did all that sort of stuff. I almost blew my hand off once.”
Dierks Bentley (4th of July-patriotic) OC: …all the time. :17
“I’m extremely patriotic. I love this country, and I love the history of this country. I read books on this country. I spend my time on the road traveling physically throughout the country. The soldiers and their families are constantly on my mind. We work closely with the Wounded Warriors Project. We think about this stuff all the time.”
Easton Corbin (Fourth of July) OC: …clown around. :28
“Fourth of July, I remember growing up and having cookouts, and course we did the whole fireworks thing. I remember my uncle, he’d always get fireworks and bring down like from Alabama, because in Florida, you couldn’t get the bottle rockets and stuff, so he’d always go up to Alabama, ‘cause they live in Tallahassee, which was close to the [state] line. So, he would go over the line and get the good fireworks and bring ‘em down to my Grandma’s for me and my cousin, and we’d just hang out all day and shoot off fireworks and clown around.”
Eric Church (4th of July) OC: …freedoms. 1:17
“The Fourth of July for me, growing up we would always go to the lake, we didn’t live on the lake but we would all go to the lake. Had a buddy who had a pontoon and we would always get on the pontoon and you go out and you’d tie all the pontoons together and just have a big time. This was before, I was younger then, the adults were having more fun than we were, you know it was just to go swim in the water and shoot off fireworks. Basically, water tailgating is what it was. And then as we got older, same thing…we would just, us younger kids had our own boat and we had as much fun as the adults.”
Jordan Davis (Fourth of July) 1 OC: …an American. :18
“I think Fourth of July weekend is a special time to really sit back and be thankful for what we have – thankful to our military, thankful for family and for friends, just a time to really sit back and appreciate how great it is to be an American.”
Jordan Davis (Fourth of July) 2 OC: …really cool. :17
“Probably baseball games, firework shows at baseball games. We’d go to Shreveport Captains games, so yeah, we’d do that or barbecues and fireworks. I can remember being on the lake for a couple of Fourth of Julys. We’d take the boat out and we’d watch the downtown fireworks show from the boat, which was really cool.”
Josh Turner (fireworks) OC: …of money. [laughs] :20
“Yeah, we had fireworks around, especially my Daddy’s family. All the individual families had a lot of competition with each other and tried to outdo each other to try to see who had the biggest and baddest fireworks and all that. [laughs] My daddy, I think, was the smartest one. He just went out and bought maybe $25 worth of fireworks and let everybody else put on the big show, so he saved a lot of money.” [laughs]
Keith Urban (coming to America 1st time) OC: …as I could. :39
“1989 was the first year I came to the States, and it had always been my goal, but I had no plan on how to get here. It was just a case of keep playing, keep getting better at what you do, and then hopefully, somehow, some way I’ll end up over here. The guy who was managing me at the time, we just planned a trip over here – it was actually for the New Music Seminar in New York. And we came over for that, and then we did a trip down to Nashville, and I was shopping my little demo around. I think I humored everybody more than anything else [laughs] with my tragic, ill-fitting demo for the time. So, I left there, but I was just so committed to coming back as quick as I could.”
Kip Moore (Fourth of July-soldiers) OC: …every day. :32
“I’m a very, very patriotic person, proud of the country that I live in, and I’m very proud of what those guys do for us each and every day, and I don’t take it for granted one bit. My grandparents were in the military, fought wars, and I’ve seen the battle that they go through, just the horror of remember things. When I start to think that I’m half-way tough, I realize how I’m not one bit when I talk to soldiers when I’m out and realize the things that they go through. I can’t imagine facing what those guys face every day.”
Lady A (4th of July-Hillary) OC: …on my hand. :29
“For many, many years in a row, we would be up at the lake for Fourth of July, and having those memories of being on the boat and going tubing and skiing and enjoying being out in the summertime, great weather on the water. But, then for me, Fourth of July was when [husband] Chris [Tyrell] proposed. So, I got proposed to on July 2nd up at the lake, the same lake I grew up going to, and so that’s probably the biggest highlight of Fourth of July to me – getting a rock on my hand.”
Lady A (Fourth of July-Dave) OC: …and America. :45
“July fourth is always, for me, my birthday week. My birthday is July 5th so we grew up going on family trips to the beach. We would d always go to Hilton Head, South Carolina and always take trips for my birthday, so that’s always a fun time of the year…watch fireworks. I think my best memory would be my birthday party when I was 9 or 10 years old. We went to the batting cages and I remember I was swinging so hard, it was 100 degrees outside, I was swinging in the batting cage and ended up passing out right there in the batting cage. You’re trying so hard to hit the ball, you’re a kid and you really don’t realize how much water you should be drinking and [CHARLES: “Dave was that kid.”] I was that kid who was on the ground in the batting cage, people fanning and pouring water all over my face. Happy Birthday to me and America.”
LBT (military) OC: (Karen) …whenever we can. (Kimberly: “Yeah.”) :22
“It’s such a huge sacrifice what these men and women do for us, and not only the ones that are serving, but the families that are left here at home. I mean, it’s just a huge commitment that they make, and what an honor. We love to be able to sing for them and entertain them and to say thank you whenever we can.” (Kimberly: “Yeah.”)
Luke Bryan (4th of July memories) OC: …we used to. :21
“Some of my favorite Fourth of July memories were spent on Lake Blackshear down in Georgia with my family. I was always kind of in charge of driving home from Tennessee and picking up all the fireworks and my nieces and nephews always got excited when I rolled in because they knew I had all the fireworks. But, it was always a great memory, and I miss not getting to do that as much as we used to.”
Sam Hunt (Fourth of July) OC: …good time. :39
“My granddad on the other side of my family, he would always take a lot of pride…fireworks were actually, I’m from Georgia, and most of them were illegal, I’m pretty sure, growing up. But over in Alabama, that’s where all the firework stands were, and we only had to drive 10, 15 minutes to get to the Alabama line, so we could go get a bundle of fireworks pretty easy. But he would always take a lot of pride in going and finding all the good stuff, and coming back with a big pile. He’d have his torch out there at the end of the driveway and we’d all eat homemade ice cream and put down towels on the driveway and he’d shoot off fireworks for 30-45 minutes. Such a good time.”
“Hey! This is Alan Jackson, wishing you a happy and safe Fourth of July.”
“Hey guys! I’m Billy Currington, wishing you a Happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey y’all! I’m John, and I’m TJ, and we are Brothers Osborne, wish you a very Happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey! What’s up guys? I’m Canaan Smith, wishing you a safe and happy Fourth of July!”
“Hey! This is Clare Dunn, wishing you a very Happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey y’all, what’s up? This is Darius Rucker, wishing you a very, very happy Fourth of July!”
“Happy Birthday, America!”
Hey everybody! This is Dierks Bentley, wishing you a Happy and safe Fourth of July.
“Hey! This is Easton Corbin. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey this is Eric Church, wishing you a very happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey! This is Eric Paslay, wishing you a very happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey! This is Gary Allan. Happy Fourth of July.”
“Hi, it’s Jon Pardi, wishing you a happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey! I’m Jordan Davis, wishing you a happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey everybody, Keith Urban here, wanting to wish you all a fantastic and safe summer. Enjoy the sunshine. Hopefully, you’ll get to spend some time with the ones you love, and hopefully, we’ll also get to see you out on the road.”
“Hi! This is Charles, Hillary and Dave of Lady Antebellum, wishing you a happy and safe Fourth of July weekend.”
“Hey! It’s Lauren Alaina. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey! We’re Little Big Town. Happy Fourth of July!”
“Hey! This is Luke Bryan, wishing you a very happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey! This is Mickey Guyton, wishing you a Happy Fourth of July.”
“Hey everybody! This is Sam Hunt, wishing you a safe and happy Fourth of July.”
“Hi! It’s Toby Keith, wishing you a safe Fourth of July.”
Father’s Day is Sunday (June 18th), and we have liners with many of your favorite country stars! Check them out and download below.
“Hey everybody! I’m Billy Currington, wishing you a very Happy Father’s Day!”
“Hey! This is TJ, and I’m John, and we are Brothers Osborne, wishing all you fathers out there a very Happy Father’s Day.”
“Hey! What’s up, guys? I’m Canaan Smith. Happy Father’s Day, Pops!”
“Hey! What’s up? This is Clare Dunn, wishing you a Happy Father’s Day.”
“Hey! What’s up? This is Darius Rucker wishing you a Happy Father’s Day.”
“Hey! This is Easton Corbin. Happy Father’s Day!”
“Hey! This is Eric Church, wishing you a Happy Father’s Day.”
“Hey! This is Eric Paslay. To all you father’s out there, Happy Father’s Day!”
“Hey! This is Gary Allan, and I want to wish all the dads out there a Happy Father’s Day.”
“Jon Pardi here. Happy Father’s Day to all you father’s out there.”
“Hey y’all! This is Josh Turner, and I just want to wish all you father’s out there a Happy Father’s Day!”
“Hey! It’s Kacey Musgraves. Happy Father’s Day!”
“Hey everyone! It’s Keith Urban, wishing all you Dads out there a Happy Father’s Day.”
“What’s up all you Dads out there? It’s Lady Antebellum, and we just wanted to wish you all a good, Happy Father’s Day. Thanks for being great dads. Hope you get pampered and you don’t have to barbecue. And we hope you get some good ties this year.” [Hillary laughs]
“Hey! It’s Lauren Alaina. Happy Father’s Day!”
“Hi! This is Little Big Town, wishing all you father’s a Happy Father’s Day.”
“Hey! This is Sam Hunt. To all you fathers out there, Happy Father’s Day!”
“Hi! This is Shania Twain. Happy Father’s Day.”
“Hey everybody! It’s Vince, and I just wanted to wish you a Happy Father’s Day. Wish mine was still around.”