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’s new single, which was written by Ashley Gorley, Jesse Frasure and Rhett Akins, has a new energy and sound that the singer says “makes you feel good.”
“I love ‘A Girl Like You,’ because it has so much energy and it’s so young and it kind of has that bounce on it. It just really makes you feel good when you hear it. I know when I first heard it, it made me really feel good,” says Easton. “Also, what drew me to this song was, it’s a little different than anything I’ve done. I’m all about going up there and trying new things, as long as I can always kinda keep my traditional country there, but also the current sound. I think that’s the key here is to keep your foot in traditional, which is what I do, but also have that element of fresh and new.”
Easton will play “A Girl Like You” when he stops in Columbus, Ohio February 10th.
Easton Corbin (A Girl Like You) OC: …fresh and new. :35
“I love ‘A Girl Like You,’ because it has so much energy and it’s so young and it kind of has that bounce on it. It just really makes you feel good when you hear it. I know when I first heard it, it made me really feel good. Also, what drew me to this song was, it’s a little different than anything I’ve done. I’m all about going up there and trying new things, as long as I can always kinda keep my traditional country there, but also the current sound. I think that’s the key here is to keep your foot in traditional, which is what I do, but also have that element of fresh and new.”
This Sunday (February 5th), millions of people around the world will be tuning in to Super Bowl 51 (the Big Game), including some of your favorite country artists. Some will be rooting for the Atlanta Falcons, while others will be pulling for the New England Patriots to win the Big Game. Billy Currington, Canaan Smith, Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum, Easton Corbin, Keith Urban, Lauren Alaina and Little Big Town are definitely fans of football…as is Luke Bryan, who is set to perform the National Anthem at the Big Game at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on Sunday (February 5th) at 6:30pm ET on FOX.
Just before the game, Lady A will take part in the official pre-game party at the NRG Center, while Sam Hunt, a former University of Alabama Birmingham quarterback, headlines a rather cool venue – Club Nomadic, a collapsible traveling nightclub – on Thursday (Feb. 2nd).
Billy Currington (football fan) OC: …love football. :36
“I’m a big football fan. I mean, when I was growing up, if you asked me who my favorite team is now, I couldn’t tell you. But when I was a kid, it was the Dallas Cowboys. And I don’t know if it was because my mom bought my brother a Pittsburgh Steelers pennant for some reason, and bought me a Dallas Cowboys pennant, and of course over the year I fell in love with the Cowboys, and then I wanted a jersey the next Christmas, and then the next one, I wanted [more Cowboys stuff]. So, I became a long-term fan with those guys. But I like it all now that I’m older. I’ll watch any game, it doesn’t matter who’s playing. But [I] love football.”
Canaan Smith (Super Bowl) OC: …It’s cool. :21
“Super Bowl’s all about pizza and commercials. You gotta sit down, you gotta drink your beer, get a little buzz. It’s pepperoni and banana peppers for me and my family. We sit down, we have a a good time, we have friends over. We have a nice TV, plenty of space. We have a good time. Usually, when it’s all said and done, we have a little dance party afterwards too. It’s cool.”
Darius Rucker (football) OC: …football season. :20
“Ever since I was five years old, I’ve loved football, and I love how physical it is. I love the chess match of the game. I love the speed of the game. I love college football, but for me watching pro football is better because the speed is so much more. For me, there’s two times a year, man — football season and waiting for football season.”
Easton Corbin (football) OC: …that’s on. :07
“That’s all that’s on the bus on the weekends. That’s it, and we’ve got three TVs on the bus, so that’s all that’s on.”
Keith (Nicole and football) OC: …new to me. :04
“She’s a big NFL fan, and she sort of turned me on to it.”
Lady A (tailgate food) OC: (Charles) …football watching. :21
HILLARY: “Honestly, chips and salsa, salsa or cheese dip or something. That’s like what I always go for. I could eat that every meal. No joke.” DAVE: “Best tailgate food is a big ole burger soaked in Dale’s sauce. That’s all you need.” HILLARY: “Or bratwurst. I forgot that. Those are good.” CHARLES: “Cold beer! A couple of little finger foods, but without cold beer, it’s not football watching.”
Lauren Alaina (Super Bowl) OC: …I love it. :30
“My dad raised me to love football, so I think it’s like kind of in my blood to be obsessed with it. I feel like the guys are so passionate and they try so hard. Those people love playing that game as much as I love singing. I just love the heart and the drive and the passion behind it. I feel like those boys are playing as hard as they can – in college football and pro football – because it’s what they love to do and it’s their passion, and I just, I don’t know. I love it.”
Lauren Alaina (Super Bowl foods she wishes she could eat) OC: …with cheese? (laughs) :30
“Gosh, let’s see cheese dip. I would really like some cheese dip in my life again. Um, I’m a big fan of wings and hot dogs and pizza and cheesecake and poppers and cheese sticks and cheese, anything that has to do with cheese. Did you realize everything I named besides the wings, which you dip in blue cheese, had to do with cheese?” (laughs)
LBT (Super Bowl 2017) OC: …be great. :27
KAREN: “Dirty Birds.” JIMI: “Dirty Birds.” KAREN: “You’ve got two Georgia girls right here, so we’re going Dirty Birds.” KIMBERLY: “For sure.” PHILLIP: “Well, I don’t really have a dog in the hunt…(KAREN: “Yes, you do!”) …I’m gonna go for my girls and one of Jimi’s favorite players, Julio Jones, a former Alabama Crimson Tide player (JIMI: “Beast!”). He’s gonna be catching the passes and the TDs, baby.” JIMI: “I’m excited, man. They’ve been threatening to be here for the past few years, and they’ve finally made it. It’s gonna be great.”
LBT (football story) OC: …my lip. :40
“I was the quarterback to my powder puff team. I was running the ball and I came around the corner – this was in high school – and a foreign exchange student, I think her name was Inga (KIMBERLY: “Inga.”), and I didn’t want to fumble ‘cause my brother and my dad were there, and I come from this very athletic family, so I held onto the ball. I knew I was going to go down, so I let my head hit first and I bit all the way through, but I didn’t fumble and I had a hole in my face, though. The sad thing is that it was just flag football, but I left my flags on and cleats and everything, ‘cause it looked cool, and I had blood running all down my jersey. I went to the emergency room like that, and they sewed up my lip.”
LBT (SB foods) OC: (KIMBERLY) …oh good! :10
KIMBERLY: “It’s a chili day.” KAREN: “We need Super Bowl recipes from ‘Oh Gussie!’” PHILLIP: “[My wife] Becky learned to make fried shrimp from Luke Bryan, so I think we’re gonna have some fried shrimps.” KIMBERLY: “Oh good!”
Easton Corbin releases his new single, “A Girl Like You,” to all country radio partners on Monday, January 30. “A Girl Like You” is the first single from his upcoming fourth album and was written by Ashley Gorley (2016 NSAI and ASCAP Songwriter of the Year), Jesse Frasure and Rhett Akins. Corbin recruited Gorley and Wade Kirby to produce “A Girl Like You.”
Corbin’s last album About To Get Real was a No. 1 selling album that included his emotional “Are You With Me” and his Top 5 hit “Baby Be My Love Song” and was the followup to his first two successful albums which included his now signature No. 1 hits “A Little More Country Than That” and “Roll With It” as well as the Top 5 hits “Lovin’ You Is Fun” and “All Over The Road.”
About Easton Corbin:
With two No. 1 singles, multiple awards and nominations, plus performances on some of the biggest stages in the world, Mercury Nashville’s Easton Corbin has made a lasting impression on the country music landscape. He is lauded for his traditional country sound, authentic lyrics and mastery of understatement. American Songwriter says, “Easton Corbin has one of those rare, glorious voices that was made—just made—for singing country music.” His self-titled debut album released in 2010 and spawned back-to-back hits “A Little More Country Than That” and “Roll With It;” making him the first country male artist in 17 years to have his first two consecutive singles reach No. 1. In 2012 the Gilchrist County Florida native released his sophomore album, All Over The Road, which included the Top 5 hits “Lovin’ You Is Fun” and “All Over The Road.” Corbin set a career-best debut on Country Airplay with his top 5 hit single, “Baby Be My Love Song,” from his No. 1 debuting album About To Get Real. His latest single, “Are You With Me,” was most added song at country radio the day it was released. “Are You With Me” first appeared on All Over The Road and was such a special song to Corbin he carried it over to About To Get Real in hopes it would be a radio single. Corbin spent 2016 on one of the biggest tours in country music -Carrie Underwood’s The Storyteller Tour. Corbin is currently in the studio working on new music for his fourth studio album.
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For more information on Easton Corbin go www.EastonCorbin.com