Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Keystone Light for Easton Corbin

Unfortunately, I can't find a banner for this week's Beer of the Week, and since we haven't handed out a brew in a while, I figured we better get back to it ASAP. Well today (I know, I know, it's a day earlier) we honor Easton Corbin, one of country music's most highly anticipated young stars. A few months ago Corbin released the first single from his debut album Easton Corbin, "A Little More Country Than That." Right away, one glaring comparison stood out -- this kid sounds almost identical to a young George Strait. I mean, it's scary. Close your eyes and listen to one of his tracks, and I bet you won't be able to tell the difference. Maybe Strait has a little more weight in his voice after years of singing, but Corbin matches the country legend's tonality almost perfectly. And it's not like we see George Strait impersonators popping up all over the place. There's a reason this guy is one of the most successful country artists of all time, and while part of it is due to his true cowboy persona, a lot of it can be attributed to the unique sound Strait has adhered to for years -- a no frills, straight up, Texas-style country song.

To get a sense of Corbin's talent just listen to his two hit singles -- "A Little More Country Than That" and "Roll With It." Corbin saw "A Little more Country" rise all the way to #1 on the charts -- an unexpected, but nonetheless, welcome success for the newcomer. The song seeks to establish Corbin in the George Strait mold -- a true cowboy from the backwoods. The song is produced to reflect the lyrical message -- it's relatively basic, not extraordinarily vocally challenging, and allows Corbin to make the song his own. Strait didn't make it big on the power of his vocal runs, he made it because the music he was making was true country, plain and simple. And that's exactly where Corbin succeeds on this track.

His follow-up single, "Roll With It," is a little more up-beat than his previous hit, and arrives just in time for summer when most artists are releasing more light-hearted cuts. It's a catchy song, lacking any deep message, that invokes the positive images of summertime and young love -- a tell-tale warm-weather country song. "Roll With It" is also not very complex, but with Corbin's delivery and Straitesque persona, it doesn't have to be. His future success will be determined by how closely he can stay true to this format, and how, perhaps, he can make it his own.

Coming soon -- a review of Alan Jackson's highly anticipated new album Freight Train!

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