With a traditional-leaning sound somewhere between George Strait and George Jones, 30-year-old Easton Corbin began carving out a place for himself in the modern country landscape when his first two singles hit No 1. Easton was the first solo male country artist in 17 years to accomplish such a feat, and the songs, “A Little More Country Than That” and “Roll With It,” helped the young singer/songwriter breakthrough with his 2010 self-titled debut. Now on his sophomore follow-up, All Over Road, hitting stores September 18, Easton’s building on that success as he takes a significant step toward developing his sound.
Easton’s smooth, laid back delivery and clean production brought favorable comparisons to Strait when he released his debut. Working again with producer Carson Chamberlain, All Over The Road holds onto those 1990s neo-traditionalist traits as songs like the sweet “A Thing For You” and “Dance Real Slow” recall greats like Alan Jackson and Clint Black. Classic sounds full of acoustic notes, telecaster tones, steel guitar and fiddle fill the tracks around Easton’s voice. However, as heard in “Dance Real Slow,” Easton is willing to take more chances this time around.
“Dance Real Slow,” which carries the excitement and anticipation of walking hand-in-hand to the middle of the room, uses quickening lyrics through the verse to lead directly into a left turn at the chorus. Easton and the band slow it way down here as time seemingly stands still during that special slow dance. On the stunning “Are You With Me,” Easton pushes himself into uncharted territory on a song unlike anything he’s ever done. Pulsing bass, minor keys and reverb-filled guitar create a wide-open landscape for Easton’s introspective and vulnerable lyrics. I want to love so hard it could rip my heart out, he sings with gripping visuals.
Easton sounds more confident on this project, and he consistently shows off a great feel for a song’s unique rhythm. The title track “All Over the Road” uses a chorus full of precise and engaging timing while singing about a girl who has his full attention. The current Top 10 hit “Lovin’ You Is Fun,” which develops from an infectious swing, demonstrates Easton’s growth as a singer as he consistently emphasizes the second and fourth beats. Love don’t have to be a bunch of drama / Bunch of knock-down, drag-outs cryin’ in the rain, he sings tightly with the band before adding with a smile, It’s alright to keep it light now mama / Don’t you think? Easton’s continued growth as a vocalist really works to give the record new dynamics.
An eye for detail provides a personal touch to the record. The nostalgic “Hearts Drawn In The Sand” details vivid memories of boardwalks and seaside towns that disappear at the end of summer like hearts in the sand when the tide rolls in. On the mid-tempo “That’s Gonna Leave A Memory,” Easton himself notices the details singing, If you’re gonna go and tell me goodbye / Why you gotta go and wear your jeans so tight? It’s these sort of relatable details that really connect with the listener. Even “Tulsa Texas,” an everyman’s rodeo song, comes across brilliantly with lines like, I’m gonna saddle up my Chevy, ride off into the setting sun.
Easton challenges himself on All Over The Road, pushing himself to continue growing as a vocalist and an artist. Rooted in traditional country, Easton successfully expands his own sound with a dynamic collection that offers an impressive glimpse at where this road might be headed.
Key Tracks – “Lovin’ You Is Fun,” “Are You With Me,” “Tulsa Texas,” “Hearts Drawn In The Sand”