When Easton Corbin cracked the charts in 2009, taking his first two singles to No. 1, his voice might have borne a slight resemblance for some listeners to a country music king, George Strait.
Corbin, though, has begun racking up his own string of hits with “A Little More Country Than That,” Roll with It” and “I Can’t Love You Back,” all from his debut, self-titled CD.
Speaking last month by phone from his tour bus in Raleigh, Corbin appreciated any reference to one his “biggest heroes” in music and talking about distinguishing himself in a field among several other young male voices such as Hunter Hayes, Jake Owen and Chris Young making their own mark in music.
“I do hear the comparisons to George Strait,” Corbin said. “It’s all part of growing and finding your own sound.”
The Florida native who grew up on his family’s cattle farm in Gilchrist County, west of Gainesville, said he also loved hearing Alan Jackson, George Jones and the late Keith Whitley, who all inspired him to “what I do -- and that’s traditional, middle-of-the-road country.”
“I love that sound,” Corbin said.
Keeping it ‘real’
He said when he thinks about his favorite singers, “and their lyrics and their melodies, it’s just so real.”
“You keep stuff real, and be true to what you do,” Corbin said. “People know if you’re not being real, trust me.”
During this conversation, “Lovin’ You Is Fun,” his latest single, which reached the Top 10 last week, played on a deskside radio. It’s the debut from his sophomore album, “All Over the Road,” which the Mercury Nashville label will release Tuesday.
Corbin said this project spanned about a year, with 11 songs, two of which he co-wrote: “This Feels A Lot Like Love” and the closer, “A Thing For You.”
“Any song you write is about a reflection of yourself,” he said, noting that the new CD “shows a little more growth, melodically and in things like that, but it’s still right down the country line.”
Happy to be part of Brad Paisley’s tour for various dates this summer, for added exposure, Corbin called the Carolinas crowds great. “We always have a good time up there.”
“We want to go everywhere,” he said, “as long as have fans.”
If any free time arises on tour, Corbin said he likes seeing the countryside on two wheels, on his Harley-Davidson, “burnin’ up the road.”
Corbin realizes the work necessary to perform concerts night after night some weeks and in making music videos, which alone bring “a long day,” but he keeps a positive outlook: “If you make it fun, it’ll be fun.”
Even since moving to Nashville, Tenn., to make music his career, football still scores the most points with Corbin through his alma mater.
“Go Florida Gators,” he said as the college season kicked off two weekends ago
Corbin said his family “has been in Florida since before the Civil War” and that so much of his homeland, away from the beaches, remains “very rural,” where agriculture reigns as the top business.
The 30-year-old also boasts a business degree from the University of Florida College of Agriculture.
“There are a lot of great artists who never get the chance to be heard,” Corbin said. “I thought it was a good idea to have something to fall back on. I’m hoping I don’t have to tap into it.”