Friday, July 31, 2009
– Easton Corbin released his first single, A Little More Country Than That,
The mid-tempo song by the Florida native was penned by Don Polythress, Rory Lee Feek & Wynn Varble. Feek is one-half of Joey + Rory. . "Even though I didn't write it, this song identifies who I am," Corbin said. "It shows character and that's important where I'm from. You learn to say 'yes, ma'am' and 'no, sir,' and to open the door for the ladies."
There was no word on when a full-length CD would be out.
Corbin has had an interest in music since he was a young kid. "One of my earliest memories is from when I was three or four," he said. "I was sitting between my parents in the car and a song came on the radio - it was Mel McDaniel's Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On. I began using the gearshift as my microphone. The desire has always been there."
Born and raised in rural Gilchrist County, Fla., Corbin spent much of his time on his grandparent's cattle farm after his parents divorced when he was young. "I lived a mile from the Suwannee River," he says. "I grew up fishing on it, and I loved to work on the farm. Every weekend, that's where I'd be."
While no one in his family played a musical instrument, music was a big part of his upbringing. "My grandparents liked to watch the Opry," Corbin said. "We'd start Saturday night off with 'Hee Haw' and then 'Opry Backstage' and then 'Opry Live'."
It was also at his grandparent's house that he discovered a record player and his father and aunts' left-behind records in a front room. "I'd go in there and play those records for hours," he says.
At 15, he took guitar lessons from Pee Wee Melton, a local musician who had at one time played on sessions in Nashville. "He was a great mentor," he said. 'He was a great player and a great teacher. He was a really big influence on me."
Encouraged by Melton, Corbin began playing lead guitar in a local band. "I'd always wanted to play and sing, but up until that time I never really did do it in public," he said. "We'd play school functions and parties. We were too young to play bars, but we played everything else."
An impromptu audition at a local music store led to a slot on the Suwannee River Jam, a nearby festival that attracts thousands of people and national touring acts. "It was just me and a guitar in front of a 40-acre field full of people," he recalled. "It was great."
After earning a business degree through the College of Agriculture at the University of Florida, Corbin took two important steps. "My wife, Brinn, and I got married on Sept. 2, 2006, and on Oct. 14 we moved to Nashville," he said. "I always knew I wanted to move up here. There was never any question about it. I didn't want to wake up one day and wish I would have tried it, but I had to get my education first so I had something to fall back on."
Corbin, who had been making regular trips to Nashville to perform at writer's nights, took a day job at a local Ace Hardware and his wife found a job at a doctor's office.
When a distant cousin, also a professor of music management at the University of Montana, heard Corbin's music, he asked if he could send it to some of his Nashville contacts. Among those who were impressed by Easton's music was booking agent James Yelich, saw him play live.
Also at the meeting was Joe Fisher, who had recently joined Universal Music Group Nashville as Senior Director of A&R. Fisher quickly signed him to the label.
Corbin, whose musical influences include George Jones, Merle Haggard, George Strait and Keith Whitley, found a kindred spirit in producer Carson Chamberlain, who years earlier had toured with Whitley as his steel guitar player and bandleader. "We really hit it off," Corbin said. "I love traditional music, and he does too. I knew he was the producer for me."
"We worked our butts off trying to find the right songs," Easton said.
Corbin co-wrote three songs with Mark Sanders and Chamberlain during a trip to Colorado. "When I came to Nashville I realized how important it was to write songs. The opportunity to sit in a room with experienced songwriters and learn their craft has helped me become a better writer."
"I'm still working and developing as a writer, but I was fortunate enough to get some songs on the album," he said.