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At 5:15 on Wednesday evening, a line of anxious fans wrapped around the corner of Campbell Avenue and Jefferson Street waiting to get into Sidewinders Steakhouse & Saloon. Parked just in front of the restaurant’s entrance was a luxury tour bus with a “Roll With It” sticker in the front windshield.
Easton Corbin, who has taken the country music world by storm since releasing his first single, “A Little More Country Than That,” in 2009, followed by his self-titled debut album, performed to a sold-out crowd at the popular downtown venue. Born in Florida, Easton moved to Nashville after graduating college to pursue a career in country music. In the last six years, he has produced two albums, including two number-one singles and three top-fifteen singles. He has toured with such luminaries as Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, and The Band Perry, and in 2010 Billboard named him the Top New Country Artist.
I caught up with Easton before his Sidewinders performance to talk about the tour, his upcoming album, and his incredible success. Instead of a full band, Wednesday’s show featured only acoustic instruments—Easton on guitar, a second acoustic guitar, a fiddle, a bass, and drums—giving the performance a more intimate quality. “I like to see what kind of audience I have and adjust the show that way,” Easton said. “It’s a different sound with about half the guys I usually play with.”
Having performed alongside some country music greats, Easton admitted that he still looks up to the classics, Merle Haggard, George Jones, and George Strait. “I saw George Strait in concert, and it was just him and his guitar. It was awesome."
During the show, Easton performed a mixed bag of songs, including, of course, one of his most popular hits, “Lovin’ You Is Fun,” and his newest single, “Baby Be My Love Song.” It was standing room only as soon as he hit the stage, but the overwhelming crowd didn’t faze the seasoned superstar, who tossed multiple guitar picks to the audience and took selfies for fans before closing the show.
What can we expect from the upcoming album? “It’s natural as artists to grow over the years,” he said. “What you experience changes, and the music follows.” I predict a more mature song list, though still infused with Easton’s admiration for classic country music and Southern charm.
Easton Corbin: a true, Southern gentleman with great humor and authentic talent.