Album Review

Easton Corbin, ‘Easton Corbin’

March 1, 2010

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Mercury Nashville
ESSENTIAL “Someday When I’m Old’’

This is the sort of record that challenges those who claim there’s no longer any “real country’’ to be found in modern mainstream country music. It’s also an album that brings to mind someone who’s spent the past 30 years keeping the country in mainstream country, because it sounds like nothing so much as a well-executed George Strait record - with a dash of Alan Jackson (“The Way Love Looks,’’ “A Lot to Learn About Livin’ ’’) thrown in for good measure. That’s not a bad thing. Easton Corbin’s expressive voice, especially with its hint of rasp when he reaches for emotion, is inescapably evocative of Strait’s. The songs are strong, and the music is an engaging mix of smooth, midtempo honky-tonk dolloped with swing and pop. The ballads (“Lonely Town’’), in particular, capture the melancholy so typical of Strait. All of that makes for a solid debut, and it’s more than enough to manifest Corbin’s potential. But since the world already has a George Strait, it also raises the question whether, next time out, Corbin will capitalize on that potential and begin to become his own man. (Out tomorrow) -- STUART MUNRO