[Rating: 3.5 stars]
Easton Corbin has one of those rare, glorious voices that was made—just made—for singing country music. If only that voice had some better country music to sing.
On his self-titled debut album, Corbin guides his warm, smooth-as-gravy-southern drawl over a series of innocuous neo-traditional country songs that gives this notable emerging talent precious little with which to work. The 27 year-old Floridian breathes a bit of authenticity into the cliché at the heart of debut single “I’m A Little More Country Than That,” but elsewhere there’s nary a memorable hook or original turn of phrase to be found.
Producer Carson Chamberlain (former bandleader and steel player for Keith Whitley) keeps things sounding evenly-spaced and straightforwardly country, a fact which suits Corbin well–the singer has an easy-going vocal approach than shines in Chamberlain’s relaxed aesthetic. While the arrangements end up sounding a bit too comfortable and, perhaps, more dated than the producer intended (there’s essentially nothing here that would indicate Easton Corbin belongs to the current century), Corbin finds a laid-back groove that showcases his instrument and renders these mediocre tunes not only tolerable but genuinely enjoyable.
The songs are a bit of a letdown, to be sure, but there’s still something refreshing about the simplicity of the design; Corbin’s debut reminds us that a great country voice, given room to breathe, remains one of music’s most valuable treasures.