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Imagine the roads of the tri-county area. Think about the folks you know. The small towns.
Set these images to music and you will find them floating through the notes of Easton Corbin’s title song on his new album, “I’m a Little More Country Than That.”
Those are the roots that run through the album, on the Mercury label, released on Tuesday.
For folks in the tri-county area, there can be some pride as Corbin’s roots run deep in the area.
But there is also some consternation as the 30 CDs allocated to Walmart in Chiefland were gone by 7 a.m. Corbin's family and friends were left calling stores in the Gainesville area to locate copies. And they learned many stores only had five to 10 copies each.
Corbin grew up in the tri-county area, belonged to the 4-H and FFA and showed animals at the Suwannee River Youth Livestock Fair and Show.
He spent time on his grandparents' cattle farm in Gilchrist County. His brother D.J. “Fonz” Macy is a K-9 officer at the Chiefland Police Department.
His father Dan Corbin, a former correctional officer at Cross City, talked on his cell phone Tuesday as Debbie Corbin answered the house phone that continuously rang bringing congratulations and well wishes.
“It's crazy. Everybody's been calling to say they can't even get it,” Dan Corbin said. “ They only had 30 go to Walmart and a lot of stores only got 5 and 10...
“I went to iTunes and downloaded it for use and pre-ordered the CD through Walmart and everybody's been calling because they can't get it and they're disappointed.”
Corbin had not heard from his son on Tuesday as the younger Corbin was doing public appearances tied to the album's release. So the father was spending time on the phone and the computer where he hunted down news snippets and reviews. “He's getting some great reviews.”
Corbin is a rising star on the country music circuit.
The piano-guitar interlude on “I Can’t Love You Back” is the perfect slow dancing, hug ‘em close as if you would lose ‘em tomorrow, ending to a love song. Dimes to dollars it will be the one played after last call at many a bar and lodge dance this weekend. “It's like a sunset, it leaves you wanting more of it,” the elder Corbin said of the song.
While the album cover looks like something that could have been shot at one of the many old homes in Gilchrist. Levy or Dixie counties, Corbin’s parents say the shoot was done in Kentucky.
“The Way Love Looks on You,” is a bit faster love song, but for everyone who has been smitten once again with someone they have spent many a day and night with it’s a familiar refrain. “Baby, I like the way love looks on you … lying on the pillow…sharing your deepest secrets…” Alan Jackson should be satisfied with Corbin's cover of his hit tune.
It’s no secret that this album should be a success. By 3 p.m. Tuesday iTunes had sold 500,000 copies. There will be a tour with Brad Paisley in May.
“It's working tremendously well for him — far beyond his expectations,” the elder Corbin said. “I'm elated that people have accepted him and embraced him.”
Corbin's dad said the family is planning a trip to Nashville later this month when Easton Corbin performs at the Grand Old Opry.
It should be a special night for the younger Corbin who told a journalist he remembers listening to the Opry with his grandparents.
One disappointment for the younger Corbin is that he will be unable to perform at this year's Spirit of the Suwannee River Jam — a showcase for music talent. Instead the singer will be performing on April 24 at the Stagecoach — California County Music Concert Festival in Indio, Calif.. On the stage with Keith Urban, Toby Keith, Brooks & Dunn ad Sugarland, will be Merle Haggard one of the singer's inspirations.
When he was growing up, young Corbin would listen to Merle Haggard's records, the elder Corbin said.
The elder Corbin said he and Easton Corbin's mom divorced when the singer was three years old. He was hunting for ways to spend more than the weekend visitation time with his son.
“I wanted us to spend some time together, so I spent time with him and tried to find something he was interested in,” the father said.
Dan Corbin was working at Cross City Correctional Institution in 1996 when he first took Easton to Pee Wee Melton for guitar lessons.
“It was a way to spend some time together. I'd pick him up from school and he would take a lesson,” Corbin said. “After the first week I didn't think he was interested. So I told him you don't need to be doing this just because I signed you up for it. He said Dad I'll try another week and he said you know I think I'll like this amd we just kept it going.”
“Every Wednesday I'd carry him over there.”
The Corbins were visiting a guitar store in Lake City when they learned that the Spirit of the Suwannee was having a guitar pickin' contest. A clerk at the store asked the younger Corbin if he could sing.
“He said I can sing but mostly to my grandmother,” the father said. “But he didn't take himself seriously at all. And he did win it.
“He won a guitar and he was elated. It was his first achievement and the first time anyone recognized him as somebody with talent.”
So what did the young guitarist do?
“He came home and did a lot of singing for his grandmother.”