Chart-topping country star Easton Corbin, who is scheduled to perform Friday at the Georgia Throwdown, says he is living his boyhood dreams.
ALBANY — In an era when much of what passes for country music is little more than pre-packaged rock and pop lite, with a dash or two of fiddle thrown into the mix, north Florida native Easton Corbin is the real deal.
He has a voice made for breaking hearts, the all-American good looks of someone who doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty and — even after head-spinning success during his stunningly meteoric rise in Nashville — the aww-shucks demeanor of someone who hasn’t strayed far from his roots.
And while young girls wilt when Corbin opens his mouth to sing, when he talks it’s with the deep-South drawl he picked up in Gilchrist County.
“I’m just a country boy living a dream,” Corbin said in an exclusive phone interview with The Herald. “I’ve been singing all my life in a very musical family, and no matter what direction this takes me in, I will always know who I am.
“I’m still that guy in the cowboy hat and boots.”
Corbin, whose current single “Lovin’ You Is Fun” is climbing the country music charts, will entertain Southwest Georgians Friday on the Flintco Throwdown Stage at the Georgia Throwdown music festival.
Those fans are accustomed to seeing Corbin along the upper reaches of the country charts. He became the first artist in 17 years to have his first two singles reach No. 1, and influential Billboard magazine recognized him as the Top New Country Artist of 2010.
His chart-toppers — “A Little More Country Than That” and “Roll With It” — helped Corbin land in the top 10 among Billboard’s top country male singers of 2010, sandwiched between a couple of guys named Blake Shelton and Tim McGraw.
And it’s Corbin’s old-school Keith Whitley-like voice that has “Lovin’ You Is Fun” and Corbin’s new album “All Over the Road” among the most talked-about new music on the country charts.
“The music I sing is more like the stuff I grew up on,” the singer noted. “My grandad used to love Roy Acuff, and my grandma loved Bill Monroe. So I’ve got that background and people like George Jones, Hank Sr. and Keith Whitley that I’ve always listened to and looked up to.
“The thing about country is there are a lot of different styles in the genre. And while some of them may not be for me, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. When a different style brings fans to the genre, some of them might connect with me.”
Corbin said he doesn’t get back to Gilchrist County as much as he’d like, but he enjoys bringing his music to fans like those who will be at the Throwdown.
“I love shows like that, shows where there are a lot of fans,” he said. “It’s very humbling when you realize those people are paying their hard-earned money to hear you sing. I look at it as an honor.
“I’m not going to lie; getting to this point in my career was hard-earned. But, man, I’m one of the lucky ones who’s getting to live his dream.”
It’s a dream Throwdown fans no doubt look forward to sharing.