Easton Corbin – “A Little More Country Than That”
Songwriters: Rory Feek, Wynn Varble and Don Poythress
Forget Egypt’s Great Pyramids, India’s Taj Mahal or China’s Great Wall–Nashville has finally found its own contender for admission into the Seven Wonders of the World with a tune that successfully combines stereotypical life-in-the-country references to Hank songs, dirt roads and cane pole fishing in a likable, well-made song without groan-inducing symptoms of pandering.
With an uncanny resemblance to the vocals and charm of a young George Strait, newcomer Easton Corbin accomplishes that very feat with his first single “A Little More Country Than That” and delivers a homegrown message that is refreshingly straightforward.
What is country, exactly, other than hotly debated? Whatever it is, Corbin is a little more than that–and believably so. He touches on the expected pastoral pictures, but differentiates “A Little More Country Than That” (co-written by Rory Feek, of Joey + Rory fame) from similar tunes in two ways:
Organic phrases like “channel cat,” “chew the fat” and the chorus’ charming declaration ”I just want to make sure you know just who you’re getting under this old hat” separates it from generic efforts like Justin Moore’s “Small Town USA.” Additionally, unlike Jason Aldean’s rock mash up “She’s Country,” this single actually sounds like the lifestyle it’s portraying–in its best verse, about iconic country singers and sounds (“Think of a Hank song from days gone/With a steel ride that’s so strong it sends chills up your back/I’m a little more country than that”), it helps that those elemental influences are actually present in the song.
Corbin, who lists his influences on MySpace as “Jones, Whitley and Haggard,” worked with producer Carson Chamberlain, who started his career as Keith Whitley’s steel guitar player and bandleader, on his upcoming, unnamed album. The production choices ring accordingly, with a quiet, steel-heavy arrangement that stays out of the way of Corbin’s strong delivery and the song’s titular bravado.
However, some verses work better than others with the song’s lyrical conceit. Most glaringly, it leaps to an interesting conclusion that connects being country with being reliable, honest and trustworthy: “Yeah I’m sure that you’ve heard those three words from others but they fell flat/But this ring ain’t something that I mean to give you and then take back/I’m a little more country than that.” It’s an interesting assertion that comes off both charmingly matter-of-fact and dangerously alienating; with this line of thought, would the logical inverse conclusion be urban and untrustworthy?
“A Little More Country Than That” isn’t groundbreaking or soul-shaking, but it does share a similar laid-back quality to that of Alan Jackson, who has made a career out of seemingly simple songs that are tied to country roots and effectively paint vivid pictures in listeners’ heads. Although it repeatedly beats its listeners over the head with its title phrase, the more important thing to take away from this song is that with continued growth, Corbin has potential to become a welcome addition to country music’s short list of modern traditionally centered yet commercially successful entertainers.
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