Song Review: “Leavin’ a Lonely Town” by Easton Corbin

Karlie Justus Marlowe | April 12th, 2010

easton-corbin-leavin-a-lonely-townSongwriters: Carson Chamberlain, Easton Corbin and Mark D. Sanders.

Before video killed the radio star and scoring a spot on the CMT Top 20 Countdown landed on every artist’s to-do list, music consumers had to rely solely on the strength of lyrical imagery to bring a tune’s storyline to life in their heads.

Easton Corbin’s “Leavin’ a Lonely Town” would have survived and thrived pre-MTV, thanks in no small part to a masterful set-up that instantly injects listeners into a restless, small-town setting with simple, direct descriptions and nary a mention of spit cups, cowboy boots or mechanical bulls. The song may sequentially appear last on Corbin’s self-titled debut, but it ranks as the strongest of the bunch.

Like the spot-on openings of Alan Jackson’s “Monday Morning Church” and Trent Tomlinson’s “Angels Like Her,” Corbin uses the first few lyrical lines to launch the song into motion: “Mama’s standin’ at the old screen door/With a dish rag in her hand/Cryin’ like I never seen her cry before/Like she don’t understand why/I’m leavin’ a lonely town.” He continues the comfortable, lifelike character sketches of mama and daddy sans cliché or hyperbole.

The tune isn’t, however, a riff on Hal Ketchum’s “Small Town Saturday Night” or a rebuff of Justin Moore’s “Small Town USA.” By the ending verse, the newly nomadic man can’t help but take one last nostalgic look at why–or, more specifically, who–he’s leaving. The protagonist can describe these scenes so well because he’s lived them all his life, making the exodus from everything and everyone he’s always known even harder.

Written on a Colorado retreat with songwriting veterans Carson Chamberlain and Mark D. Sanders, the song is at once substantial and catchy, with a low-key production centered around the same “…steel ride that’s so strong/It sends chills up your back” Corbin name checks in current hit “I’m a Little More Country Than That.”

As one part rural escape plan and two parts bittersweet goodbye, “Leavin’ a Lonely Town” adds up to be a memorable standout for the country newcomer and an early contender for one of the top songs of the year.

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  1. Steve M.
    April 12, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Are we not doing the thumbs up or down anymore?

  2. grumpyoldman
    April 12, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    “an early contender for one of the top songs of the year”
    nuff said.

  3. Stephen H.
    April 12, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    I also assume that the site’s not going to be doing many “song reviews” (rather than “single reviews”) of songs that the reviewers don’t like.

  4. Lee S.
    April 12, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    So, did they pull “Roll with It” to make this the next single, or what? Or are we just having a giant 9513 lovefest for Easton Corbin?

    Eh, either way, there’s worse artists to harp on, and the song’s fantastic.

  5. Jim Malec
    April 12, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    We’ve opened up (per MANY reader requests) the ability for writers to contribute song reviews (as opposed to just single reviews).

    The purpose of song reviews is to highlight noteworthy (in one way or another) music. You may be right in assuming that a majority of these will be songs that we like a lot and are thus deserving of some text, but we may also choose to highlight songs that really rub us the wrong way.

    What I don’t think you will see in a song review is negative commentary on a mediocre album cut that is unlikely to be released as a single.

    I hope this answers your questions.

  6. Libby
    April 12, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks for giving this a try. It may not get as many hits/responses as a thumbs down review, but I think in the long run pointing people in the direction of what the writers consider good music is a good thing.

    As for the song, I’ll need to hear more than a clip, but I will look for it. I like his overall sound okay, but his singles didn’t interest me enough to take the time to look further.

  7. Libby
    April 12, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    I guess I should have found/listened to it before I posted. I find it very repetitious. There are some good lines, just not enough of them.

    The song can be listened to here:

  8. Jon
    April 12, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    I like the song all right as far as that goes, but I can see what Libba’s saying about it. Some combination of the writing and arranging makes it seem kind of odd. Does it not have a chorus, or does the chorus consist of repeating the title line four times? And the record’s effectively over about a minute before it actually ends; I guess they wanted it to go out on a groove, but the groove isn’t that compelling to justify the dragging out. I liked the hit, and I liked the other stuff I heard on his old myspace page; I haven’t listened to the new album yet, so I’m hoping that this is not really one of the standouts on it. In my opinion, that wouldn’t be a good sign.

  9. Leeann Ward
    April 12, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    I think it is one of the standouts on the album, but I wasn’t overly wild about the album in the first place. Your points about the song are good. Over all, while there was nothing offensive about the album, I think it was pretty unremarkable.

  10. Leeann Ward
    April 12, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    My comment was directed to Jon, btw.

  11. crazybaby
    April 12, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Very nice review. I like this song a lot, and make sure I listen to it every time I turn on Easton’s music. It is simple, without being boring, IMO.

  12. Scooter
    April 12, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    I really like the song. The rest of the album- not so much.

  13. Steve Harvey
    April 12, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    I have to agree with Leeann here. It’s a nice record. It’s not a great record.

  14. Drew
    April 12, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Song of the year? Not going to go that far. I actually wouldn’t even say its one of the top 3 tracks on the album. Just doesn’t really say much in the song.

  15. Rick
    April 12, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    I applaud the idea of song reviews, but I would like to see a rating on a five star scale. I pay more attention to music that receives a four star or higher rating after being programmed by Chris N. when he was still at Country Weekly! (lol)

    These song reviews might motivate me to purchase the song as a download single off albums that don’t hold much interest for me overall.

    Can we make suggestions? How about “Always Asking For You” off of Peter Wolf’s new “Midnight Souvenirs” album? I listened to the snippets of all the tracks at Amazon and that one stands out like an Obamavoter agent provocateur at a Tea Party Rally! (They are easy to spot because they are beating up the other people, stirring up trouble, or carrying outrageously offensive signs! Sheesh!)

  16. Trent
    April 12, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Surprised no one has mentioned this yet but… Josh Moore? It’s JUSTIN Moore.

  17. WAYNOE
    April 13, 2010 at 8:33 am


    I care nothing for how a song is rated. My motivation are my own ears which are just as qualified to judge good music as anyone else.

  18. Rick
    April 13, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Waynoe, I don’t always listen to the songs reviewed here depending on the artist, but a high rating might motivate me to listen when otherwise I wouldn’t.

    The 9513 can do a real service by featuring song reviews of what they consider the most outstanding songs on new releases (if there are any that is). Even listing their top two or three song picks in their monthly capsule album review summaries would help. I’d be more likely to go to Amazon and give them a listen to consider making a purchase.

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