Song Review: “Leavin’ a Lonely Town” by Easton Corbin
Songwriters: 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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- luckyoldsun: I made it through a minute of that "Girl In a Country Song Video." Man, that sucks.