Personnel: Biff Watson (acoustic guitar, banjo, bouzouki); J.T. Corenflos (electric guitar, resonator guitar); Brent Mason (electric guitar); Paul Franklin (steel guitar); Larry Franklin (fiddle); Gary Prim (piano, Hammond b-3 organ, Wurlitzer organ, keyboards); Eddie Bayers (drums); John Wesley Ryles, Russell Terrell (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: John Kelton.
Photographer: Kristin Barlowe.
Joe Nichols sang "Yeah" in 2014 and a year later Easton Corbin sings "Yup," an "aw shucks" sentiment that suits the Florida-born country singer. Corbin brings Nichols to mind elsewhere on About to Get Real, his third full-length album, since he has a similar supple baritone and is also a traditionalist slowly moving into softer territory. No matter what the album title implies -- "real" usually conveys grit, a quality conspicuously absent from these 12 songs -- About to Get Real is so smooth it sometimes suggests the glory days of Urban Cowboy, when modern country flirted heavily with the soft rock mainstream. This is as true of the lovely title track as it is with the tame twang of "Wild Women and Whiskey," a song that's as rowdy as it gets here, and that's still pretty mellow. Thing is, Corbin doesn't put on airs that he's anything other than a sweet, likeable guy, so this untrammeled pleasantness isn't a problem. Often, it's ingratiating, with the cool shimmer of Carson Chamberlain's production mirroring Corbin's light touch and the songs working as slow, steady growers, not grabbers. Combined, all of this shows nice workmanship. Compared with his two previous platters, About to Get Real is a bit slicker, but that gloss in no way diminishes Corbin's very real (and very mellow) charms. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine