Personnel: Biff Watson (acoustic guitar); James Mitchell, Brent Mason (electric guitar); Paul Franklin (steel guitar); Larry Franklin (fiddle); Gary Prim (piano, Wurlitzer organ, keyboards); Eddie Bayers (drums); John Wesley Ryles (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: John Kelton.
Recording information: Sound Stage Studios, Nashville, TN; The Sound Kitchen, Franklin, TN.
Photographer: Jim Wright.
Many country singers want you to believe that they're hell-raising cowboys bent for whiskey and wild times come Friday night, but Easton Corbin is clearly not one of them. Or at least he isn't on his second album, 2012's All Over the Road; while Corbin sounded like he had the makings of a modern-day honky tonk hero on his self-titled debut, here he comes off like the nicest guy in Nashville, well-mannered and well-meaning throughout. If Corbin has a vice, it's women, since every song on the album has him singing about some girl who gets him so excited he can hardly drive (the title tune), looks too pretty to break up with ("That's Gonna Leave a Memory"), broke his heart after a summer romance ("Hearts Drawn in the Sand"), or stays stuck in his mind even after she dumped him ("Only a Girl"). Despite it all, Corbin is no Lothario, and the bitterest he gets is refusing to tell his ex how she can get in touch with him ("Tulsa, Texas"). All Over the Road sounds slicker and more streamlined than Corbin's debut, and while this plays a bit more like traditional country than the typical Nash-Vegas act, producer Carson Chamberlain was clearly aiming for something more radio-friendly for this album, and that's just what he got. But despite the added polish, Corbin has a solid voice and a genuinely likable personality, and though a lot of these tunes would have sounded annoyingly sugary in the wrong hands, he brings a Regular Guy tone to this music that's just what they need (and it's worth noting that the two simplest and most heartfelt songs on this set, "A Thing for You" and "This Feels a Lot Like Love," are the ones Corbin wrote himself). If you're looking for music that will fire up the honky tonk all night long, All Over the Road sure isn't it, but if you want to dance close with your baby after a few beers on a Saturday night, Easton Corbin's the man to see, and he's good enough that the guys dragged out onto the floor might like him in spite of themselves. ~ Mark Deming