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Easton Corbin shows, you don't get any more country than that

  • RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS Country singer Easton Corbin on stage at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe.
    RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS Country singer Easton Corbin on stage at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe.
Published June 03. 2011 05:19PM

Easton Corbin played a show at Penn's Peak last night and did something that's very difficult for a young performer.

He delivered a play list that kept attention during virtually the entire show.

Like on albums, most artists generally have a couple of songs which don't agree with everyone's taste - unless it's an album from traditionalists like George Strait, Alan Jackson, Bill Anderson, or the late Buck Owens.

Corbin is a young performer, with only three charted hits (all in the top 20 and two which hit number one), so hooking the crowd can be very difficult. Still, he accomplished this; not with cover tunes, either, but with with mostly his original songs which probably many in the audience of over 1,000 people hadn't previously heard.

It was obvious the crowd liked what he delivered during his nearly 1 1/2 hour performance.

Judging from the reaction he got, and from his song selection, he has a very promising future.

The biggest hit of his short career is "A Little More Country Than That." He didn't keep the crowd waiting, delivering it as the third song in his set.

When he did a cover song, he did it flawlessly, such as "It Must Be Love," hits for Don Williams and Alan Jackson, and "Put A Girl In It," a Brooks & Dunn classic.

Even the intro to Corbin was awesomely perfect for this type of music. It was the first few lines of Conway Twitty's song "Hello, Darlin'"

Backed by a five-piece band, the slender performer wore a button-down, long sleeve shirt that had the top three buttons open and faded blue jeans.

His band also was casually dressed with no frills.

For most of his songs, Corbin strummed a guitar, using a wide motion, like the wipers on a truck tractor.

He had steady dialogue with the crowd, about a third opting to stand in front of the stage rather than sitting.

He opened with "The Way It Looks" from his self-titled album which was released a year ago.

Besides "A Little More County," other hits - which he sang - are "Roll With It" and "I Can't Love You Back."

He did most of the songs from his self-titled album, including the touching "Someday When I'm Old," which is a tribute to the grandparents who raised him on their farm after his parents divorced.

Tyler Raskin of Wilkes-Barre remarked, "He's awesome. I hope he comes back. His shows are about his music. He has enough confidence to put his music first."

Opening for Corbin was Joanna Smith, a native of Georgia who is also a young artist.

Smith's style was much different from Corbin. It was more country-pop than Corbin's pure country.

Except for singing Elvis Presley's "Burning Love," Smith sang most songs she had written or were included on her album.

One lighter spot was when she sang "All My Girlfriends Are Getting Married," which was a take on George Strait's "All My Ex's Live In Texas."

Most of her songs were up-tempo, with one exception being a ballad, "Borrowed Wedding Dress."

She mentioned that she posts videos on the Internet and spent time in Jim Thorpe doing some filming yesterday.

Smith, a cute blonde, had a bubbly disposition. She wore a short black-and-gold dress with a black vest and black knee-hi boots.

She was backed by two musicians.

Up next at Penn's Peak is a concert by Chris Isaak, a rock singer and actor, on Sunday, June 12. His best-known song is "Wicked Game."

Tickets are still available either through Ticketmaster of the Penn's Peak box office.

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