Gilchrist County native Easton Corbin has shunned the contemporary country trend toward pop and arena rock, winning fans over with neo-traditionalist tunes like his current smash "Lovin' You is Fun."
It's a wonderfully basic celebration of romance. A peppy melody kissed with steel guitar and honky tonk piano. The kind of song that will surely elicit a big, smiley sing along when Corbin performs the ditty Saturday during the debut of the DeSoto Music Fest at the Manatee County Fairgrounds.
"I love when the crowd gets in and starts singing," Corbin said during a recent phone interview. "It's very flattering."
The great Nashville songwriter Bob DiPiero, whose credits include the George Strait hits "Clear Blue Sky" and "Cowboys Like Us," co-wrote "Lovin' You Is Fun."
Listening, it's easy to imagine the song being sung by King George.
Since he broke on the scene in 2009, Corbin has been regularly compared to the traditionalist titan.
"I'm honored to be mentioned with him," Corbin said. "But nobody will ever replace George Strait."
Corbin made his love of all things old school with his 2009 debut single "A Little More Country Than That." A lovely laid-back number with a warm, timeless sound, it finds Corbin singing about the joys of fishing, old hounds and Hank Williams Sr.
"That song gave people a window to who I am," the 30-year-old bachelor said. "It was a great introduction."
The singer's next single will be the title track to his second effort "All Over the Road," which came out in September and reached No. 11 on the pop chart and No. 2 on Billboard's Country Albums survey.
Corbin's eponymous debut album performed equally well, producing the No. 1 hits "A Little More Country Than That" and "Roll with It" as well as "Can't Love You Back." "Lovin' You Is Fun" remains one of the most popular songs on country radio nearly a year after its release.
Yes, on this Thanksgiving Day the rural Florida native has plenty to be thankful for as he sits down in Gilchrist and enjoys favorites like his grandma's corn bread dressing.
"I'm most thankful for my family and the special people in my life that makes what I do a pleasure," Corbin said. "The simple things is what makes life the best, and of course I'm thankful for my career."
Details: 11 a.m. 10 p.m., Nov. 24, Manatee County Fairgrounds, 1402 14th Ave. W., Palmetto. Tickets: $29.99 (general admission); $100 (VIP: first five rows includes food and drinks); children 10 and younger are free. Information: 941-747-1998 or www.desotomusicfest.com
Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7057. Follow Twitter.com/wtatangelo.