Extended Play, Country Edition: Danny Gokey, Blake Shelton, Easton Corbin

Danny-GokeyImage Credit: Frederick Breedon/Getty ImagesWelcome to a special all-country edition of Extended Play, the occasional feature here on the Music Mix where we rescue reviews that wouldn’t fit in the magazine, and release them back into the wild. It’s like a wildlife safari, but on the internet. And with record reviews instead of giraffes. Also, you don’t have to ride in a jeep to enjoy it. It’s really not like a safari at all.

This week: Danny Gokey, My Best Days; Blake Shelton, Hillbilly Bone; Easton Corbin, Easton Corbin.

Danny Gokey
My Best Days
Country (19/RCA Nashville)

“Nobody wants to be a nobody,” sings Danny Gokey on his post-Idol debut, and that hunger for attention no doubt explains why the growly gospel guy submits to a mall-country makeover here. Yet if My Best Days feels a little impersonal, it’s also stocked with crafty contributions from some of Nashville’s most dependable song doctors, including the guys of Lady Antebellum, whose “It’s Only” mines a dreamy melancholy well suited to Gokey’s rough-honey vocals. Another highlight: “I Still Believe,” a chewy bit of cheeseball inspiration by Idol judge Kara DioGuardi. B-Mikael Wood
Download These: piano-laced ballad “It’s Only”; hard-grooving “Be Somebody”

Blake Shelton
Hillbilly Bone
Country (Warner Bros)

Blake Shelton’s ridiculously inappropriate Twitter persona has apparently liberated him from all aspects of the Nashville behavior model. Though he may play the buffoonish hick online (recent sample tweet: “Am I famous enough to sell this tooth I just spit out?”), the choice to buck traditional album cycles with this solid if unspectacular six-song EP is straight-up market savvy. Tragic but true: Country radio just wants singles. Why fuss with all the filler? BWhitney Pastorek
Download These: ballad for a blackout drunk “You’ll Always Be Beautiful”; so over-the-top-you’ll-pray-it’s-satirical redneck anthem “Kiss My Country Ass”

Easton Corbin
Easton Corbin
Country (Mercury Nashville)

First three thoughts upon listening to Corbin’s debut: 1) He sounds like George Strait. 2) He is singing old-school songs, full of wit and heart. 3) It sounds effortless. Ignore the fact that someone decided to lead with “A Little More Country Than That,” the latest in a too-long line of singles asserting the down-home legitimacy of their respective artists. Dig deeper for gems like “This Far From Memphis” (as in “I didn’t know the blues ever got”), then sit back and remember why you fell in love with country music in the first place. B+W.P.
Download These: classic two-stepper “The Way Love Looks”; the creative heartbreak of “This Far From Memphis”

Comments (36 total) Add your comment
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  • skiiboski

    Ahhh, Gokey. I miss those “put the Go in Gokey” days.

  • Miss P.

    I will pass on Gokey.

  • MultiPass

    Whitney, is it not telling you didn’t review the Gokey album yourself on your own article? Well played, Our Blessed Sarcasma!

  • Bets

    Sounds like the reviewer needs an enema.
    Although the album has it’s imperfections, as do we all, the sequencing of the songs is perfect to keep it interesting and make it flow smoothly from beginning to end.
    This is undeniably the best album to come out of A I Season 8.
    There is more than one song that will probably stand the test of time and prove to be a good cover for other entertainers for years to come.

    • Joe

      Says his handler!

    • James

      so, this is what Gokey’s agent does all day- scours message boards for negative comments, and then combats them with lies about how good the album is.

    • TK

      Wow this does sound like his manager. lol While I am one of 1000 that did buy the album and I like it, well there is no way in hell it is the best album to come out of AI Season 8. Um sorry, but if you go by the sales in week one, it is by far the worst start to anyone coming out of Season 8. How about YOU research your info before declaring such nonsense.

  • Jesse

    For EW, that is a rave review for Danny Gokey’s CD. Go Danny!

  • Tucker

    Wow!!!!! Country huh? thought he was great on american idol and im a fan but he doesnt sing any form of country, he’s gonna be the next Taylor swift except he can sing….. he’s soul r/b not country you cant simply label a cat a dog because you want to….. like Taylor Swift not country, she’s POP!

    Please stop this madness!!!

    • Jean

      Listen to the album and you will understand his soul/pop country take.
      Even though he is twangless, the material, phrasing, excellent vocals and instrumentation is new country.
      I love it!

  • Randy

    I agree; I guess for a hater rag like EW; its a rave review for Gokey.
    But WTH- you picked the strangest songs for your favorites-no other reviewer has picked those 2. The rockin Get Away, devastating (as the NYT called it) I Will Not Say Goodbye and love song Crazy Not To are superb.
    Easton Corbin; A little More Country Than that-yuck. So clique.

    • James

      did you mean “so cliche” – because that’s the point of the song- he’s a bit more country than the cliche’s.

  • Davey

    I’m pretty sure the reviewer for Gokey’s CD panned Kris Allen’s CD in the LA Times.

  • Kelly

    Ahh Hokey Gokey is back.

  • James

    Tired of people falling into “country” because they don’t fit any other style. Gokey is about as country as Hollywood Blvd, and his need for attention didn’t end at pimping his dead wife for votes on AI.

    Blake Shelton- I’d give his latest ep an A- . Once you get past HillBilly Bone, it’s good.

    Easton Corbin – pretty good, would give him a B+

  • Paul

    I just heard Gokey’s album and it’s terrific! I would label it country/rock. There were a lot more uptempo songs on a country album than I thought there would be. I especially liked “My Best Days,” “Like That’s A Bad Thing,” “Tiny Life,” “Life On Ya,” and “Be Somebody.” A surprisingly good album, and I think Danny has found his niche in country/rock. I give it an A-/B+.

  • Kris Fan

    This review is downright mean-spirited, following the usual media responses!

    I bought Danny’s CD today and played it all afternoon in my car while driving, so I did get a good fell for it ~ and I absolutely LOVED it except for maybe 2 songs! My faves were “Tiny Life,” “Get Away,” “It’s Only,” and the title song, “My Best Days Are Ahead of Me” ~ which I really do believe, and so does Danny (whether you crazies like it or not)! Thankfully, he has many fans, and we will enjoy his CD and really look forward to his tour!


  • Kris Fan

    I want to add that Danny sounds really GREAT in the country genre! Carrie crosses over ~ why shouldn’t he? He has an unbelievably great soulful voice, and I was really surprised how well he sang some of the songs that have a “country edge” to them! And ALL the songs fit the country genre well! I’m so happy that country music has embraced him much better than some of you people that are making negative remarks! If you don’t like him, don’t listen; but there’s no sense in making the negative remarks about his dead wife. It’s sad that people feel they have to stab him in the back for having endured a tragedy in his young life.

  • Evan

    Well, the usual hachett job by EW re Danny. YAWN. But Danny has the last laugh. He is the latest of the Top 4 to be signed, yet the first to go out on tour. Looking forward to Danny’s return to Idol this Thurs. BTW, his debut album, My Best Days has gotten GREAT response.

  • Mike

    Projection from Hits Daily Double:

    RCA Nashville’s American Idol alum Danny Gokey’s country debut, My Best Days, looks like an impressive 45-50k, the same as IGA’s Lifehouse album, Smoke & Mirrors.

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