Country music star Easton Corbin will be the feature entertainer at this year’s Union Fair, fair president John Crabtree and Elmer “Buddy ” Savage, head of the entertainment committee, announced July 23. Corbin will perform Monday, Aug. 23 at 8 p.m. on the main stage by the grandstand.

Corbin knew he wanted to be a country singer well before he learned how to play guitar. Born and raised in rural Gilchrist County, Fla., he spent much of his time on his grandparent’s cattle farm after his parents divorced when he was young. He was a member of Future Farmers of America and 4-H and showed cattle at the local livestock fair.

When Corbin was 15-years-old, he began taking guitar lessons from Pee Wee Melton, a local musician who had at one time played on sessions in Nashville. Soon, he was playing lead guitar in a local band. An impromptu audition at a local music store led to a slot on the Suwannee River Jam, a nearby festival that attracts thousands of people and national touring acts. It was not long before he was opening for other national acts when they played the area, including Janie Fricke and Mel McDaniel.

Four years ago, Corbin and his wife moved to Nashville, where he had been making regular trips to perform at writer’s nights. Corbin, whose musical influences include George Jones, Merle Haggard, George Strait and Keith Whitley, found a kindred spirit in producer Carson Chamberlain. The result of their kinship is an over-the-top album that includes cuts from Nashville’s top songwriters including Mark D. Sanders, Wynn Varble, Tony Lane and David Lee, among others.

Like his heroes Strait and Whitley, Corbin is unapologetically country. Steel guitars and fiddles are as much a part of his sound as his baritone drawl. His recent, and first, No. 1 single “A Little More Country Than That” paints a picture of rural life that speaks to Easton’s small town sensibilities. Now that his lifelong dream is upon him, Easton is ready.

“I just want to make great country music. Just the opportunity to play music for a living is a great thing. I’m just thankful to have the opportunity to do what I’m doing,” he said.

Admittance to the Corbin concert is included in the fair entrance gate ticket. The Union Fair, which is located right off Route 17 in Union, will offer seven big days of fun and entertainment for the whole family beginning Saturday, Aug. 21 through Saturday, Aug. 28.  For more information and a complete schedule, visit UnionFair.org.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.