Many of you will know John Corbett as the guy who played Carrie Bradshaw’s boyfriend Aidan Shaw on Sex And The City, but the West Virginian is also a talented musician and singer. And while many actors who sing are simply living out some kind of childhood fantasy (Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner come to mind), Corbett isn’t one of them. Leaving Nothin’ Behind, Corbett’s second album, is an Americana feast. Songs like “Name On A Stone” and “El Paso” are as good as anything currently spinning on country radio.
Corbett recently took time to answer a few questions for ReDigi.
Todd Sterling: Do you think being an actor helps you slip into the skin of the characters in your songs?
John Corbett: I’ve been an actor for more than 25 years, so taking somebody else’s words and making a life out of them is something I know how to do. There is a song on my new record called “El Paso,” about an 1800s gunfighter who is wrongly accused of a murder. That didn’t happen to me but I can imagine it and it comes out in the way I sing the song.
T.S.: Jon Randall Stewart co-produced the album and co-wrote most of the songs. How did your working relationship with Jon come about?
J.C.: I cut two songs that Jon wrote on my first record six years ago, and we became buddies. When it came time for me to make this record, I wanted Jon to produce it and I wanted to sing his songs because he’s my favourite songwriter. But he would only let me sing seven of his and made me cut three other songwriters (songs) because he’s that kind of guy; kind of humble, but I know he secretly wanted me to cut 10. (laughs)
T.S.: If you had to pick one track from Leaving Nothin’ Behind that sums up who you are as an artist, which one would it be?
J.C.: Cocaine and Communion
T.S.: Leaving Nothing Behind can stand toe-to-toe with any current Country/Americana release; it’s a cohesive and artistic collection. Do you think the album will finally silence the critics who write you off as an actor who simply plays at music?
J.C.: I hope people who bought my last album will buy this record and like it. I’m making records for those people, and hopefully I’ll get some new fans. I’m not really interested in what any critic has to say about my music in a negative way, and I’m not trying to silence anyone.
T.S.: Recording or touring, which do you enjoy more?
That’s a hard question to answer because there are so many checks in the plus box for each. I’m going to call that one a draw. I love them both.