Producer, record executive, songwriter, singer, and session musician Wyatt Easterling grew up in Chapel Hill, NC, and released his debut album, Both Sides of the Shore, on Moonlight Records (an imprint of Warner Bros.) in 1981. The album was not a commercial success, but Easterling moved to Nashville and began striving to make his way in the country music business in whatever way he could. While looking for another record deal, he worked for song publishers. In 1990, he became head of A&R at the Nashville division of Atlantic Records. The same year, he sang on and contributed the song "This Time I'm Takin' My Time" to Neal McCoy's album At This Moment. (The song was co-written with Bob Moulds. Like many Nashville songwriters, Easterling nearly always collaborated on his songs, his co-writers including Charlie Allen, Liz Barnez, Liz Byler, Jessi Colter Jennings, Rebecca Folsom, Don Goodman, Mike Graham, Porter Howell, Paul Jefferson, Deanna Jordan, Celeste Krenz, Nelson Larkin, Sonny LeMaire, John Marlin, John Scott Sherrill, Johnny Slate, Sharon Vaughn, Jeff Vice, Pam Wolfe, Drew Womack, and Easterling's wife, Stacey Slate-Easterling.) In 1991, his song "If the Jukebox Took Teardrops" became a Top 40 country hit for Billy Joe Royal. Easterling served as producer and played acoustic guitar on John Michael Montgomery's 1992 album Life's a Dance, which reached the country Top Five and went triple platinum. Two of Easterling's songs, "Wrap Me in Your Love" and "All Because of a Baby Boy," were featured on Joe Diffie's 1995 album Mr. Christmas, which reached the country Top 40, and within months he also contributed the title track to Diffie's Top 40, gold-selling album Life's So Funny.
Easterling's jobs on the business side of the music business, notably at Bugle Publishing Group and Firstars Management, seem to have occupied him in the late '90s and early 2000s. Eventually, however, he began to return to songwriting. Four of his songs were featured on Hilljack's 2004 album Stand-Up, which he produced, and the same year he placed songs on Pastor Ronald Williams' Natural Thing, Drew Womack's Drew Womack, and Brittany Wells' Loving Every Minute of It. In 2005, he had songs on Derryl Perry's All Just to Get to You and Clear Blue 22's Right Now, but his greatest success for the year was his title song for Dierks Bentley's country chart-topping, million-selling album Modern Day Drifter. That song was featured, along with "Life's So Funny" and some new originals, on his long-awaited second solo album, Where This River Goes, released by High Horse Records on May 4, 2009. ~ William Ruhlmann