More People Should Really Know About: Corb Lund

Credit: Noah Fallis

I found Canadian singer songwriter Corb Lund in 2020, through reviewing his ‘Agricultural Tragic’ album. His appeal for me was the blend of wit, Nuggets style garage-rock, and the better sorts of country. He has recorded and toured with his band Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans since 1995, as well as serving time with Canadian Hard Rock act The Smalls. That band’s unlikely combination of hardcore punk, speed metal, and country clearly set Lund off on the eclectic musical journey.

One of the best things about following Corb Lund has been the subtle development of his music. From the relatively unvarnished acoustic guitar, and blues harmonica ‘Dig Gravedigger Dig’ on ‘Cabin Fever’ through to the Tex-Mex stylings of latest album ‘El Viejo.’ While sophisticated is not a word that springs to mind the arrangements have become more intricate. Rather than relying on “more of the same” Lund appears (viewed from the outside at least) to create a specific mood around each new album.

What hasn’t changed is the offbeat brilliance of his songwriting. The aforementioned ‘Cabin Fever’ features songs on subjects from “Goth girls to survivalists, bovines to bibles, antique pistols to vintage motorcycles.” When he tackles other people’s songs, as he has on the albums ‘Cover Your Tracks’ and ‘Songs My Friends Wrote’ he brings a Lund twist to them. He turns AC/DC’s ‘Ride On’ into the blues shuffle it was always destined to be, and Billy Joel clearly wrote ‘It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me’ with Lund’s cover version in mind.

Where to start with his music? Probably where I did with ‘Agricultural Tragic.’ If you “get” ‘I Think You Oughta Try Whiskey’ his duet with Jaida Dreyer then the rest of his work will fall into place for you, and before long you’ll have a shelf full of his albums. Perhaps his best album is ‘Things That Can’t Be Undone.’ From the Stax soul of ‘Weight Of The Gun’ to the Billy Bragg story-telling style of ‘S Lazy H.’ This must surely be the only Americana song to have attracted a blog from a Calgary law firm, about estate planning. All part of the slightly strange but ultimately highly rewarding world of Corb Lund.

He is in Europe supporting the Dead South this summer. And has added a sold-out date in London and others in Manchester, and Birkenhead on his own. The word is spreading, so let’s hope for a fuller UK tour in 2025.

About Tim Martin 247 Articles
Sat in my shed listening to music, and writing about some of it. Occasionally allowed out to attend gigs.
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