Thursday, August 23, 2012


I'm so proud to live in a country where the new Corb Lund album can go to #1 on iTunes the first week out of the digital box.  Watching the West rise strong and proud through Lund's modern take on cowboy music has been a joy, and to see him embraced by more and more shows just how interested Canadians are in real, roots music.  Lund is certainly his own musician, mixing styles and attitudes, cultural references, time periods, whatever he wants to throw in the mix.  Although he'll always be identified with Alberta, he doesn't lean on any cliches, musically or lyrically.  You're just as liable to run into Goth girls here as rednecks, motorcycle riders as cowboys, New York City as the Prairies.  And while there's a C&W base, there's just as much rock 'n' roll (the real, original kind), and a host of hybrids, including Western Swing and actual, authentic cowboy music.

Cabin Fever is full of Lund's playful side, with several of the 12 tracks lighthearted and clever.  Cows Around is supposedly a "Western blessing", as he sings, "May you always have cows around", ending on a very good imitation of Bossy.  Bible On The Dashboard tells the tale of a band, maybe the Hurtin' Albertans, maybe not, who learned a good trick driving recklessly through the U.S.  They stick a Bible on the dashboard, for when the cops pull them over, hoping to catch a break from the law-abiding, God-fearing patrolmen.  The Gothest Girl I Know, features the drum intro from Sing Sing Sing (sorta), turning into a rockabilly rave-up, and a pledge from Corb he's "going to lose these country boy blues/for the Gothest girl I can."

While he's having a bunch of fun here, Lund doesn't let us forget he can do heartbreak too, and the cut September is about a man from the Rockies who looses his love to the allure of New York City.  In the midst of the sadness comes a high-lonesome moan that tears at your heart as much as the reverb-laced twang of his guitar.  Lund could just be doing straight retro music, appealing to those who find the cowboy genre authentic and appealing, and I'm certainly one of them.  But that he updates and advances it as well is the mark of a true artist.  And the album is full of great, great fun.

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