Corb Lund will cure your ‘cabin fever’

Alberta's Corb Lund has been following his own muse, creating and performing the kind of music that makes him a happy independent artist

Corb Lund and The Hurtin’ Albertans perform on Saturday, May 11, 7:30 p.m. at the Clarke Theatre, 33700 Prentis Ave., Mission.

For the best part of 20 years Alberta’s Corb Lund has been following his own muse, creating and performing the kind of music that makes him a happy independent artist rather than the type of tunes that fit into the current hit formula. While this hasn’t made him a wealthy pop star he has enjoyed a steadily growing success and acclaim with a dedicated fan base across the continent.

After spending a decade with Alberta’s legendary and successful alternative band, The Smalls, Lund went on his own to focus on his songwriting, in the early 2000s. With the backing of the top-notch players in his Hurtin’ Albertans band (bassist Kurt Ciesla, multi-instrumentalist Grant “Demon” Siemens, and drummer Brady Valgardson) Lund has put out seven solo records, won numerous awards and spends about half of every year performing live concerts in Canada, the U.S. and Australia.

Prior to his concert tour of B.C. (Corb Lund and The Hurtin’ Albertans perform on Saturday, May 11, 7:30 p.m. at the Clarke Theatre, 33700 Prentis Ave., Mission), Lund spoke with The Aldergrove Star.

Lund’s music definitely has its roots in old-school country honky-tonk but his sly wit and jazz-influenced chords are not the typical fodder you’ll hear on “new country” radio.

“I don’t really listen to modern country music,” says Lund. “I don’t listen to a lot of any modern music, it’s just not my cup of tea. I like older stuff and weirder stuff.

“Alternative country is just way more interesting to me. Mainstream music is all formula, and it’s losing its power, slowly. Times are good for underground music, there are lots of avenues and people are discovering the nooks and crannies of music, not just the big pipeline.”

Lund says, “Here (in Canada) our fans are half country, half folk festival songwriter fans, down there (in the U.S.) it’s almost all underground country fans, you don’t hear many mainstream country stations playing our stuff down there. It’s kinda good in a way, almost all our audience is people who like alternative country and songwriters.”

Lund’s songs tell stories — from “goth” girls to survivalists, bovines to bibles and antique pistols to vintage motorcycles — and the styles range from rockabilly to western swing, cowboy balladry to country-rock, with an occasional yodel thrown in. This diversity is heard in such concert favourites as Truck Got Stuck, Roughest Neck Around and Hair in My Eyes Like A Highland Steer.

His latest album, Cabin Fever, went to number one in Canada. It was his second album for the New West Records label and was recorded at a rustic retreat deep in the Rockies, and evolved from a period of introspection and hard traveling.

Lund says the sparser, acoustic “demo” versions of the dozen songs on Cabin Fever sounded so good that when the polished electric versions were completed he couldn’t decide which he preferred. Thus he released a special double-album edition that “we put them all on, with all of the songs in both versions, electric and acoustic. It’s pretty cool.”

The album has a wide range of song styles: the regretful ballad (The One I Left in the Chamber), the twangy paean to survival (You Ain’t a Cowboy If You Don’t Get Bucked Off), the raucous (Drink It Like You Mean It), the apocalyptic (Gettin’ Down on the Mountain), the blues-rockin’ (Dig Gravedigger Dig), the wily road tale (Bible on the Dash), and the Betty Page-inspired (The Gothest Girl I Can).

Bible on the Dash was co-written with Texan alt-country star Hayes Carll, who shares Lund’s taste for wry, droll humour, and duets with Lund on the album version. “We get along pretty well; we met years ago at a festival in Dauphin, Manitoba. Done tons of touring together since then; we opened for him in the States, he opened for us up here,” says Lund.

Lund spends about half of each year on the road, to pay his bills and to get his music to fans. “I like the balance, I get out for a while, then get home. I get some royalties but yeah, most (of his income) is from touring.”

While New West Records has signed artists like Steve Earle, “It’s still kind of a small label. We’ve been doing everything pretty grassroots the whole time. I’m fine with that, we’ve always been a live band and I never expected to get anything mainstream with anything we did.”

On this concert tour fans can expect Lund to “play a lot of new songs, old ones too — with seven records we try to hit all the high spots. Every night’s kinda random ’cause we don’t use a set list, I just call out songs (to the band) all night.”

Lund agrees that he is all over the map, lyrically and stylistically.

“I’ve always taken the approach with both bands (The Smalls and The Hurtin’ Albertans) to keep doing stuff that keeps me interested. Sort of selfish about it but I guess if you keep doing it other people find it interesting too.”

Presented by Country 107.1 and Rock.It Boy Entertainment, tickets for Saturday’s show in Mission (with Ridley Bent opening) are $34.50 (plus facility fee and service charges) at all Ticketmaster locations, charge by phone 1-885-985-5000 or online at www.ticketmaster.ca/. For more information visit www.corblund.com/.

-with files from Rock.It Boy Entertainment

Just Posted

Langley’s Coldest Night of the Year exceeds fundraising goal

Participants walked for Coldest Night of the Year on Saturday, Feb. 23.

VIDEO: Walnut Grove Gators basketball team post win in opening round of provincials

Junior Boys Basketball Provincial invitational tournament features 32 B.C. teams, three from Langley

Junior Team Canada brings home gold to the Lower Mainland, again

In a 9-4 victory over Switzerland, a Langley-based curling team earned its 2nd straight world title

VIDEO: Langley Trappers take 3-2 series lead on Abbotsford Pilots

Sunday’s game six set for Langley’s George Preston Recreation Centre

Surrey-Langley curlers in the running again for gold

Junior men’s team out of Langley hopes to defend its world title Sunday, going up against Switzerland

VIDEO: Iconic ‘snow cone’ takes shape at B.C. park near Clearwater

Snow cone forming at Wells Gray Provincial Park one that would make Disney’s Queen Elsa proud

Pink Shirt Day a reminder to ‘T.H.I.N.K.’ before posting on social media

‘Be Kind’ message on shirts sold for anti-bullying activities of Wednesday, Feb. 27

A ‘warm embrace’ for grieving parents at funeral of seven young fire victims

Mourners offered love and support to Kawthar Barho, mother of seven children

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

UPDATE: Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

B.C. weavers to help Alaska Native project honouring survivors of violence

Dozens of Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers from all over North America will be weaving 5-inch-by-5-inch squares

Most Read