Corb Lund and the Hurtin' Albertans push the boundaries of country music—and the result is superb.
by Charley Engel
The genre-bending music of this 42-year-old native of Taber, Alberta, Canada, is rooted in the traditional Western sound that Lund learned at the knee of his grandfather, a pro-rodeo cowboy in the 1930s and former Calgary Stampede champion.
“We play subversive country and Western,” Lund says about his band, The Hurtin’ Albertans. With influences drawn from the tear-jerking ballads of Marty Robbins, the outlaw country of Waylon and Willie, and rock and roll, Lund sounds at home in a rowdy honky-tonk or on stage at the Grand Ole Opry.
“My music is not down the middle all the time, and it’s a little bit fast and loose with the country and Western rules’,” he says. “But it seems that, if you’re just being yourself, people get it.”
Lund’s rising popularity worldwide shows that fans—and critics—are definitely getting it. With 26 awards under his belt since 2003, including two gold records and seven Canadian Country Music Association Artist of the Year awards, Lund is one of the hottest acts in roots music today.
A strong sense of place pervades his latest release, Cabin Fever, the bulk of which Lund wrote in his cabin on the Pembina River in northern Alberta. “I spent a lot of time up there reflecting and stewing in my own juices,” he says about overcoming a break up and the death of his favorite uncle.
“I grew up chasing cows and riding and rodeoing,” he says about life on his family’s farm outside of Taber and spending summers on his grandparent’s ranch. “I rode steers and bulldogged a little in high school but smartened up early.”
Cabin Fever continues to blur stylistic boundaries, though typical country/Western themes abound, like alcohol abuse (“Drink It Like You Mean It” and “Pour ‘Em Kinda Strong”), cowboys (“You Ain’t A Cowboy If You Ain’t Been Bucked Off”), livestock (“Cows Around”), and relationships gone sour (“September”). And Lund’s eclectic interests ensure a few nice surprises, like “Dig, Gravedigger, Dig”, “Mein Deutsches Motorrad” (about BMW motorcycles), and “Bible On The Dash” (about avoiding traffic tickets). “Gettin’ Down On The Mountain” even addresses the end of the world, as we know it. Great live, Corb Lund makes a mean studio album, too.
You can get more information, merchandise, and tour schedules at www.corblund.com