By Brad Simm
Rancher, rodeo-rider and country singer with punk rock roots, Corb Lund has been carving out his own brand of honky-tonk, twang, campfire ballads and barroom singalongs since the mid-90s. Although he doesn’t bask in rhinestone glory, Lund, without question, is Western Canada’s favourite literary six-string son.
As the pipeline debate rages on, you might think Western Canada’s favourite rodeo riding, country music singing, literary six-string son would weigh in on this critical concern.
“There will be no pipeline songs,” Lund firmly announces. “I seldom take a position on things like that publicly because I don’t have enough information. Everybody talks like they know all the answers and I feel I’m pretty well read, but the more I investigate it, the more I don’t know what the hell to believe about anything anymore.”
It’s been over three years since Lund released his last album, Things That Can’t Be Undone. While he prepares to enter the studio this fall, an EP of covers will soon be out that includes: AC/DC’s “Ride On” with Ian Tyson, Dr. Hook’s “Cover Of The Rolling Stone” with Hayes Carll along with Mary Robbin’s “They’re Hanging Me Tonight” and an old Eagles’ song, “Outlaw Man.”
And what about original songs on the new disc?
“I got a song about grizzlies,” he chuckles. “It’s all the conflicting advice you get if you meet one: – play dead, don’t play dead; run, don’t run; run up a hill, run down a hill; climb a tree, don’t climb a tree. It’s about how no one really knows how to deal with the grizzlies.”
If Lund encountered the furry beast? “I’d shoot it with a pump shotgun. But I’d never want to have to do that, except in a dire situation,” he says emphatically. “I’d also carry some bear spray.”
Rats, on the other hand, he has a lot less mercy for. Alberta is proud of its rat-free status that the provincial government maintains with a special rat patrol agency, who recently unloaded on the ugly pests. Hearing about the conquest, Lund wrote a tune, praising the patrol’s diligence.
“They found a manifestation of rats in the dump at Medicine Hat. Blew the nest up with dynamite and brought in fish and game guys, whoever they had, to pick off the stragglers with shotguns. I thought, ‘That’s awesome. I want that job.’”
Laughing, Lund says the lyrics are “really graphic, really violent,” adding, “I found every possible way to kill a rat and put it in the song.”
Admitting he gets bored with a lot of subjects, Lund always has a lot of humour in his songs that he likes to find weird angles for. Another new tune, “No Regerts”, is about bad tattoos and bad misspellings.
“If you do a google search for misspelt tattoos, it’s appalling. I don’t know how someone doesn’t notice. But whatever, not my circus, not my monkey.”
Sunday, July 7
Calgary Stampede, Big Four Roadhouse