Canadian cowboys are less about flash and brag than getting the job done -- check out the Calgary Stampede sometime -- and Canadian cowpunks are often the same way, especially Corb Lund. Lund's music fuses a strong classic Western sound with a darkly witty rock & roll sensibility, and Lund plays both sides of the fence with style and heart on his ...
Canadian cowboys are less about flash and brag than getting the job done -- check out the Calgary Stampede sometime -- and Canadian cowpunks are often the same way, especially Corb Lund. Lund's music fuses a strong classic Western sound with a darkly witty rock & roll sensibility, and Lund plays both sides of the fence with style and heart on his seventh studio album, Cabin Fever. "Getting' Down On the Mountain" kicks the album off in idiosyncratic fashion, spinning a rough-hewn tale of living off the land in the wake of some global apocalypse, and while the album never gets quite that grim again, his drinking songs speak of genuine heartache (especially the harrowing closer "Pour 'Em Kinda Strong"), and even when the tunes are funny, they often have a wicked edge, in particular "Priceless Antique Pistol Shoots Startled Owner." And while some rockers sound like they're play acting when they make like cowboys, Lund always seems like the real thing, discussing the joys of cattle ownership on "Cows Around," pining for a city girl while looking after the ranch on "September," and offering the sage advice "(You Ain't a Cowboy) If You Ain't Been Bucked Off." Lund's rock & roll moves are more felt than heard --- most of this sounds like stripped-down variant of classic 1950s honky tonk -- but his tales of too-fast motorcycles and hot rockin' gals prove the heart of a rocker co-exists with the soul of a cowboy (in true rocker's fashion, he also passes along some worthwhile advice about life on the road in "Bible On the Dash"), and the dry, lonesome twang of the six-strings and the steel mesh beautifully with his rich, emotive, but unfussy vocals. Cabin Fever is tough without sounding callous, heartfelt without being melodramatic, and true and straightforward enough that plenty of rock and country acts could learn a lot from it, and if you like roots rock with the emphasis on roots, this should be right up your alley. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
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