MUSIC BOX: Play that Funky Western

By on December 8, 2015

Decorated songwriter reinvents eclectic at Pink Garter.

Take a trip through some new musical milieus care of roots country songwriter Corb Lund, performing Friday at the Pink Garter.

Take a trip through some new musical milieus care of roots country songwriter Corb Lund, performing Friday at the Pink Garter.

Jackson, WY – It’s evidence of genuine versatility when an artist’s current album defines his sound. The latest snapshot for Canadian roots-country singer-songwriter Corb Lund is “Things That Can’t Be Undone,” produced by Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson) at Lund’s Nashville studio. Friday’s performance at the Pink Garter Theatre will mark Lund’s first show in Jackson, but not his first visit.

“I came to Jackson as a kid, a tourist,” Lund said from the road. “I remember the gunfight. Does that still go on? One of the actors had a ‘pro rodeo’ sticker on his truck, and I thought it was cool that he could be both.”

Lund started his career as bassist for the Edmonton cowpunk band The Smalls, which released four albums through the ’90s, selling more than 35,000 copies. Lund formed and fronted the The Corb Lund Band in the mid 90s as a side project. That band’s third studio album, “Five Dollar Bill” (2002), became a breakout work that earned the praise of critics and reached gold sales status in Canada. All the while the spectrum of the band’s music expanded from rockabilly to Western swing, cowboy balladry and country rock,  maintaining a wacky sense of humor along the way.

Lund has won seemingly every roots-country award in Canada, including 11 Canadian Country Music Association Awards, a Juno Award and six Western Canadian Music Awards. Fans of Hayes Carll (who Lund has collaborated with), Justin Townes Earle, Billy Bragg and Leo Rondeau will likely dig what Mr. Lund has to offer.

Lund’s latest work “Things That Can’t Be Undone” finds him pushing his wry observations, darkly biting tales, rural balladry and keen storytelling into musically and thematically new terrain. Recorded with his longtime band The Hurtin’ Albertans — Grant Siemens on electric guitar and lap steel, Kurt Ciesla on bass and Brady Valgardson on drums —the album is a self-assured and mature set of songs that pairs Lund’s characteristically sharp song craft with a mix of earnest Americana, honky-tonk,’60s rock, soul and even some Eastern psychedelia. Three weeks after the album’s release, it rose to number 10 on the Americana Radio Music Chart.

On the album single and its accompanying CMT video, “Run this Town,” Lund reminisces about a relationship that might have been by singing, “If I’d have sped up and you’d have slowed down/You and me together coulda run this town.”

“This album is the most live of them all with very little overdubbing, just musicians in a room with a lot of mic bleed,” Lund said of the recording process. “Song-writery albums can tend to be monotonous, and I’ve always been a fan of making albums diverse. Acoustic, electric — I’ve recorded with an orchestra — I want to stretch. We’ve done well in Canada for a while, but our profile was raised over the last several years in the States, and fans want to hear what they know. It gets harder on a bigger scale trying to grab the attention of fans.”

One of Lund’s intentions with the new album was to “get out of my comfort zone.” As with lead track “Weight of the Gun”—a catchy, lyrically poignant and a sort-of Louis L’Amour Western tale crossed with Motown—it’s eclectic even within the piece itself. Give Mr. Lund a big Jackson welcome and he’ll reciprocate. PJH

11:11 Presents Corb Lund, 9 to midnight Friday at Pink Garter Theatre. $16-$20. PinkGarterTheatre.com, 733-1500.

Aaron Davis is a touring singer-songwriter, trout whisperer, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, and founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley.

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About Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis is a decade-long writer of Music Box, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

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