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Corb Lund

Corb Lund is a Canadian roots-country singer/songwriter whose third album, Five Dollar Bill (2002), established him as a favorite among critics and Americana music enthusiasts in his home country, the U.S., and in Europe. His idiosyncratic take on the genre is deeply inspired by the Western Canadian frontier and the lives of its cowboys and ranch hands. In addition to songwriting and recording, he is an activist for literacy on the prairie and a booster of his fellow songwriters, as evidenced by his 2022 covers album Songs My Friends Wrote.. His rich, reedy baritone owes to '50s rockabilly as much as it does Hank Snow and folk music, a debt that's evident on 2015's The Weight of the Gun, as well as on 2020's Agricultural Tragic, an album whose title derives from Lund's description of his music. Lund is deeply loved by his countrymen and women; he was voted 2017's Roots Solo Artist of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards despite not having a record to promote. Born in Alberta where he grew up on his family's farm in the small town of Taber, Lund moved to Edmonton to study music at Grant MacEwan Community College. In 1990 he co-founded the Smalls with a few college friends. Comprising Mike Caldwell (vocals), Dug Bevans (guitar), Terry Johnson (drums), and Lund (bass), the band made its full-length debut in 1990 with the eponymous album The Smalls. Subsequent Smalls albums included To Each a Zone (1992), Waste and Tragedy (1995), and My Dear Little Angle (1999). Meanwhile, Lund founded a band of his own, the Corb Lund Band, with Kurt Ciesla (bass) and Ryan Vikedal (drums) in addition to Lund on vocals and guitar. Initially considered a roots country side project, the band released two albums, Modern Pain (1995) and Unforgiving Mistress (1999), while Lund was still active in the Smalls. After the breakup of the Smalls in 2001, the Corb Lund Band became a full-time endeavor for its namesake. Signed to Stony Plain Records, the band traveled to Nashville to work with producer Harry Stinson on its third album, Five Dollar Bill (2002), a breakout hit that reached gold certification in Canada and earned the praise of critics. Lund collaborated with Stinson again on his next album, Hair in My Eyes Like a Highland Steer (2005), a similarly successful effort that was awarded Album of the Year by the Canadian Country Music Association in 2006. The follow-up albums Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier! (2007) and his New West Records debut, Losin' Lately Gambler (2009), were also produced by Stinson. Following Live at the Edmonton Coliseum, also released in 2009, Lund issued Cabin Fever, which was recorded in a cabin he built north of Edmonton. In the summer of 2014, Counterfeit Blues appeared from New West. The collection featured newly recorded versions of songs from Lund's catalog, but with a twist: he and his road band cut them live from the floor of Memphis' Sun Studios, with no overdubs. Lund returned to recording new material with 2015's Things That Can't Be Undone. It was produced by Dave Cobb at his Nashville studio. The ten-song set was previewed by opening track "Weight of a Gun" as an Internet single, and was released in October. The acclaimed set placed at number eight at Canadian Albums and inside the Top 40 on the U.S. country charts. Lund toured Europe and North America relentlessly for a year. In 2016, he co-hosted and headlined the "Fire Aid" benefit concert Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium; it provided support to victims of the Fort McMurray wildfire. Lund returned to recording in the fall of 2019 with the eight-song Cover Your Tracks EP on New West. It included tracks by some of his favorite artists and writers from various periods in his life. Lund claimed it was to get them out of his system in order to free him up to record new material of his own. Co-produced with John Evans, the set includes his own take on songs by Willie Nelson, Ray Charles, Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show, AC/DC, Nancy Sinatra, and others. Lund enlisted guest appearances from Hayes Carll and Ian Tyson alongside his band the Hurtin Albertans. Lund stayed with New West for 2020's Agricultural Tragic, a record named after his own description of his music and featuring a duet with Jaida Dreyer on "I Think You Oughta Try Whiskey." Two years later, Lund released Songs My Friends Wrote, a lean and loose collection of songs penned by such colleagues as Todd Snyder, Ian Tyson, and Hayes Carll.
© Jason Birchmeier /TiVo
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