Edmonton’s country superstar Corb Lund has certainly made a name for himself singing lighthearted songs like “Truck Got Stuck” and “Roughest Neck Around.” Along with his A-team band, the Hurtin’ Albertans, the Juno Award-winning cowboy has produced nine albums and secured a rather substantial following as a country icon around Canada, the US and parts of Europe.
What separates Lund from his genre contemporaries is that his sound is not strictly country, but a melting pot of styles spanning folk, rock, jazz and even punk. But it all makes sense if you dig into Lund’s past.
“The western stuff is pretty deeply ingrained in me,” Lund says. “While I did listen to other music, I grew up with country and it never really left.”
He certainly took a distinctive approach with his latest record, Things That Can’t Be Undone. While the album still has catchy and jocular country songs like “Washed-Up Rock Star Factory Blues,” others like “S Lazy H,” “Weight Of The Gun” and “Alice Eyes” seem much more sombre than his previous work.
“It wasn’t on purpose,” Lund notes. “I went through a bunch of loss and family death in my life. It was kind of a dark and hairy period when I was writing it.”
Growing up as a rancher in Taber, AB, Lund never imagined his success in the country-music world would be on its current scale.
“If you really sit down and think about it, the whole thing seems pretty far-fetched,” he says. “To succeed in the arts you have to work hard, have a focused vision and kind of put the blinders on and not let anyone tell you the odds.”
Lund believes that in the music industry, especially the country realm, too many artists just sit and wait until something happens—maybe a producer or a manager hears them, thinks they’re the next Willie Nelson or Patsy Cline, and picks them up for a record deal. This does happen sometimes, but the chances are often very minimal.
“My whole kind of approach has been just DIY since day one,” Lund explains. “You know, go on tour, make your own T-shirts and drive your own van. All that shit. Just making it happen. That might be why I’m only a cultish singer instead of a huge rock star, but I’m happy, because I get to call all the shots.”