He’s a honky-tonk hero, a rockabilly role model and a coy cowboy, but most of all Corb Lund is an Albertan.
Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans will be playing a sold-out show at the Jasper Royal Canadian Legion, Nov. 14. Submitted photo
The Taber native has spent the past 20 years enjoying a successful music career, recording albums in quaint European studios and playing sold-out shows around the world. However, if you ask this cowboy where his heart lies the answer is never changing.
“My family has been here for about five or six generations so I feel pretty tied to this place and it’s pretty much become who I am,” Lund said. “I spend a lot of time elsewhere and I spend a lot of time in the (United) States and I’ve been tempted to move there because it probably would further my career, but Alberta is my home and where I plan to stay.”
Provincially, the love is mutual.
In the face of hardship, the province has often turned to Lund’s proudly Albertan tunes to boost morale and convey hope.
In June, Lund was asked to co-host a fundraising concert for the victims of the Fort McMurray wildfires. Lund also played at the Alberta Flood Aid relief concert in 2013, after major flooding devastated the southern part of the province.
“I felt as if I was a backhoe operator then I would have pitched in that way, but all I really know how to do is play music,” he said.
Most recently, Lund’s music was chosen to set a sorrow yet hopeful mood at former Premier Jim Prentice’s memorial service on Oct. 28.
“I didn’t really set out to be some kind of ambassador, but if people want to use my music and it works for them then that’s good,” Lund said.
It’s been about a year since the country star’s eighth album, Things That Can’t Be Undone, was released. Since then, Lund and his back-up band, The Hurtin’ Albertans, have been promoting the hell out of the album, playing gigs almost every night.
“All the traveling can be grueling sometimes, but the playing is really great—I’d say we’re more of live kind of band anyway,” Lund said. “We just went to Europe this year and there were a lot of people from Scandinavia, Holland and Germany who knew us and our music and that’s a good feeling.
“Not all of my songs are about Alberta, but I think if you’re being authentic then it doesn’t matter what you are saying. People really pick up on that.”
For this album, Lund said he wanted to experiment with some different techniques and crawl outside his comfort zone—a feat he believes he’s accomplished.
“This time around the producer took a larger role and the band help was amazing. I had a lot more help this time—I’m not as much of control freak as I used to be.”
According to the album’s creator, Things That Can’t Be Undone is a self-assured and mature set of songs that pairs sharp song craft with a bevy of new sounds, thrusting Lund’s usual mix of earnest Americana, honky-tonk and rousing alt-country to new heights, touching on serious topics like loss, violence in Iraq and the modern hardships rural farmers face.
“The last few years have been a bit of a heavy period for my family. We’ve had a lot of family loss actually,” Lund said. “A few years ago I lost my niece and my dad so I think that came through in this album.”
Despite a handful of melancholy tracks, the album still has a real toe-tapping party feel.
“You don’t want to play a bunch of those sad ones in row. You mix it up and it’s good to break up the party with a couple of downers once in awhile. It gives some texture to the show,” he said. “For the most part we get pretty honky-tonk and there’s a lot of beer flowing and everyone has a lot of fun.”
Lund and company are currently on tour throughout the United States, but decided to pop back into the motherland to play just one show here in Jasper.
The whole crew will be at the Jasper Royal Canadian Legion, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. However, if you don’t already have a ticket then you’re out of luck. Tickets have been sold out for more than a month.
“We’ve been playing that little bar for years. We don’t have to anymore, but we do because we love the Legion and we love Jasper,” Lund said. “Jasper was a big part of my youth so I love getting there whenever I can.”