Corb Lund Continues His All Cowboy-All The Time Approach on ‘Agricultural Tragic’

Corb Lund |Agricultural Tragic | (New West)
3 out of 5 stars

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Call him the Canadian cowboy.

Alberta born and raised singer/songwriter Lund returns five years after his last set of originals to deliver his tenth full length. He also brings back Harry Stinson as co-producer (Stinson paired with Lund on his older albums) after 2015’s successful Things That Can’t Be Undone was helmed by Dave Cobb.

Little has changed in Lund’s rootsy approach over the years. His combination of classic country, honky-tonk, Americana and rockabilly, propelled by an engaging, somewhat baritone voice and gobs of twang guitar from Grant Siemens, remains in fine fettle. It helps that, along with long-time shotgun riding producer Stinson, he has maintained the same three piece band for over a decade. And you don’t need to look further than song titles like “Raining Horses,” “Grizzly Bear Blues,” “Dance With Your Spurs On” or “Ranchin’, Ridin’, Romance (Two Outta Three Ain’t Bad)” to know which side of the country bread Lund’s butter is on.

His all-cowboy, all the time approach gets gutsy on the hard rocking “Oklahomas!” and the humorous “Grizzly Bear Blues.” The rhythms are ramped up with a Rockpile-styled rockabilly that gallops along like the horses that often populate his songs and dominate the photos on the disc’s jacket.  To that point the bittersweet tale of “Never Not Had Horses” about an “old cowgirl” who has to put down the horses that have always been in her life is one of this disc’s most touching moments.

The witty bantering duet with singer Jaida Dryer on a sassy back and forth “I Think You Oughta Try Whisky” brings some June and Johnny to the table for what will be a surefire crowd pleasing live tune. That alcoholic beverage also appears in “Old Men” as Lund touts respect for his elders “makin’ his whiskey/..’cause there’s some things young men can’t do.”

You’d expect Lund to be a fan of frontier novelist Louis L’Amore and his song of that name pays respects to a long gone West, singing “A young mother cries as she searches the skies/For a time before meth hit our great western range” in another poignant instance.

Lund’s songwriting may be focused on all things Western, but his songs roam the range of pure country and twangy singer/songwriter fare. As the cliché goes, this isn’t Lund’s first rodeo, but the music on Agricultural Tragic never feels stale or repetitious. On the contrary, it’s like he’s back in a saddle he’s really never left.

We spoke with Corb about the album, check that interview out

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