CORB LUND at the Danforth Music Hall (147 Danforth), Friday (November 23). 7 pm. $26.50-$36.50. TM. See listing.
Alberta country singer Corb Lund's newest album, Cabin Fever (New West), has songs about cows, horses, drinking, guns, more drinking and the advantages of keeping a Bible on the dashboard of your truck. As rural as those themes might seem, Lund sees himself as bridging the urban world and the backwoods.
"I grew up on horseback until I was 17, then left the country for university, and I've basically lived in cities ever since," says Lund from a tour stop in Halifax. "When I go home, I'm the hippy artist guy, and when I'm in the city with my lefty musician friends, I'm the redneck from the country."
Lund wishes urbanites and rural folks understood each other better, but he also takes pride in his ability to appeal to both. At his shows, much like Willie Nelson's, you're just as likely to find hip downtowners as you are people who drove two hours from places still awaiting paved roads.
"Music can really help melt barriers between people," he says.
He seems like the kind of guy who'd be too grassroots and idealistic to buy into the trend of offering special VIP ticket packages to well-heeled fans. But on this tour he's performing intimate acoustic pre-show concerts in several cities for fans willing to shell out $99. He's doing it, though, for musical reasons.
"I'm kind of opposed to VIP things when they're just about people paying to meet you, but these acoustic shows are kind of cool. When you're on tour, you spend 22 and a half hours dicking around, and the other hour and a half playing. This gives me an extra half-hour of quality playing time, which makes my life better. Plus, I really dig playing with no mics and amps to a small group of people."
He likes playing acoustic so much that he recorded an unplugged version of the entire Cabin Fever album, available with the deluxe iTunes version. Both are good representations of what he and his band, the Hurtin' Albertans, are capable of onstage, since they were both recorded almost completely live off the floor, including vocals.
"We drank a lot while making this record," Lund admits. "Well, not falling-down drunk, but we wanted to keep it really casual. As I get older, I've been gaining an appreciation for fuck-ups on records. In this age when anyone can make perfect GarageBand recordings, there's something compelling about human frailty on a record. Makes it seem more real."