Reviews

Corb Lund’s Agricultural Tragic


By Brian Rock

Corb Lund reflects on the comedy and tragedy of rural living on his tenth release, Agricultural Tragic. Born and raised on a functioning ranch and doing a stint as a rodeo rider, Lund knows whereof he speaks. With the help of his talented band, The Hurtin’ Albertans, he returns from a five-year hiatus with all the pent-up energy of a rodeo bull just released from his chute.

“90 Seconds of Your Time,” starts with funky, Memphis guitar licks as he tells the true story of an Elk hunting trip in Idaho that doesn’t go as planned. When their pack mules go missing (possibly to theft,) Corb’s ex-army ranger hunting guide is ready to seek bloody vengeance. But Lund tries to diffuse the situation by saying, “Well let’s take a minute and a half to just recognize decisions that affect your life, and possibly mine.” With dry, understated humor, Lund shows that sometimes the difference between comedy and tragedy is just the time it takes to let a moment of rage dissipate.

Turning to Outlaw Country, Lund sings the praises of “Old Men.” Declaring that, “I want old men making my whiskey. I want old men singing my blues. I want old men training my horses. ‘Cause there’s just some things young men can’t do,” he points out that age and experience do (at least in some important instances,) have their advantages.

Lund recruits Jaida Dreyer to duet with him on the chooglin’ Country Blues of “I Think You Oughta Try Whiskey.” It’s a tongue in cheek commentary on the “bottle of the sexes.” Listing the pros and cons of whiskey vs. gin, Lund’s wit and humor sparkle as he trades spirited shots with Dreyer.

Lund’s down home, observational story telling doesn’t indulge in anthems or protests. He doesn’t deal in self-importance or beer chugging excess. Like a master photographer, he just finds the best angle to capture everyday moments in time. Whether singing about horses or bears or rats, or hunting or dancing; Lund’s ability to turn a phrase and to zoom in on the essence of a moment, takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary. His musical ability to pair traditional Western Swing and Country with modern elements of Folk and Alternative Rock take his photographic lyrics and set them in motion. A true master of his craft, Corb Lund is one of the true Gold Standards of Americana.

His Folk sensibilities dominate his equine odes, “Raining Horses,” and “Never Not Had Horses.” The latter of which is a tribute to his mother upon having to say goodbye to the last of her stable of horses. Corb and The Hurtin’ Albertans let loose on the energetic Rockabilly of “Oklahomans!”, “Ranchin’, Ridin’, Romance,” and “Rat Patrol.” He adds Blues slide guitar to great effect on “Grizzly Bear Blues.” Embracing his roots, he sings a traditional Country ballad in honor of famed Western novelist, “Louis L/Amour.” He kicks on his Honky-Tonk boots for “Dance With Your Spurs On.”  He even manages to turn a 30 second Snickers commercial into an inspired 3 minutes of Cowboy Poetry on “Tattoos Blues.”

From start to finish, and from spur to hat, Agricultural Tragic, is pure Americana magic.

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Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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