Corb Lund, Hair In My Eyes Like A Highland Steer

Andrew Mueller

By Andrew Mueller

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Though Corb Lund — a son of Taber, Alberta and multi-award-winning Canadian country/ phenomenon — made this album, as is his recent habit, in Nashville; he cleaves obstinately to Harlan Howard's dictum that country music is "three chords, and the truth." Lund's glorious fourth record is the sound of a man singing what he knows — which, in Lund's case, is Canada ("Little Foothills Heaven"), poker ("All I Wanna Do Is Play Cards"), horses ("The Rodeo's Over") and the vagaries of ranching ("The Truck Got Stuck," a hilarious talking blues recalling a multiple bogging incident, riddled with the kind of detail that suggests it must be a true story).

Canadian cowboy sings the blues.

However, Lund is as far as can be imagined from a cliché-dealing purveyor of hokey whimsy. He is one of the most consistently spectacular lyricists presently working in any genre, his playful and wordy songs generously stocked with memorable images, great deadpan throwaways and a defiantly and evocatively Canadian sense of place. The signature tune "Hurtin 'Albertan" — from which Lund's dazzling backing band take their name — ¬¨goes so far as to acknowledge the (literally) different accent Lund brings to country by rhyming "out" with "throat."