"Gettin' Down on the Mountain" by Corb Lund
Americana couldn’t ask for a much better ambassador than Corb Lund.
He’s talented, smart and, as a fourth-generation Alberta cowboy, he’s authentic.
He often revives the classic-country ethos on his refreshing new “Cabin Fever,” an antidote to the sterile cliches that now dominate the genre. Yet the former member of a speed-metal band (in the 1990s) isn’t trying to be the reincarnation of Hank Williams. “Cabin Fever” is folkish, it’s honky-tonk. In the stomp-along grit of “Dig Gravedigger Dig” it’s so bluesy you can feel the room fill with swampy humidity. By contrast, Lund spirals into “The Gothest Girl I Can” on a rockabilly high, where he wryly sings, “I’m a-gonna lose this country-boy blues with the Gothest girl I can” — specifically, a gal with “black lips and Bettie Page bangs” and “thrift-store vampire chic.”
There’s also a beautiful spin through Western swing on “Cows Around” (“Everything is better with cows around”) and a spirited jaunt through ‘60s hot-rod songs with “Mein Deutsches Motorrad” (a nod to Lund’s love of BMW motorcycles).
Of course there are drinking songs — including the Western two-step “Drink Like You Mean It” and the mopey delight “(You Ain’t a Cowboy) If You Ain’t Been Bucked Off” — and yodeling throughout the funny “Priceless Antique Pistol Shoots Startled Owner.”
Best of all, however, is Lund’s dynamic charisma that carries him from the D5-chord-rooted ominous song about a survivalist, “Gettin’ Down on the Mountain” (“I think I see a rip in the social fabric, brother can you spare some ammo?”) to the heartbreak of the straightforward “September,” where he unleashes a lonesome-cowboy wail to punctuate his tale of a rural man who loses his woman to New York City.
Then there’s his hilarious duet with Hayes Carll, “Bible on the Dash,” where the two rascals discover nothing gets them out of trouble like having a holy book on the dashboard (which backs up the excuse for excessive speeding to a police officer, “My foot is heavy with redemption”).
Always charming, “Cabin Fever” is insanely infectious.
Rating: 4.5 stars (out of five)
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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