Lund pushes past the wall
Three years ago, Corb Lund began a long struggle to produce his seventh studio album.
“I was just hitting a wall after the sixth record,” the 43-year-old country artist said. “I was really stumped for awhile.”
For the first year and a half of the album-writing process, Lund spent time living in Las Vegas, New York and Austin. He then retreated to the northern Alberta log cabin he built with his aunt and uncle.
After he finished writing the songs, Lund brought them to a recording studio in Edmonton. His touring band, Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans bass player Kurt Ciesla, guitarist Grant Siemens and drummer Brandy Valgardson, spent only two weeks recording the songs for the album, aptly named Cabin Fever.
“After being out there (in the cabin) by myself for a few weeks, you start to feel a little snicky,” he says of how he chose the album title.
The song recording followed a unique format. Lund and his band members have recorded songs in layers, meaning each member plays their part and it gets recorded separately. This time, Lund says they were tired of that and wanted to do something different.
“We did everything at the same time,” he says of recording the songs together. “If you’ve got a band that goes together like us, there’s a real cohesion to it.”
Cabin Fever features a second CD with the same songs as the first, but done completely in acoustics.
“I think it showcases a different side of the band,” says Lund. “My guys are versatile and it helps display that.”
Lund draws on inspiration for his lyrics through his family history.
“My grandpas were ranchers and my dad’s a cowboy too,” he says. “They used to sing these old trail songs, these old ballads.”
It wasn’t long before Lund realized he could pick up his guitar and play these cowboy songs.
Although this is where his inspiration comes from, Lund says there is no overall theme for the album.
“I get bored easily,” he says. “I try to make records interesting. I try to make them flow in an interesting way.”
The first song on the album, Gettin’ Down on the Mountain, is about civilization meltdown. Lund says in the country, people are used to preparing for disaster, like a two-week blizzard that he’s seen on the ranch. The One Left in the Chamber has a completely different message and tone.
“It’s a song about suicide,” he says. “It’s a very dark one.”
Lund says suicide ballads were a popular theme in the old days, but he doesn’t see people recording them as much today.
Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans will headline the Edmonton Folk Festival on August 12. Lund says he hasn’t played in the festival in years.
“It was more of a side stage kind of thing,” he says of his last performance in the festival.
“(Being on the) main stage in Edmonton is a huge thing for me. It’s like a huge homecoming.”
Cabin Fever will be released worldwide on August 14.