Road dogs, Lund and the band headline Canadian country and folk festivals, as well as gigging at New York City nightspots and America’s finest honky-tonks. “We’re able to straddle the line between songwriter folk and straight country, which is cool,” says Lund. “We do funky clubs and we do folk rooms, along with festivals.” In July there’s a residency at the legendary Calgary Stampede’s Centennial celebration, which is only natural, since Lund is a fourth-generation cowboy himself. He started rodeo-ing as a youngster and won his first trophy (for steer riding) at age 11. “My grandpas, parents, cousins, uncles, everybody competed in the Stampede,” says Lund. “The Calgary Stampede is a big part of family tradition.”
Just as Lund mixes up styles on his recordings and the types of venues he plays, a special edition of Cabin Fever will feature an extra disc with an acoustic version of the tracks. “The electric one’s done live, but the acoustic one’s even more live,” says Lund. “We were all sitting right beside each other and are in each other’s mikes. We kept it as unpolished as possible.”
Listening to the acoustic disc’s banjo, guitar, and handclaps, as well as Lund’s Western-inspired songwriting, one can’t help but think the pared-down approach is yet another aspect of the Lund family tradition: After all, Lund learned to sing as a nipper when his grandfather taught him the campfire standard “Strawberry Roan,” which Grandpa Lund picked up via oral tradition from fellow trailhands. “I’ve got one foot in old-fashioned cowboy music,” says Lund, “but I treat it with some abandon and irreverence. The reality is we don’t live in that world anymore – yet the cowboys were kind of punk rockers in their day.”
As for Corb Lund, his Western heritage stays with him, no matter where he roams. “My whole life is sort of a dichotomy between being a cowboy kid and living in a city,” says Lund. “I guess that informs my music too.” On Cabin Fever, that split personality burns bright.