by Bill Forman
You can get all the details at the ranch's website, but I figured I’d also share this bit of info on Lund’s connection to ranching culture, courtesy of Chico Basin Ranch’s David Leach:
Growing up in a ranching and rodeo family, Corb’s songs tell tales of the west and accurately hit the subtle nuances that ring true with those who know the trials, tribulations and good times that come from working with the land and living a lifestyle revolving around horses and cattle.
“My family is all ranchers and rodeo people,” Lund says. “They’ve been in Canada for about 100 years, and before that they were raising cattle in Utah and Nevada. Some of my relatives are still down there. I grew up rodeoing. I was a steer rider — that’s like the junior version of bull riding. I was on horseback pretty much as soon as I could walk.”
Lund’s interest in musical storytelling was bred by his boyhood love of Marty Robbins (whose classic 1959 LP Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs was a crucial discovery) and Johnny Horton (whose hits like “The Battle of New Orleans” and “North to Alaska” impressed the budding history buff). Lund acknowledges the impact of other performers — Kris Kristofferson (now a New West label mate), Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. But some even more important influences ran in the family.
“My grandpas used to sing all these old Western cowboy ballads,” Lund says. “Those songs come from before recorded music — they’re traditional numbers that the cowboys always sing in camp, or just for fun, to entertain themselves. My grandpas knew all those songs. The first song I ever knew was called ‘The Strawberry Roan,’ a cowboy song that’s at least 150 years old.”
I really can’t speak highly enough about Corb Lund & His Hurtin’ Albertans, both live and on record. So here’s a couple videos just to get you going: