There’s a scene in Blade Runner in which Roy, the leader of the gang of renegade Replicants (played by Rutger Hauer), stands on a building’s ledge and watches Detective Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Ford) hanging by his fingertips from the ledge in the pouring rain. Roy smiles and says, “Quite a thing to live in fear, isn’t it?”
I am here to tell you that Cord Lund is Roy and every male pop music star you hear on your local corporate radio station is Rick Deckard. Upon hearing Lund’s fantastic album, Cabin Fever, all of them are living in fear. They are waiting for him to step on their fingers and send them plummeting to the darkness below where they will be forgotten.
This is my favorite country album of 2012. Corb Lund deserves to be well known outside his Canadian homeland. His songwriting is funnier, more wicked, and sharper than anything I’ve heard from a male songwriter in a long while. There is nothing this good on American FM homogenized country radio. Nothing.
He must have the cookie cutter artists terrified, and I love that he calls them out. The first track on the album, “Getting’ Down on the Mountain,” is a story of a post-apocalyptic future in which Lund calls out pretenders that won’t be able to keep up “when the shit goes down.” In “Dig Gravedigger Dig,” Lund asks a gravedigger to “keep on diggin’” because “that big ole hole just keep gettin’ bigger.” I’m guessing Lund is filling it with the dead dreams of everyone you see on CMT hanging up their four-figure hats after hearing his record. The title of “(You Ain’t a Cowboy) If You Ain’t Been Bucked Off” sums up his feelings on these musicians quite well.
The whole album is a treat. “Bible on the Dash,” which features Hayes Carll, features advice on how to avoid speeding tickets. “Cows Around” is the hippest, grooviest, pro-bovine song of all time. “Priceless Antique Pistol Shoots Startled Owner” (with some great mandolin work) is so clever it will render you speechless. “The Gothest Girl I Can” is a great tale of Lund’s affection for a girl equally at home in a “country metal punk rock band” or “leather bondage fetish bars.”
The album ends with two bluesy tracks – one mellow and one rocking. “One Left in the Chamber” is about a man coming to what seems to be the only decision left. “Pour ‘Em Kinda Strong” is about the same thing, but the man in this song can’t come to grips with his sins just yet. In the first song, the man is ready to meet his maker (or perhaps the gravedigger Lund mentioned earlier). In the second, the man is bleeding, angry, and eventually sorrowful, but not before spitting a lot of venom.
Lund has plenty of venom to spit in the eyes of corporate country music. He’s my new hero, and Cabin Fever is your new favorite record.
~ Nik Havert
Nik Havert is a writer, DJ, harmonica player, martial arts instructor, comic book publisher, crime fighter,music lover, cult movie enthusiast, and modern day Renaissance man. He hopes to shark cage dive sometime in the next few years and enjoys travel and good natural root beer.
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