Corb Lund Talks New EP “Cover Your Tracks”, Songwriting, And Working With Ian Tyson

Kat Harlton
Lead Photo: Laura Harvey

Corb Lund‘s distinct blend of Americana-meets-roots-meets-alt-country has attracted accolades from critics in Canada and the U.S. Lund’s 2015 release, Things That Can’t Be Undone, was produced by Grammy Award-nominated producer Dave Cobb (Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton). His previous record, 2014’s Counterfeit Blues, was recorded at the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis, TN, and was the focus of a 2-hour CMT special. Previous to that, 2012’s Cabin Fever debuted at #1 on the Billboard Canadian Charts, and Hair In My Eyes Like A Highland Steer is certified Platinum in Canada. Along with his band, the Hurtin’ Albertans, Lund tours extensively throughout Canada, the U.S., Europe, and Australia. Currently signed to New West Records, Lund is an eight-time Canadian Country Music Awards Roots Artist of the Year, the 2017 BreakOut West Roots Solo Artist of the Year, and has many other awards and accolades, including a JUNO Award, under his belt.

We had the opportunity to chat with Lund and talk about his new EP, “Cover Your Tracks“, featuring single “Ride On” recorded with Ian Tyson, songwriting, and what’s next.

CC: Laura Harvey

Kat: Can you talk about the inspiration behind your soon to be released EP “Cover Your Tracks”?

Corb: It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years, record a bunch of old favourites from my past. Most of them I’ve been playing with my band live for years and I’ve had the same guys forever so we have a distinct band sound. So the idea was to filter these old favourites of mine through our lens and try to make them ‘ours’ a little bit. I think we mostly succeeded. It’s a pretty diverse bunch of songs, from a variety of styles. I like a lot of different stuff, I guess.

Kat: You worked with Ian Tyson on your current single “Ride On”. What was that experience like?

Corb: It was great, he’s an old pro. We’ve been friends for years, we’re both from the foothills of the Rockies up here in Alberta. I thought he brought a real gravitas to the old AC/DC ballad about having lived a tough life. I wasn’t sure he’d want to do it, but he was all for it. Turns out he likes it a little loud sometimes. He even made a cool music video for it with me, shot on our respective ranches. And he got up and sang it with me at the Calgary Stampede, in front of 3000 people. He’s pretty hip for 86 years old.

Kat: You’ve been writing and performing songs for years; can you share your song writing process with us?

Corb: It’s a mess, but usually it starts with a line or two that’s kind of catchy and/or meaningful and it evolves from there. It usually takes me weeks or months or years to write songs. I don’t finish hardly any in one sitting. I’m suspicious of my own brain and I need some time depth to decide if they’re any good or not. Then after I have them written on acoustic guitar, a whole other process is arranging them with my band. There are a lot of components that can make or break a good song, from the lyric to the chord changes to the band approach to the recording. It’s not an easy proposition. Also, you never really learn how to do it. The second you think you know, you start to suck, in my opinion. At least for myself. I dig pretty deep.

Kat: You’ve worked with some big names like Grammy Award-nominated producer Dave Cobb, and have toured extensively throughout North America, Europe and Australia, is there a moment that stands out as a career highlight for you so far?

Corb: Actually, not really. There have been a thousand little moments, but I’ve never really had a defining, career making event. I’m still waiting for that one. Mañana, mañana.

Kat: Is there an artist you’d like to perform with, that you haven’t had the chance to yet. Or a song you’d love to do a cover of?

Corb: I’m a pretty big KD Lang fan, she’s from Alberta also. We share sort of a punk rock/indie background mixed with western cowboy culture and I’ve loved her music forever. Bobbie Gentry too, wherever she is, she’s a badass. I wish I’d seen Marty Robbins live, too. Too late for that. And Jerry Reed and Johnny Horton. All the best ones are gone.

Kat: What’s next?

Corb: Just putting the finishing touches on a brand new album of my own material that will be out in the spring. It’s kicking my ass, I think I’ve put more work into this one than any record I’ve done. Be glad when it’s wrapped up. But I think it’s worth it, I got a pretty good packet of songs going on this one.

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