You can always count on a cowboy. Well, almost always. Take Corb Lund. For the past couple of decades, the everyman country-rock singer-songwriter and his crew of Hurtin’ Albertans have dependably dished up a new platter of twang ’n’ torch every couple of years. So it’s kind of surprising to realize that Agricultural Tragic — Lund’s 10th album — is his first release in five years (save for a stop-gap covers EP last year). He says that’s because he took his time writing, rehearsing and recording this one. And I have no reason to doubt him. Even so, if I’m being honest, Agricultural Tragic really isn’t that different from its forebears — nor is it even half as sad as its title. And that’s definitely no gripe. After all, you’d have to be a durn fool to balk at this batch of smart-mouthed honky-tonk hootenannys and rambunctious rockabilly raveups about outrunning grizzlies, killing rats, dancing with your spurs on, appreciating old coots, reconsidering tattoos and debating the eternal question of whiskey vs. gin. Whichever side you’re on in that last one, you’ll want to toast Lund for delivering another two-stepping triumph with Agricultural Tragic. Count on it.
THE PRESS RELEASE: “Corb Lund is set to release his first album of original material in five years, Agricultural Tragic. Lund says “I worked really hard on this album — harder than I’ve ever worked before. This time around I took my time and wrote more songs, rehearsed more with the band, and explored sounds much more deeply. It took some time, but I’m really proud of this one and I’m excited to finally be able to share it.” Agricultural Tragic is a record with instantly detectable depth and energy. Its title draws a taut thread backwards in time through Waylon, Williams — even before Robert Johnson — to that pre-fenced and perilous era of exchange between untamed infinity and we humans striving to make this land ours, using heart, hope and horses. The album’s title, Agricultural Tragic, is also the name of Lund’s self-applied subgenre. While examining his own body of work, he noticed and wryly named this larger narrative string of rural adversities. So-called “Ag-Trag” themes continue to feature prominently in Lund’s latest songwriting, thus leading him to choose Agricultural Tragic for the name of his 10th full-length studio album.”