OSHEAGA 2013 Featured Artist Interview: Corb Lund
It’s nearly time for TheBlueIndian.com crew to head to Montreal to cover the 8th annual OSHEAGA Festival in Montreal! Our bags have been packed for weeks and with anticipation building up, we thought we introduce you to one artist in particular that deserves a bit of your time if you’re heading to the festival. And if you can’t make it to Montreal this August 2nd-4th, you can catch him on tour throughout most of the year. Ladies and gents, meet CORB LUND.
TheBlueIndian.com: I was stunned by the recent flooding in Calgary. I’m sure the Canadian music community has sort of relief benefit in the works, but to your knowledge, if anyone wanted to donate to aid in the recovery process, what would be the best outlet to do that?
Corb Lund: I never know how to answer that, because I’m in favour of local charity whenever possible, but in this case, my research is telling me that the Red Cross is the best bet. They’ve been on the ground from the beginning doing a good job keeping people warm, dry and fed until things normalize. Their ratio of admin costs to actual relief spending is really good, too. Most of the money goes to the people who need it. I’m involved in at least four or five benefits in the next month or so. A lot of musicians have been stepping up. Businesses, too, the whole community has handled the disaster well. It’s important to note that some of the most devastating flooding happened in smaller towns near Calgary. High River got pretty much wiped right out.
Osheaga marks our first ever visit to Montreal! Though you’re not from the area, is there anything in particular that you recommend we do while we’re there?
Montreal is one of my favourite cities. Just walking around anywhere is a good start. I guess some of the classics are Schwartz’s Deli for awesome corned beef, the Bifteck on St Laurent for drinks then Fairmount Bagel at four AM after the bar for fresh baking. That’s a good beginning. Take in a Grimskunk show if you’re lucky enough to find one.
Over the years, you’ve shared the stage with numerous musical icons. Who are a few players that you’d love to do a song with but haven’t yet?
I’d like to write and sing a creepy noir-ish old school country duet with Amanda Palmer. I’d like to hear her take on Floyd Cramer piano styles. And Marty Robbins, but he’s dead so that’s tough unless we go the Tupac holograph route.
I imagine you’ll have a bit of free time at Osheaga. What other acts on the bill do you plan on seeing?
The Gaslight Anthem for sure, Shovels & Rope too. Beck is always fun. Most of the acts are totally different than me, which is nice. I like being the weirdo country act at the rock fest. I relish that role.
From the time you’ve spent touring in the United States, do you have a favorite city to visit or play in?
Lots for different reasons. Austin is great, very creative, I have a tonne of friends there. New York is awesome because it’s New York. And our shows have been really good there recently. And Montana/Wyoming/Colorado are always really, because I love the wide open spaces of the American West, it’s sort of my heritage. We have a pretty good following of legit working cowboys that like us out there. They don’t know what ‘alt-country’ even means, I don’t think. They just like my old school cowboy songs and they understand the Western details in some of my writing.
What were you doing when you found out George Jones had passed away? I know a number of country artists did tributes at their shows around the time and was curious if you were playing shows at the time or did anything to commemorate his work.
I was just getting over Stompin’ Tom when I heard about George Jones. I didn’t do any George tributes, but we’ve been doing ‘The Hockey Song’ every night since Tom left us, out of respect. His passing touched me a lot more that George Jones’ did, although I’m a Jones fan as much as the next guy. Losing Tom Connors is a big deal. He was a total artist. Didn’t give a shit and did things exactly his own way.
Other than your following, what have you found to be the most noticeable difference between the audiences you play to in the States and the ones you play to in Canada?
Besides not making any money down there? (just kidding…) Our audience in Canada is sort of half indie/underground/outlaw/weirdo/whatever country fans and half straight radio country fans. Up here we play about evenly half country festivals and half folk/rock/indie festivals. In the States our audience is almost 100% people that like underground country and songwriters. We don’t get many straight new country fans down there, which suits me fine. I can play more of my obscure stuff.