Tall, bright-eyed and handsome, Canadian troubadour Corb Lund is that rare breed of indie-country artist who spins yarn with a poet’s eye. In his song “Weight of the Gun”—which marries Johnny Cash lyrics to a swinging, soulful groove—Lund renders the perspective of a guilt-wracked killer in prison: A concrete cell is especially tough/On a boy used to Montana sun.
“I do a lot of specific storytelling,” says the Juno-winning singer/songwriter over beers at Atomic Liquors. “I grew up listening to Marty Robbins and [Johnny] Cash.”
Lund and his band, The Hurtin’ Albertans, draw a diverse crowd. Like Willie Nelson before them, they bring out the shitkickers and hipsters in equal measure, with their upcoming National Finals Rodeo appearance being no exception. And when Lund delivers a tune like “Sadr City”—another track from his ninth album, last year’s brilliant Things That Can’t Be Undone—about a military vet haunted by his Iraq deployment, you sense the respect Lund feels for his subject even as he breaks your heart with it.
“I’m just telling a guy’s story,” he says, before advising me on the best way to measure and cut legs for a table. (Lund is a man’s man.) “It’s important to remember there are parts of a person’s story that aren’t political. They’re human.”
Corb Lund at the Gold Buckle Zone, MGM Grand, Dec. 8, 9 p.m., free, mgmgrand.com