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Old 10-29-2009, 10:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Feb 2009
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Default Modern Country Albums

Flower Child's done a great job with creating a thread for people to review the classic country albums, however I feel that a thread for newer albums would be nice. This is an open thread, anyone can contribute a review, however long or short it is. As far as what constitutes as "modern" I'd say anything from 1990-Present. I'll contribute the first review, a mere copy and paste from my Gothic Country thread, however I'm not in the mood for doing another write up. Hopefully this will catch on with some of the country listeners on the forum and with any luck will create some new fans.

Corb Lund - Losin' Lately Gambler

I really couldn't ask for a better album to come out this year. Truth be told, Mr. Corb Lund was really the first modern country artist I got into that wasn't of the "Gothic" variety. Even back then really the only Gothic Country band I was listening to was Elliott BROOD. I was pretty adamant that all modern country was crappy love songs about a dog, a truck, and possibly a girl. My friend Chris heard this and sat me down and put on Corb Lund's 2007 album Horse Solder! Horse Soldier! and my entire world was flipped upside down. The simplistic song writing coupled with humor, blue collar work, small towns, and history was more than enough to quell all negative thoughts on modern country and really delve into his music.

Just 21 months after releasing Horse Soldier! Hores Soldier! Corb is back with Losin' Lately Gambler a step back into familiar grounds. The album lacks the history concept that made Horse Soldier! stand out, however it includes everything that makes Corb an amazing likable musician. Each of the songs is a reflection of a previous one, which almost makes this album seem like a collection of B-Sides; however, like Drive-By Truckers have proved this year, it's not always a bad thing. Losin' Lately Gambler is far more reminiscent of Hair in my Eyes Like A Highland Steer, yet there are touches of Horse Soldier!in it.

Here's a small write up of each of the songs, I normally try and avoid this type of reviewing, but I'm at a bit of a loss in what to say.

01. "Horse Doctor, Come Quick" - 3:35

Great song to open the album up with, instantly sounds different, but then it just goes straight into ol' fashioned Corb style. Essentially the song is about a veterinarian in a farming community, what they do, how they go about their business, and how important they are to smaller communities that rely on animals to help them survive. Great little solo in it and just an overall fun song.

02. "Steer Rider's Blues" - 3:00

Here's a song that I can really relate to, but for different reasons. Essentially it's a story about a young teenager growing up within the rodeo community. They've won a good amount of buckles and the praise of the rodeo folk, yet in doing so they've ostracized themselves from their peers, who aren't interested in his rodeo skills. Really illustrates Corb's time in small Albertan towns with that disconnect between the adults and the youth, and himself feeling torn between which side to join.

03. "A Game In Town Like This" - 4:21

Best song on the album hands down, very similar to "All I Wanna Do Is Play Cards" off Hair In my Eyes. However this song is far deeper, about the sacrifices the main character has made to support their gambling habit. Probably the slowest song, but really showcases Corb's songwriting talent. It also really says something for the intimacy of living in a small town and playing with the same people, the lines "Who would go to Vegas with a game in town like this?" really does a good job at driving that point in hard.

04. "Alberta Says Hello" - 3:22

The slowest song on the album about the memories of someone moving away and the desire for them to come back. One of the more romantic and sad songs on the album, not much to say about it.

05. "Talkin' Veterinarian Blues" - 3:40

Well after the sob fest with "Alberta Says Hello" Corb knows how to cheer people up, and he does it so well with this number. Essentially it's about a father and son Veterinarian store and their way of... well kind of conning city folks out of their money. Some really good lines in this song, with some cunning wit that will really have you laughing out loud.

06. "It's Hard To Keep A White Shirt Clean" - 2:33

Very simple song for anyone who's ever worked outdoors. It's impossible to keep a white shirt clean if you're working in it outdoors. You can bleach it, that'll do it for awhile, but eventually the dust and dirt will just permanently make it a pale brown. Very reminiscent of songs like "Hard On Equipment" or "Always Keep an Edge on Your Knife", truthful songs about the little things in life.

07. "Long Gone to Saskatchewan" - 3:31

A song about moving to Saskatchewan to work because of the outrageous prices of Alberta for farmers. This is a song for Canadians, unless you're very familiar with places like Alberta or Saskatchewan you probably won't get some of the references; however, it's still just as enjoyable as any of the other songs. Corb really likes to include these songs for other people, so this is more of a tribute than anything else, but it's a good one.

08. "Devil's Best Dress" - 2:32

This song really reminded me of "Mora (Blackberry)" off Unforgiving Mistress. The structure and the lead guitar licks were very similar. Nice little song that breaks up the flow a bit, but some good lyrics about treating a woman like a woman because you never know if they're psychotic, also it's the right thing to do.

09. "The Only Long Rider I Know" - 3:58

This is a nice upbeat song with a more of a Country-Rock sound to it that does a great job at getting your foot tapping. It's probably one of the most unique songs off the album, but has a great rhythm and some pretty well written lyrics. A real tip of the hat to Canada's greatest Country-Rocker Steve Earle.

10. "Chinook Wind" - 3:30

Anyone who's ever been to Calgary or Edmonton or just about anywhere in Alberta during the winter will understand. For those of you who don't, it's REALLY cold. It's pretty much as simple as that.

11. "This Is My Prairie" - 3:48

A very simplistic slow song about the love many rural families have for the area they live. Not only the land, but the houses that they inhabit and the culture that they surround themselves in. Corb adds a touch of melon collie to the song that really helps it along.

12. "Rye Whiskey / Time To Switch To Whiskey (live in Australia)" - 4:38

A live version of "Time to Switch to Whiskey" from the album Five Dollar Bill but with some new verses and crowd interaction. It really showcases how much the audience is a part of the show, and not just there to sit and listen, but to interact and sing along. Great way to end the album and if it doesn't make you want to see Corb Lund live then it proves that you do not have a soul.

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