Corb Lund: Live At Algonquin Commons Theatre

Corb Lund

Wrapping up our third and final consecutive evening of live music during our excursion to Ottawa, we took the short drive over to Algonquin Commons Theatre in Nepean, ON for our first encounter with Taber, AB country artist Corb Lund.  Admittedly, we’ve followed Corb’s musical journey casually since discovering his 2012 “Cabin Fever” album, but with plenty of exposure and heavy rotation of his 2021 “Agricultural Tragic” album cuts on SXM radio these last few years, the artist soon locked himself into our crosshairs.

Touring his latest “El Viejo” album across both Canada and the US this spring (and with plans to tour extensively across Europe in June), Corb Lund and ‘The Hurtin’ Albertans’ brought their blend of lively outlaw/indie-folk/western music to a packed and equally lively room on the Algonquin College campus.  Joined by Sean Burns (bass/vocals), Grant Siemens (guitars/multiple string instruments), and Lyle Molzan (drums), the quartet came out swinging with Corb’s popular hit “Bible on the Dash,” and eased off the gas pedal only a few times during their 90-minute set – the crowd matching Corb lyric for lyric during favorites such as “Roughest Neck Around,” “Five Dollar Bill,” and “(Gonna) Shine Up My Boots.”

Corb Lund

Dedicating his latest album to the memory of his late friend and mentor Ian Tyson, Lund recorded “El Viejo” entirely in his living room ‘whilst tapping into a common theme – possibly even a character thread – of the gambler, the outlaw who roams from place-to-place with no direction home’ (Official Press Release).  “We recorded this record in our living room all in a circle like a campfire, and there [were] no extra layers and no computer fuckery, and we’re gonna recreate that now and play some songs for you,” Corb announced from the stage. “The first one we’re going to play is, I believe, the world’s first country and western mixed martial arts song. It’s called Out on a Win and it’s about an old guy who wanted a local shot of glory.” 

Sharing “Old Familiar Drunken Feeling,” the first single released from the album, Corb was keen to share a tale behind this cut. “It’s a true story. Some songwriters say things are inspired by this and that, which is mostly bullshit, but this is a hundred percent exactly how it went down that night in Colorado,” he stated. “I could continue to introduce it, but it’s self-explanatory… It’s a cautionary tale…”  “Shot after shot, just like I was taught / Suppressed my feelings by all means / It was a mess I guess, but nonetheless a mess / Fairly well known to me / So, when the second set came / I was back on my game / And here’s what I recommend / If you think you’re gonna die ‘cause your way to freakin/ high / Just drown it all in Pendleton.”

Other new album cuts performed included a pair about gambling – “The Cardplayers” (“It’s a true story about being taken out of the casino after a gig for being too drunk”) and “When The Game Gets Hot,” along with what Corb declared to be the debut live performance of “Girl With The Stratocaster.” “We’re gonna play a song for you that we’ve never played live before,” he advised. “This is the debut, so you get to… you get to hear us screw it up. When I was younger, I was a great big Eagles fan, but I don’t care what you think, I don’t care. I still like the Eagles.” “Well, who’s that girl with the Stratocaster / Has anybody ever thought to ask her name / She’s playin’ with some boys across the border / With a western heart and a lonesome northern twang.”

Corb Lund

Winding down the evening with the powerhouse combination of “(Gonna) Shine Up My Boots” and “Rye Whiskey / Time To Switch To Whiskey,” Corb took a moment to offer his appreciation to the lively crowd. “Thank you, I love ya. This is a lot rowdier tonight than I expected,” he shared. “It’s one of those shows where I get the feeling you guys are eat, drink, be competitive.”  Returning for a solo-acoustic encore performance of “This Is My Prairie,” Corb would be joined one last time by The Hurtin’ Albertans, and together they closed the show with the always popular “Dig Gravedigger Dig.”

Corb sure was right – the crowd were very lively from start to finish – to the point that we’d almost forgotten how rowdy the country music faithful can be. One moment that stands out from the set (for me) was the chorus to “Hard On Equipment (Tool For the Job)” – “Well, it’s a vise grips for pliers, and pliers for a wrench / A wrench for a hammer, hammers everything else / It just don’t seem to make much difference / I sure do like him but he’s hard on equipment.” Surely, I can’t be the only one who does not detect an uncanny resemblance to the late Joe Diffie’s “Pickup Man” in the chords and timing – “You can set my truck on fire, roll it down a hill / But I still wouldn’t trade it for a Coupe DeVille… / I met all my wives in traffic jams / There’s just something women like about a Pickup Man.”  Must be distant cousins, right??? 

Set List:

  1. Bible On The Dash
  2. Good Copenhagen
  3. One Left In The Chamber
  4. Old Men
  5. Old Familiar Drunken Feeling
  6. Roughest Neck Around 
  7. Big Butch Bass Bull Fiddle
  8. Hard On Equipment (Tool For The Job)
  9. The Truck Got Stuck
  10.  Out On A Win
  11.  The Cardplayers
  12.  When The Game Gets Hot
  13.  Five Dollar Bill
  14.  Gettin’ Down On The Mountain
  15.  Girl With The Stratocaster
  16.  Insha’Allah
  17.  I Wanna Be In The Cavalry
  18.  (Gonna) Shine Up My Boots
  19.  Rye Whiskey / Time To Switch To Whiskey


  1. This Is My Prairie
  2. Dig Gravedigger Dig

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

Tags from the story
0 replies on “Corb Lund: Live At Algonquin Commons Theatre”