Corb Lund Concert Review

I don’t remember the first time I saw Corb Lund play live, must have been back about ’06 or ’07. It was in Churchill Square, or the Concrete Polygon as we like to call it. I think it was for the food festival, anyhow, I was working at Hope Mission at the time so Valerie and Joel met me there and we walked over to Churchill Square to catch his show. Some of my co-workers were already listening to his music and I knew they had good taste in music so I thought it prudent to hear what they were listening to and raving about so much.
My suspicions were confirmed, they did have good taste in music. Corb Lund and his band delivered a crowd-rousing show that left me wanting more. So I went to the store and bought two CD’s: Modern Pain and Five Dollar Bill.
The Music resonated with me. It spoke of things I was familiar with and we humans do like the familiar even when it is new.
I had been raised on country and western music. My Dad was a guitar player heavily influenced by Hank Williams and the Carter family with a little Flatt and Scruggs thrown in. In fact, I didn’t know there were other kinds of music until my teen years when I was introduced to rock and roll. Since then I have been on a life-long journey of new musical discoveries, everything from ABBA to Zappa but always retaining a love for country and western music.
Corb Lund was a breath of fresh country air in an era when most country and western music was barely discernible from pop music. Corb Lund knew his musical heritage and didn’t stray too far from the template.
On February 6th at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, henceforth know as the Jube, I was able to revisit the music of Mr Lund and it warmed my soul. His music has changed, not a lot, but it has matured and grown with him. His lyrics are the icing on the cake for me though. In his early albums I tapped my toes along to “We Used to Ride ’em”, and I really used to. I could relate. I used to ride ’em, not for very long, but I did. I was good for six seconds but that isn’t enough in a rodeo. I used to ride ’em though and Corb Lund gave me a song about it. And then “The Truck Got Stuck”, I was there. The only difference between a 4 wheel drive and a two wheel drive is that the 4 wheel drive gets stuck further in. I got stuck more times that I care to remember, even had the Hutterites pull me out once. I laughed as a flood of memories washed over me in tune to “The Truck Got Stuck”.
Corb Lund delighted me and many others that February evening with a well-rounded show of both golden oldies and new tunes. His backing band were amazing, being an envious guitar player wannabe I was particularly impressed by Grant Siemens. He blew me away with his guitar, mandolin and lap steel playing. Now I want a baritone guitar, thanks a lot Grant. Another highlight of the evening was a guest appearance by Geoff Berner singing “That’s What Keeps The Rent Down Baby”. A seriously hilarious song that resonated with me from the years that I worked in the inner city with the homeless, marginalised and wonderful people that live there. Mr Berner sang with The Hurtin’ Albertans backing him up and it was good. After the concert, Corb Lund was in the lobby signing and smiling but there was a road weariness evident in his face. He was polite and gracious but stopped short of being in the moment, I understand. It’s not an easy life and after working hard for an hour and a half he probably would have enjoyed a quiet room with a view instead of groupies and autograph hounds. I am in the latter bunch, an autograph seeker. He was polite enough to do two signatures for me and with a third on a record that I bought at the merch table, I left the Jube a happy man.
If The Corb Lund Band, The Hurtin’ Albertans or The Smalls ever play your town I would highly recommend taking the opportunity to hear them live. They are good on vinyl at thirty-three and a third but even better on a stage in your hometown (bonus if it’s Corb Lund’s hometown as well).

Yukon Blonde Concert Review

I enjoy seeing a band multiple times in different venues and different situations. Yukon Blonde is my most recent multi-view band. When I last saw them they were opening for Hey Rosetta! at the prestigious Francis Winspear Centre for Music, this time they were headlining the significantly less formal Starlite Room. The informal bar setting fitted the band’s songs of young love and desired girls nicely.
As much as I enjoy the musical stylings of Yukon Blonde, the portion of the evening I most anticipated came in the form of the opener, On An On. Hailing from Minneapolis, formed from the dissolved band Scattered Trees, their spacey Indie Rock sound captivated my ears since I first heard Give In. Their fantastic set contained a number of my favourite songs (setlist found below) and sounded almost exactly the same as their recordings. Despite the sound being slightly muddled at the beginning it was a very strong opening set.
Yukon Blonde took the stage shortly after 10 pm and quickly electrified the room. Their Indie yet still radio friendly songs are quickly recognisable and make it easy to join the hoard of fans belting out lyrics. Since this was a casual Saturday night concert I stuck around after the show to meet the band and attempt to snag a setlist and tour poster (I was successful). The band was very accommodating, inviting us backstage in an attempt to locate all five of their members and offering to sign my poster and setlist.
The concert had a certain unapologetic Canadian air to it. Not only does the band come from British Columbia and reference a territory in their name, but during the slight break between the main set and their encore performance of “Stairway,” the audience added, “please” to the standard chant of “one more song” in a bizarre display of politeness. As the concert also coincided Rebecca’s Birthday the band lead an uncoordinated audience in a rendition of Happy Birthday.
All in all it was a very good concert, having seen the headliner twice I would recommend seeing them for a lively Indie concert. If you get the chance also check out On An On as I thoroughly enjoy their music. Yukon Blonde is currently touring Canada with On An On.

Current Favourites

As a first post, I thought that it’d be fitting to give a brief overview of what I listen to. It turns out this is a much larger task than I initially predicted. With well over 400 albums in my iTunes library, a few hundred hard copies, and a few dozen concerts in my repertoire there’s a lot of music to choose from. I don’t tend to stick with one genre for very long though I do have a few preferred genres; Rock, Folk, and Jazz seem to be consistent favourites of mine with a decent amount of independent pop mixed in for good measure. My last attended concert was for the rock group Arkells and my next will be for Corb Lund in support of his new country album. My listening isn’t always erratic as I do have a few consistent favourites that I will likely always go back to. Radiation City, Billie Holiday, Arcade Fire, and The Decemberists top my most played lists as of right now. The below playlist contains some of my favourite songs at the moment. This list will probably be different by month.

Joel’s Favourites

Weathered Intro

Music and why it matters, that sounds like a good place to start. Music is a wide open topic and my taste in music is equally diverse. As I write this I am listening to a jazz playlist, earlier today I listened to Holst’s “The Planets” and Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”. Yesterday (a good song), I had Bob Dylan and Mountain back to back. There is a lot of music that I like and it is hard to define what I like but when I like it I know it. I also know what I don’t like and the reason I know is that I’ve taken the time to listen to it as well. So why does this matter? Music is powerful. This isn’t simply my humble opinion, this has been observed, documented, studied, contextualised and had a profit wrung out of it over and over again. Music moves us to tears, puts a bounce in our step, brings back memories (mostly good) and so much more. I use music to relax, to calm my nerves and to cheer me up. I can put on mellow background music to help me focus on work or lively music to put energy in my routine, be it work or play. People use music to promote ideologies and people use music to herald victories. Music is ingrained in our lives, much of the time without us even being aware of it. Car horns are pitched as well as the chimes on microwave ovens. The birds sing in the trees and the Muzak invades our shopping trips. Music is everywhere and that means it matters. I grew up listening to my Dad play Hank Williams and I watched my son grow up while we played Hank Williams together. It’s in our family. It’s in our DNA. It’s literally everywhere and it matters. I love music. I love to listen to the intricacies of Oscar Peterson on piano. I love the craftsmanship of the Beatles. I love the passion of a hurtin’ cowboy song. I love the teamwork in an orchestra. I love music. And I want to share that love with others, hence the Weathered Music website and our dialogues on music. All kinds of music. What we are listening to now, what we have been moved by in the past. The songs that we play on guitar, the songs that we play with others and on other instruments. The concerts that we go to and the moments in our lives that are touched by music. While we may not agree on what we like or do not like in music we can agree that there is a lot of great music and we want to share our passion for music with you. Welcome to the musical world of Weathered Music.