If Corb Lund hadn't been born a Canadian Viking rancher rodeoing Albertan, he'd probably have been a Texan. His songs have always dealt with horses, cattle, prairies, drilling rigs, poker, liquor and occasionally even women. Lund's new New West Records album, Losin' Lately Gambler, is the latest in a series of pointedly topical records that have made Lund the Canadian Country Music Association's Roots Artist of the Year six years in a row. (A serious accomplishment in a country that boasts Fred Eaglesmith.) Unlike his narrowly focused and much-awarded 2007 release Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier!, which dealt entirely with cavalry themes and personal duty, Gambler takes a humorous look at modern cowboy life with witty tracks like "Horse Doctor, Come Quick," "Talkin' Veterinarian Blues" and "Steer Rider's Blues," delivered with all the aplomb of a character in Lonesome Dove. What separates Lund from the pack is his ability to draw his family ranching and rodeo experience into his songs, abetted by his band of ultra-tight virtuosos. Lund and Losin' Lately Gambler present us with a new and meaningful 21st century addition to the traditions of Western and cowboy music, something to succeed the likes of Ian Tyson and Ramblin' Jack Elliott and save their art from from total extinction.
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