"Gather 'round me all you sinners/ All you gamblers and card sharps/ You drinkers and abusers/ All you fighters at your hearts/ You might pay heed/ 'Cause ain't nothin' ever walked the earth like this before." - Corb Lund

Former Canadian rodeo rider Corb Lund joins a posse of artists from his homeland on Australian tours during the bleak northern winters.

The fourth generation rodeo rider spent his youth riding horseback and chasing cattle on the family farm in rural Alberta, Canada.

Corb is the son of D.C. Lund, a former bronc rider and steer wrestler, and Patti Ivins, a two-time Calgary Stampede barrel racing champion.

"Both sides of my family, the Lunds and the Ivinses have been in Alberta punching cows, breaking horses, ranching and rodeoing for four generations from back when it was still the Northwest Territories at the beginning of the last century, and before that, down in Utah," Lund says in the liner notes for his third solo disc Five Dollar Bill.

He says the highlight of his junior rodeo career was competing at the Calgary Stampede in 1981.

The day before, while practising at the family ranch near Lethbridge, a steer he was riding bucked him off and stomped on his head.

Corb Lund - photo by Fish Griwkowsky

After moving to the city to study jazz guitar and bass he figured that while becoming a professional rodeo rider had its appeal, he would have a longer career if he went into music.

Lund, who played Tamworth, says he chose music ahead of rodeo for a good reason.
"The money's just as bad but it's safer".

He says the highlight of his junior rodeo career was competing at the Calgary Stampede in 1981.

The day before, while practising at the family ranch near Lethbridge, a steer he was riding bucked him off and stomped on his head.

"I didn't go to the national finals, because I didn't go to enough rodeos to rack up points. I never did enough steer wrestling to do well at it."

Lund, 34, retreated from rodeo to rock band The Smalls for 12 years.

The Corb Lund Band began in 1994 as an opportunity for Lund and his friends to play country/folk outside of their other musical project.

Lund's Edmonton trio featured upright bass player, Kurt Ciesla, and drummer Brady Valgardson.

Their debut was cassette-only indie album, Modern Pain, (1995) then Unforgiving Mistress in 1999.


Cover of Five Dollar Bill CD

Dead Reckoner drummer Harry Stinson produced Five Dollar Bill (Stony Plain)
in 2002 after Lund worked in Austin for about five months.

Lund is oft compared to famed Alberta singing cattle rancher and former folkie Ian Tyson and fellow rodeo refugees Red Steagall, Moe Bandy and Chris LeDoux.

Although his earthy songs have an evocative and rustic appeal he doesn't appear to have the deep vocal timbre and dynamics of those peers on Five Dollar Bill.


The disc sleeves feature a 1923 U.S. $5 bill and photographs an 11-year-old Lund steer riding and steer wrestling, as well as photos of both his mother and father rodeoing.
"I was a pretty decent steer rider when I was a kid," says Lund whose father was also a veterinarian as well as rodeo rider.

The title track reeks of history - Canadian history about running liquor into the US during prohibition.

The story involves the narrator attempting to retrieve a five-dollar bill that was stolen from him on one of his runs.

"I wrote my new song on a five dollar bill/ But I won't be able to sing it until/ I get hot on the trail for to pick up the track/ Of the dirty little thief and get my five bucks back."


Lund may be surprised to learn that his debut Melbourne gig is on the land where cattle and sheep once roamed in the 19th century.

Descendants of the farmers and the cattle now roam the fertile volcanic dairy belt beside the Hopkins River at Warrnambool.

For nostalgia the singer could recreate history with a little roping and barrel racing for the women folk at the Cornish Arms, Brunswick, on Saturday January 31.

That's if he hasn't suffered a fall or two in Tamworth.

Corb and band also perform a Rye house party on Sunday February 1 and the Rainbow Hotel, Fitzroy, on Wednesday February 4.


Corb Lund - photo by Fish Griwkowsky

Lund is the latest in a posse of Canadians to chance their music on the radio starved local scene.

Jason McCoy, 33, toured here in summer of 2002 with Fred Eaglesmith and returns in February.

And chart-topping Medicine Hat born turbo tonker Terri Clark, 35 and holding, plays Geelong on Friday January 30 and Horsham on Saturday January 31.

It's hoped that David Heard - host of PBS show Acid Country - will ensure his Wimmera wheat belt home town rolls out the Geelong footy club blue and white carpet for Terri and band.

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