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Corb Lund

Losin' Lately Gambler – 2009 (New West)

Reviewed by Jacquilynne Schlesier

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CDs by Corb Lund

After a brief detour into military history on his "Horse Soldier, Horse Soldier" album, Corb Lund has returned to his usual subject matter - ranching and rodeos, gambling and other vices. They're traditional topics for a western band, but Canadian singer Lund is never simply rehashing concepts that have been done before. Even at his most humorous and uptempo, his songs carry a dark, modern edge. There's a deep awareness of the way traditions are changing.

The album opens with Horse Doctor, Come Quick, a farmer's desperate plea for a veterinarian's services - as a drug dealer. The title of the album comes from the second track, A Game in Town Like This, about a down-and-out gambler who has already lost so much to his habit that the only thing he can see to do is to stay in and try to win it back. The rest of the disc runs through a similar pack of hard living characters, from a female gunslinger (Devil's Best Dress) to real-life songwriter Willy P. Bennett who finds it hard to stay out of trouble in Hard to Keep a White Shirt Clean. The new material winds up with This Is my Prairie, a defiant anthem declaring allegiance to the Prairie lifestyle, despite the changes that have and will come.

Fans of Lund's earlier work will find many fine examples of the style they've always enjoyed. For newcomers, this is an excellent introduction to his work - there's even a live cut of the quintessential Lund song, Time to Switch to Whiskey.