Lund, the Canadian singer/songwriter known for powerful, rocking originals, departs from form to honor eight of his favorite songwriters. He isn’t simply covering signature tunes, but lesser-known compositions he admires.
The Hurtin’ Albertans, Lund’s longtime band, retain their unvarnished, gutbucket simplicity as his voice and acoustic guitar meld perfectly with bassist Kurt Ciesla, drummer Brady Valgardson, and guitarist Grant Siemens, who moves between electric, acoustic, lap steel, and baritone.
The Albertans are in outstanding form, delivering raw rockabilly flavor of John Evans’ “Pasa-Get-Down-Dena” which allows Siemens to inject rollicking boogie licks, wailing Setzer-like flourishes, and lap-steel embellishments. As Lund tears through a stomping version of Hayes Carll’s “Highway 87,” Siemens contributes raw, snarling leads, insistent rhythm licks and a rip-roaring break. His playing is no less intense on Carll’s Chuck Berryesque “Little Rock.”
Siemens is equally impressive on Lund’s ballads. For Todd Snider’s “Age Like Wine,” and Tom Russell’s “Blue Wing,” he complements Lund’s vocal with restraint and subtlety. The sound is simple yet full-bodied on “Spookin’ the Horses,” enlivened by Siemens’ graceful, reverb-drenched accompaniment, something he reprises behind Lund on his graceful rendition of Ian Tyson’s “Road to Las Cruces.”
This article originally appeared in VG’s July 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.