[18 November 2007]
The cavalry are coming! Charging to the sound of a galloping stand-up bass, blasts of mariachi horns and insistent pedal steel, Alberta’s country-son and Canadian Country Music Awards “Roots Artist of the Year” (for the fourth consecutive year, no less), the consummate singing storyteller Corb Lund and his backing band the Hurtin’ Albertans on their exemplary fifth album Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier! succinctly encapsulate the lengthy history of the sabre-rattling cavalryman, while embedding a subtle yet contemporary anti-war message within the majority of songs here. From the record’s bookend number “I Wanna Be in the Cavalry”, a Celtic-influenced fiddle and drum tale in two parts that begins as a patriotic cry only to end in bloodshed, disease and disillusion as the riders are forced to eat their own mounts, to the title-track, a dust-kicking, country rock history lesson swiftly evoking the bloody cavalier conflicts from Little Big Horn to Afghanistan today, and on to the dirt-farm Delta blues of “What That Song Means Now” as a hardworking man loses both his legs and two sons to the American Civil War, these are stories that take no prisoners and pull no punches. Basically, roots music at its finest.
Corb Lund EPK 2007