The latest release from Canadian roots-country artist Corb Lund is a bit of an oddity — it’s kind of a live album, but not really, and sort of a greatest-hits comp, but not exactly. Lund and his band trekked from their Alberta home to Memphis’s fabled Sun Studios and spent two days recording new versions of 12 fan favorites from two of his early records. The intent was to capture the Sun mystique by banging out stripped-down, no-frills ensemble takes that Lund characterizes as “raw, organic and dirty”; what resulted is all that, and very much what you’d expect to hear from a veteran road band playing live. Sometimes the less-is-more approach does yield more (“Counterfeiters’ Blues,” “Big Butch Bass Bull Fiddle,” and “Roughest Neck Around” all particularly shine in being rubbed a bit more raw); sometimes, less (“no frills” means no running CB narrative on Lund’s trucker ode to his homeland, “Hurtin’ Albertan,” for one). Most of the time, though, it argues for just how good Lund’s evocative, regionally rooted songs are, no matter their rendition. (Out Tuesday).
ESSENTIAL “Big Butch Bass Bull Fiddle“Stuart Munro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.