Corb Lund is no stranger to a cover song. Before his stellar 2020 LP of all originals, Agricultural Tragic, he put out an eclectically brilliant EP singing songs by everyone from AC/DC and Nancy Sinatra to Billy Joel and Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show. Another covers album so soon after the last one is an odd choice on the surface, but just a couple of tracks in, the appeal is unavoidable.
As the title lays out, the Canadian Country/Roots artist takes a crack at songs that were written/performed by his friends, and damn does he keep good company. Among the 10 tracks here are songs from Todd Snider, Mike Plume, Canadian great Ian Tyson and two from Hayes Carll – a longtime tourmate of Lund. The album opens on Carll’s decades-old “Highway 87,” followed by Geoff Berner’s “That’s What Keeps The Rent Down.” Most of these songs, like Lund’s original compositions may not be known to many outside the confines of the folk/Americana/Country music worlds, but that doesn’t make them any less great.
“In most cases I’ve picked relatively obscure songs that have always spoken to me, even though many of them won’t be so familiar to people,” said Lund, speaking about the record. “The best part about recording all these tunes was that they reminded me of all the people who I haven’t been able to hang out with for the past two years because of the plague we’ve all been dealing with. All of these tunes bring a smile to my face, and I hope they do the same for you.”
One of the biggest name songwriters here belongs to Canadian Ian Tyson. Lund covers “Montana Waltz,” an early 1980s song from the Country legend. But the most satisfying track in the collection is the album closer, “Age Like Wine,” an underrated gem from Todd Snider. Like all of the tracks here, Lund goes out of his way to cover each in his own style without simply trying to duplicate the originals. As a result, he manages to pay homage to the songwriters while still putting out a record that his growing fanbase will relate to.