The first song I heard on Corb Lund’s new album, Losin’ Lately Gambler was “A Game in Town Like This,” and, frankly, it filled me with a sense of dread. The song wasn’t bad; in fact it was quite catchy, and is now my favorite song on the album. The problem with the song was its sound.
Corb Lund albums, from my experience, traditionally sound slightly under engineered, almost like they were recorded in a small town bar with equipment dating back to the mid-‘80s. This is by no means a criticism; it adds a sense of honesty, a sign that hard workin’ men with day-jobs made the album. My problem with “A Game in Town Like This” was that it sounded really polished, like it was mastered in a fancy studio, by men with slick haircuts and horn-rimmed glasses, sipping espresso. Think the original Star Wars films versus the prequels, if you will; same group of people, order of magnitude more digital wizardry . . .
It wasn’t until I had the album in my CD player — yes I still use a CD player — that I began to see what it might be about. The songs on Losin’ Lately Gambler seem to be arranged in pairs, with each duo representing a distinct era of Corb Lund. Where he’s been, where he currently is, and maybe, in the form of “A Game in Town Like This,” a glimpse of where he is planning on going.
Despite this collection of differently styled songs, the album is still built on a strong narrative of compelling and heartfelt stories, and works well as a whole.
In all, Losin’ Lately Gambler is a worthy successor to Lund’s acclaimed 2007 effort Horse Soldier, Horse Soldier, and definitely an album worth having in your collection.