Talkin blues recommendations a la Corb Lund?
April 7, 2011 11:11 AM   Subscribe

I've recently discovered Corb Lund. Turns out there's a name for the style of country I like called 'talkin' blues' (I also like his stripped-down sound). I despise 'new' country. Can anyone recommend other artists that have a similar style? (old obvious choices also welcome, I'm country-illiterate)
posted by imaswinger to Media & Arts (26 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
You might like Joe Ely.
posted by jon1270 at 11:15 AM on April 7, 2011

Townes Van Zandt
posted by entropicamericana at 11:30 AM on April 7, 2011

Is this by chance a result of the recent MeFi swap? Because I was also turned onto the magic of Corb Lund by way of "Long Gone to Saskatchewan" on the fantastic Beaver Hour mix I received. Anyways, some people would say that Woody Guthrie invented the talking blues, so that is one avenue to check out. Pete Seeger has some excellent union-related talking blues (Talking Union Blues). Tim O'Brien's got a cute song about going to Ireland to find his roots called Talking Cavan. Welcome to a whole new musical world!
posted by Polyhymnia at 11:32 AM on April 7, 2011

talkin' blues goes right back to Chris Bouchillon in the 20's. check him out. (bad audio but, you know, wax cylinders or whatever.)

the real goldmine is Woody Guthrie. political and hilarious and generally great. here's some favourites:
Mean Talking Blues
Talking Fish Blues
Talkin Dustbowl Blues

Dylan's Guthrie impersonation is pretty spectacular too. here's Talking John Birch Paranoid Blues.

John Greenway' Talking Blues compilation on Folkways is excellent.

a personal favourite: Townes Vand Zandt's Talkin' Karate Blues.

Don Freed, Billy Connoly and Tom Glazer are also worth a google.
posted by tealsocks at 11:32 AM on April 7, 2011

You may enjoy this. The curator of that archive has several artists in that genre and records them as they swing through Austin. I saw Corb Lund play in his living room.
posted by birdherder at 11:42 AM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

I thought I hated country music until I started listening to alt-country. Turns out country can be fantastic. Neither of these are "talking blues" but if you are open to exploring good country music, give the Sadies and the album "Let's Just Stay Here" by Carolyn Mark and NQ Arbuckle a try. Both (like Corb Lund) are Canadian.
posted by arcticwoman at 11:51 AM on April 7, 2011

Alt-country for sure. Carolyn Mark and NQ Arbuckle's version of Townes Van Zandt's "Rex's Blues" has been absolutely wrecking me for about a week now. Also off of that same fantastic MeFi mix! I highly recommend Townes as an introduction to good country.
posted by Polyhymnia at 11:59 AM on April 7, 2011

Corb was at the top of my favourites for a long time. Here's some others you may like (both some classics and some newer ones):

- Luke Doucet
- John Wort Hannam
- Merle Haggard
- Kris Kristofferson
- Waylon Jennings
- Willie Nelson
- The Highwaymen
- Neko Case
- Cam Penner
- Hank Williams
- Hank III
- Johnny Cash's American Recordings
- Kieran Kane and Kevin Welch
- Sam Baker

It may not be your cup of tea, but you should also at least check out Corb's first (rock) band: The Smalls. They are legendary in Canada for good reason.

Also seconding the Sadies, Townes Van Zandt, and Woody Guthrie.
posted by hamandcheese at 12:23 PM on April 7, 2011

You might like Ramsay Midwood.

You could also try listening to Bootliquor Radio on SomaFM, which plays, along with a little vintage country, a lot of great modern Americana, some of it obscure and slightly weird stuff.
posted by essexjan at 1:14 PM on April 7, 2011

Oh wow, awesome! You've definitely given me some work to do.. I like the idea of a alt-country (at least what I picture in my head right now).
- and no, I didn't get it from a metafilter music swap (something else i need to look into immediately), I heard 'truck got stuck' on the good 'ol CBC.
posted by imaswinger at 3:11 PM on April 7, 2011

Never heard of Corb Lund, but based on the other suggestions here, I think you might like Guy Clark. And possibly John Prine.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 4:16 PM on April 7, 2011

No talkin' blues here but these are all solid, legitimate roots rock outfits that might please you.

You should check out Scott Miller & the Commonwealth...

and Gordy Quist's solo stuff, as well as the debut album from his group project The Band of Heathens (later albums start to move away from the alt-country sound you're seeking and more toward blues-rock)...

and I would be remiss if I appeared in any MeFi alt-country thread and did not pimp Reckless Kelly, for although I have no personal affiliation, they are the band that turned me onto "y'allternative" back in 1997 at a time when I had no idea I was looking for it—and they subsequently opened my eyes to fully appreciate Dylan, Steve Earle, Kevin Welch, Joe Ely, Pinto Bennett and the Motel Cowboys, Son Volt and a host of other music that would ultimately change my life.

No, seriously. Met my husband at a concert.
posted by pineapple at 4:28 PM on April 7, 2011

Johnny Cash's Singin' in Vietnam Talking Blues is awesome
posted by feste at 4:34 PM on April 7, 2011

Love Corb Lund
Justin Townes Earle (Steve Earle's son, and a great singer in his own right)

Hayes Carll

Jason Isbell (former Drive-By Trucker)

hell Drive-By Truckers are the gold standard for modern alt country rock
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:01 PM on April 7, 2011

Lucinda Williams
posted by bjgeiger at 6:03 PM on April 7, 2011

Ramblin' Jack Elliott

Bonus: Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Corb Lund performing Truck Got Stuck

(also seconding Guy Clark and Sam Baker)
posted by hangashore at 7:14 PM on April 7, 2011

birdherder: The curator of that archive has several artists in that genre and records them as they swing through Austin. I saw Corb Lund play in his living room

Cool! Was it this concert by any chance?
posted by hangashore at 7:18 PM on April 7, 2011

Matt Urmy, Matt Urmy, Matt Urmy

Start with Renaissance Rodeo and go from there. He's awesome...really.

Plus pretty much everyone else mentioned above. Enjoy!
posted by ourroute at 8:07 PM on April 7, 2011

Dale Watson plays old-school country and Bakersfield honky-tonk and, according to his bio, is a "leading crusader against the “Nashville Rash” plaguing the country music industry".

This is Dale Watson ("He's the savior of traditional country music." -- Hank Williams III. "I'm one of Dale's biggest fans." -- Willie Nelson)
"Country? My Ass!" ("Dale expounds on the sad state of affairs with so called country music these days")
"Nashville Rash"
posted by Lexica at 8:36 PM on April 7, 2011

And he's coming to Aus next week. As if i wasn't busy enough
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:33 PM on April 7, 2011

I know Corb Lund. My one friend has redorded with him a bunch. Southern Alberta. Anyway I second psych-country if you like this stuff and Canada seems to be chalk full of it. Deep Dark Woods, Elliot Brood, Blue Rodeo.

The Sadies for sure. Probably the best and most popular 'country' band up here. should be far more famous. Their stuff pans a wide range from 60's psych and the Byrds to straight up fast pickin country to the talking country you like. Listen to their Album: New Seasons and thank me later. Their most country. Here is a grooveshark playlist for you I made:

Neko Case might be up your alley as well (From Washington State I believe. Records and plays with the Sadies and visa versa). Star Witness
Sadder One: I wish I was the moon
Deep Red Bells

So Might the Rural Alberta Advantage Stamp or Woodpidgeon. Being more generous here with the term country. If you want to get really far into weird Canadian country learning heavily towards psyche you should look up Rick White.

Even Indie king Pavement did a great country song along this vein: Father to a Sister of Thought

The lap steel at about 1:11 is so good and simple.

And of course once you realise country is great you can branch off into things like the Byrds country album and big modern names like Bon Iver: Flume
posted by penguinkeys at 10:35 PM on April 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Sorry, that grooveshark Sadies list again
posted by penguinkeys at 10:37 PM on April 7, 2011

Oh, I think you'll like Country Death Song by The Violent Femmes. The content is pretty intense and this video is great. I'm done hogging the thread now.
posted by penguinkeys at 11:05 AM on April 8, 2011

I would just like to second everything penguinkeys said, especially re: The Rural Alberta Advantage. What a phenomenal band.
posted by arcticwoman at 2:37 PM on April 8, 2011

Bob Wayne and the Outlaw Carnies
Some Slim Cessna's Auto Club also fits the bill.
Some Jay Munly as well.
posted by Seamus at 11:43 AM on April 12, 2011

Look into a lot of what is classified as Gothic Country or Gothic American or Gothic Alt. Country or some such stuff. There's some significant amount of overlap.
Here's a quick place to start with some mediafire comps to download if you're into that.
posted by Seamus at 11:46 AM on April 12, 2011

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