The secret of what musical mates, Hayes Carll and Corb Lund get up to in hotel rooms when they go on tour is now out.
They shared their nocturnal activities (that is playing music together) full-on during this lusty, rough’n’tumble, double bill Celtic Connections’ gig with both men in great humour and sparkling form musically, singing about grave digging, war, horses, and lots more.
The quips and the jokes and the back stories to songs flowed merrily with neither seeking to emerge as top dog. The guys are close: they write together, appear in daft videos together, and sharing the same stage seemed to please them as much it did a very encouraging audience (joined at one stage, temporarily, by Allison Moorer, Mr Carll’s partner.)
They had no setlist so I lost count of the songs they flew through. Carll’s 2008 track from Trouble In Mind, the warming, evocative, slow-paced Beaumont is terrific: “All the way from Beaumont / With a white rose in my hand/ I could not wait forever babe,” sang with real heart. From the same album but on the other side of the musical coin, as it were, came the tongue-in-cheek regret of She Left Me For Jesus, a song no-one ever tires of hearing.
Rancher buddy, Lund – with no Hurtin’ Albertans in town – opened the door to Cabin Fever, his 2015 album and delivered an oil news summary in Getting Down On the Mountain. “When the oil stops, everything stops, nothing left in the fountain // Nobody wants paper money son, so you just well stop countin’” is the dire warning in the opening verse.
Contrast came from the departure from Tulsa tale in Bible On The Dash with Lund declaring lustily: “We hit the road feelin’ cool as Crosby, Stills and Nash / Overflowin’ with the spirit and the bible on the dash.” Lyrically, these guys are so sharp and witty.
They jested and jousted endlessly – and for sheer entertainment allied to masterful songs it was the kind of freewheelin’ gig you could attend happily on a regular basis.
Review – MIKE RITCHIE
Image – Brendan Cooke