"I’m sure Corb Lund knows about a lot of things but he knows about two things especially well: horses and military history. So it should come to no surprise that he named his fifth album “Horse Soldier, Horse Soldier!” And even less of a surprise that almost every song on the album deals with at least one of those themes. You would think that an entire album centering on the cavalry (something the American army hasn’t used in almost a century) would be limiting but somehow every song is fresh.
Corb does this by using timeless themes. For instance the title track is the story of a ghost soldier that rides horses with Genghis Khan, Napoleon and in the Civil War. He thinks his job is done in WW I when tanks are invented but soon he comes back to fight with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. The most “contemporary” song is “Students Visas.” It’s the true story of a soldier in the covert anti-Contra operation in Nicaragua in the 80s. In the song he asks “Did Reagan give the order? Did cocaine pay the bills?/ They said we were fighting Communists, but it was kinds hard to tell./ Ain’t no fun in killin’ folk and I don’t wanna do it no more.” Heavy stuff.
It’s not all sad though. “Hard on Equipment” is about a handy man that’s not particularly good at his job while “Family Reunion” is about just that. Let’s not fool ourselves though. This is is an album mostly about war and contrary to what Stephen Crane famously wrote, war is not kind. The songs “I Wanna Be in the Calvary” and “I Wanna Be in the Calvary: Reprise” bookend the album nicely. The original song states “I beg of you sarge let me lead the charge when the battle lines are drawn/ Lemme at least leave a good hoof beat that’ll remember loud and long.” By the end of the album the mood changes.
“With morale in doubt and our pride run out no honor did I see/ All I seen were a thousand dreams piled dead in front of me.” Rightfully so the album close with “Taps.”
It has to be said that Corb has one of the best backing bands around in The Hurtin’ Albertans. Whether in the horn section on “My Saddle Horse has Died” or the tempo shifting in “Lament for Lester Cousins” their talent is always on display. Corb has built a reputation through his career for being a great story teller and musician. Horse Soldier! Horse Soldier!” is no exception and I’m sure there will be more to come." ~ Theplugg.com
Here he is playing "Student Visas" at a house performance.
Track list :
- "I Wanna Be in the Cavalry" (Lund, Stan Rogers) – 3:09
- "Horse Soldier, Horse Soldier" – 5:12
- "Lament for Lester Cousins" – 4:53
- "Brother Brigham, Brother Young" – 4:09
- "The Horse I Rode in On" – 3:51
- "A Leader on Losing Control" – 3:21
- "Student Visas" – 4:03
- "What That Song Means Now" – 2:37
- "Hard on Equipment (Tool for the Job)" (Lund, Mike Plume) – 3:14
- "Family Reunion" – 2:20
- "Especially a Paint" – 2:36
- "Ciesla's Revenge (Intro)" – 0:38
- "My Saddle Horse Has Died" (Lund, Dug Bevans, Michael Caldwell, Terry Johnson) – 3:07
- "I Wanna Be in the Cavalry Reprise" (Lund, Rogers) – 3:45
- "Taps" (traditional) – 0:32