This winter, Alberta’s favourite son, underground country star Corb Lund, will be hitting the rails with the “Whiskey Rabbi”, klezmer singer/songwriter Geoff Berner. Shows in Amsterdam, Berlin, Hamburg, Zurich and 15 more are booked and good to go. See below.
To some, this might seem like an odd pairing–one of Canada’s top indie country music recording artists, with a wall full of gold records, double-billed with a Jewish klezmer accordionist with a cult following among odd, bookish people who like to drink. But look deeper and you’ll see two performing songwriters with a similar approach. Both write new songs in old traditions, with humour, pathos, a keen eye for detail, and a healthy irreverence for the sacred cows of the cultures in which they were raised. Berner’s song “Lucky Goddamn Jew” fits nicely with a Lund composition like “Brother Brigham, Brother Young” in terms of the nose-tweaking of traditionalists. “Two Heretics” is a well-earned title for this tour.
Berner and Lund have been friends since 2000, when they met at an after-hours speakeasy in Bergen Norway, and traded cheezy cover songs, to the delight of an assemblage of hard-partying Norwegians, culminating in a rousing drunken bizarro version of Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler”.
Since then, they’ve kept in touch over the years, playing occasional shows and festivals together, trading notes on the strange occupation of songwriting. They have stood by watching as most of their generation fell into day jobs, while the two of them remained “lifers”. Committing themselves to the cause of showing the world just what strange music can do to you.
Berner’s current cultural product is his first novel, “Festival Man”, on Dundurn Press, which comes with an album of Truly Great Artists covering his songs, including a Corb Lund cover of “That’s What Keeps the Rent Down”. Reviews have been stellar, with raves in Canada’s national newsmagazine, Maclean’s, and Quill and Quire, the bible of the Canadian publishing industry, and many more.
Lund’s latest album, “Cabin Fever”, evolved from a period of introspection and hard traveling. The album ranges from rockabilly to Western swing, cowboy balladry to country-rock. And, of course, the occasional yodel. The album was Corb’s highest Canadian Billboard 200 debut, hitting #1 in its first week of release. “Cabin Fever” has garnered to reviews from all over the world, and his live shows only exemplify his unmistakable talents. As R2 magazine put it, Cabin Fever is “the kind of dirty, organic sound you hardly ever hear in the genre these days.”
What can audiences expect from the Two Heretics Tour? A cross-continental party in the bars, cafes and punk squats of Europe, featuring a unique couple of pals swapping the best of a large body of unique songs and stories. And perhaps some whiskey. Perhaps.
25-Feb – De Nieuwe Anita – Amsterdam, Netherlands
26-Feb – Haus 73 – Hamburg, Germany
27-Feb – Feinkost Lampe – Hannover, Germany
28-Feb – Supamolli – Berlin, Germany
01-Mar – Raum der Kulturen – Leipzig, Germany
02-Mar – Hafeneck – Mainz, Germany
03-Mar – Brunnenhof – Trier, Germany
04-Mar – Steinbruck – Duisburg, Germany
05-Mar – Gute Stube – Darmstadt, Germany
06-Mar – Milla Club – Munich, Germany
07-Mar – City Club – Augsburg, Germany
08-Mar – Kulturbackerei – Innsbruck, Austria
10-Mar – El Lokal – Zurich, Switzerland
11-Mar – La Buena Onda – St. Gallen, Switzerland
12-Mar – Treibhaus – Lucerne, Switzerland
13-Mar – Bar Salon – Basel, Switzerland
14-Mar – Lokal Int. – Biel, Switzerland
15-Mar – Sparte 4 – Saarbrucken, Germany