Singer Corb Lund has a long history with the Calgary Stampede.
His mother was a two-time barrel racing champion in the late 1950s, his father and his grandparents also participated in rodeo and Lund himself has been a steer rider.
"It’s pretty big part of my family — both my grandfathers competed and my Mom and Dad and me, when I was a kid, and cousins and uncles, " he told CBC News.
"I kind of feel like I have to brag a little about my mom because she won the barrel racing in 1959, and that's the first year they had it, so they recognize her as a pioneer of the Stampede."
Lund's grandparents even considered marrying at the Stampede, but his grandmother, a prim English-born schoolteacher at a local one-room school, refused to don western wear as Stampede officials requested.
The Alberta-raised singer and songwriter is turning to that history in a series of five shows with fellow singer Ian Tyson at the Martha Cohen Theatre. Together, they’ll perform each other’s western-themed songs and tell tales of Alberta's western heritage.
"I will be touching on some of the stuff about my family being involved in the Stampede over the years but Ian is like a walking encyclopedia of the West so he will be bringing some of the historical aspect and I am bringing the family historical stuff," Lund said.
"A lot of my music is based on western heritage and cowboy culture for sure," he added.
Lund and Tyson have been talking over the concept since last year, when Lund interviewed the veteran singer on stage in support of his autobiography, The Long Trail.
"It's just a new format. I usually have a band behind me or I am playing solo, but I have learned about 10 or 12 of Ian's songs so we are sort of blending our stuff together so next Monday is the maiden voyage," he said.
Lund has just returned from Britain and has dates in Texas lined up after he plays Calgary, but he’s also been in the studio. His new album, Cabin Fever, comes out in August, after a three-year hiatus from recording.
"I went through some pretty rough years, I had a pretty rough break-up and some family illness — it's been a pretty dark period," Lund said.
"I have a cabin in the woods about an hour outside of Edmonton and it’s pretty secluded and I ended up spending a lot of time there by myself," he said. Hence the name, Cabin Fever, as Lund wrote many of the songs in that cabin.
Lund says he began his career in a rock band, but his family didn’t embrace his music until he began singing country songs. His family has a long history as ranchers – they came up to Alberta from Utah about 120 years – and Lund himself thought he’d be a vet like his father.
"I tend to write about topics that are a little outside the norm for country music, so it's been pretty neat to carve a niche for myself … doing my own thing."