Corb Lund

Alberta country artist Corb Lund will play at the Top Hat on Thursday, Nov. 20.

Courtesy photo

Montana and Alberta share not only the Northern Rockies range - they have a shared sensibility when it comes to American music.

In his throwback country ballad "Little Foothills Heaven," Canadian singer Corb Lund yodels about his paradisaical mountain home, how he can "see down to Montana on a clear sunny day," and take his girlfriend there for a daytrip.

It'll play well to Missoula crowds, as will his take on roots music, honky-tonk and country on his June release "Counterfeit Blues."

He likes his country older, rougher and louder, as on the title track. It's an anti-establishment number with raw slide guitar and lyrics about how society's betters have Lund "smoking shredded cardboard" like a "terrible leeward joke."

That's not the only song that pairs tasty raw performances with rapid-fire, left-wing lyrics. "Truck is Stuck" seems at first to be a goofy tune about a heavy rain that gets a series of vehicles stranded in the mud, but soon encompasses jokes about climate change, migrant labor and industrial agriculture.

More than most genres, country depends on a sense of place, and Lund's roughneck lyrics ("Hurtin' Albertan") and musical preferences (loud guitar, unvarnished production) sound right at home south of the northern border.

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Fans of Leonard Cohen's tunes but not his acquired-taste vocals can hear a smoother interpretation of his best-of-century songwriting on Saturday.

Perla Batalla, a Los Angeles native of Mexican descent, is a former backup singer for Cohen, and the only sanctioned "interpreter" of his catalog.

In 2007, she released "Bird on a Wire," a collection of Cohen covers that drew strong reviews for her clear-voiced, perfect-pitch delivery.

According to promoter Kimberlee Carlson, about half of Batalla's Missoula concert will consist of Cohen tunes.

The rest of the set will draw on her repertoire of originals in English and Spanish along with classic jazz and Latin tunes.

Batalla will perform at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 16, at the Missoula Winery, 5446 Harrier Drive. Tickets are $15 at the door.

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To some minds, rock and roll was perfected by proto-punk originators MC5 and the Stooges; they increased the volume and intensity without leaving the rhythm-and-blues completely behind.

To devotees, they were the start of the style and its pinnacle, a blueprint that can't be improved on.

Austin, Texas group OBN III's are firmly in this camp. Their July release "Live in San Francisco" (Castle Face), captures a group that's mastered its live attack - whether it's barroom harmony guitar parts ("Running on Fumes"), high-volume, anti-everything screeds ("Off the Grid"), or high-tempo grooves ("Uncle Powderbag").

Opening are New York lo-fi noise-punk act Pampers and Eat Strike, a Missoula group that grafts melodic, post-hardcore vocals and songwriting to electronic production.

The concert will take place at 10 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 18, at Stage 112, 112 Pattee St. The show is 18 and up and the cover is $6-$8.

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Arts & Entertainment Reporter

Entertainment Editor for The Missoulian.