Edmonton Journal

Diduck pays tribute to his heroes with steel guitar-driven outing

- Chad Huculak


In the same manner as a drunken yahoo screaming “more cowbell” at a rock concert, some of us crave the sweet, luscious tones of pedal steel guitar. Booker Diduck's debut album is awash in steel guitar, echoing across its tracks like an arching luminescen­t string of light, satisfying the discerning listener's lust for horizontal guitar heroics.

Booker Diduck and his Cribbage Club's Heritage Classic is a love letter to the classic country musicians Diduck found inspiratio­n from as a musician in several Alberta-based bands. It's a passion project for Diduck, who likens the album as a “toe in the water” project to test his songwritin­g skills.

Musically, Heritage Classic is a joy to listen to. Eschewing hot-40 country music for the tried and true stylings of honky-tonk and two-stepping, Diduck finds a sashaying groove throughout the album and sticks close to it. Kicking off with its first single, River Queen shuffles to a train-clacking rhythm as Diduck sings about a woman who enjoys fried chicken from the corner store, cheating at cards and cheap liquor. Electric guitars are turned up and sufficient­ly crunchy on Side Winds, delving into alt-country territory. Album highlight Radio Bingo pays tribute to Alberta's cherished pastime of tuning in for Windspeake­r Radio's Saturday night bingo.

Small lyrical details such as a dirty truck stop near Crowsnest Pass or fighting younger cousins when they get racist give Heritage Classic an intimate feeling as if Diduck and crew are performing the songs three feet away from you on a tiny stage. Diduck's vocals don't have the same depth or range as the pioneers he pays tribute to, but when combined with others' harmonies over a bed of velvety, tear-in-your-beer pedal steel, it's easily forgivable.

Diduck is having an album release concert at the Aviary on Wednesday along with Lucas Chaisson. Listen to Heritage Classic on major streaming services.


It's not like we haven't heard from Alberta's favourite troubadour in a while, but it's still surprising to learn his just-released album El Viejo is the first collection of original songs from him since 2020's Agricultur­al Tragic. We've been treated to an EP and album consisting of cover songs since then, but it's comforting to hear Lund sing-talking his way through one of his wandering story songs. El Viejo, which roughly translates to “old man,” is dedicated to his friend, the dearly departed Ian Tyson, whom Lund eulogizes on the title track. The rest of the album contains his trademark narrative songs (The Cardplayer, Out on a Win and Insha'Allah) and tracks about the push-pull dynamics of vices (I Had It All, Redneck Rehab and Old Familiar Drunken Feeling). Lund and crew cut the songs live in his living room, often in first takes, which gives the album an organic, lived-in feel. Familiar, thoughtful and heartfelt, El Viejo is another winner in Lund's discograph­y. Catch Lund live at Midway on March 9 on his El Viejo tour.


It's fitting Edmonton's Logan Klaus' debut album kicks off with a Prince-style spoken word intro as Genesis is a solo effort. Written, produced and performed by Klaus, Genesis is a hell of an introducti­on to his vast talents. Having toiled in the city's bar-band scene, Klaus is now showcasing his songwritin­g skills and he has an uncanny knack for a hook. Tracks such as Violet and Trust have a lively feel, designed to rainbow out of your speakers and into your brain. Single Waves rides a synth and funky bass line, with a catchy chorus, handclaps and guitar solo. There are poppy 1980s vibes throughout (think Jack Antonoff's Bleachers, but not corny), with the album designed for maximum playlist potential. Listen to Genesis on your preferred streaming service.


Edmonton's Scenic Route to Alaska has released its first taste of the upcoming seventh album, Lasts Forever, with the single Call It A Coincidenc­e. The song is a cosy reminder of the consequenc­es of life through shared precious moments. The new album will be released April 11.

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