"Horse Doctor, Come Quick," the lead-off track on Corb Lund's American debut album Losin' Lately Gambler (following five previous Canadian releases, three of them credited to the Corb Lund Band), is the first of two songs on the disc about veterinarians, which is two more than just about any other album. But Lund comes by the subject honestly; his father is a veterinarian, and from the songs it sounds as though he may have dabbled in the field himself. If not, he got close enough to hear some of the jokes of the trade. Before his bandleading and solo career, he was part of an indie punk rock band called the Smalls, and even though he's switched over to roots-country music, he has retained something of the irreverent attitude, which gives him a cowpunk feel. He sings in a molasses-thick adenoidal tenor over the playing of his backup band, dubbed "the Hurtin' Albertans", which provides arrangements in a variety of rural styles including rockabilly ("Steer Rider's Blues"), talking blues ("Talkin' Veterinarian's Blues"), Western Swing ("It's Hard to Keep a White Shirt Clean [For Willie P. Bennett]"), Johnny Cash-style chicka-boom 2-step ("Long Gone to Saskatchewan," "Time to Switch to Whiskey"), Tex-Mex ("Devil's Best Dress"), good old rock & roll ("The Only Long Rider I Know"), and Waylon Jennings-style outlaw country ("Chinook Wind"). This is a songwriter who believes in writing about what he knows, and what he knows about is the cowboy life of western Canada. He does not sentimentalize that life; in fact, he often snickers at it. But he also shows his love for it, notably on "This Is My Prairie." He's like a cross between Ian Tyson and Ryan Adams, like Michael Martin Murphey fronting Jason & the Scorchers, like the bastard grandson of Marty Robbins and Wanda Jackson, like … OK, enough. At the very least, his delighted listeners will never think about veterinarians the same way again.