Hillbilly Highway – Dave Lang is a Beauty

by Sheldon Birnie

There is a guy in Regina named Dave Lang, and he is a fucking beauty. I’ve never met this man, nor seen him to confirm that he is, indeed, a real human. But I was digging through the Mountain of Broken Dreams the other day, here in the Stylus office, and I came across an album by Dave titled Live and in Quonset. Most of what I find in the Mountain goes straight to one of two places: the garbage or the recycling bin. But not this nugget.

Mountain of Broken Dreams, Recycle Bin Holler

The cover depicts a Quonset-mobile-home-mutant of sorts, covered in a half foot of snow. The back depicts a beautiful lake setting, with tall pine trees and the sun setting on the horizon. The disc was put out by some outfit called Bush Party Records, in 2004. It had lain in these milk crates since the day someone like me tossed it in there, unopened, forgotten, unloved. I was intrigued.

I opened up the cling-wrap, tossed it in the trash where the hard work of dozens of forgotten artists lay amongst the granola bar wrappers and Gala apple cores. I opened up the jewel case. The disc itself features profiles of bucks in brown and yellow, while the insert bears what is presumably the inside of Dave’s Quonset home studio. Inside, photos of taxidermy and steel guitar.

Who is this Dave Lang? I asked myself, then proceeded to ask the Interweb. A man from Regina, who has worked with Canadiana country stars such as Carolyn Mark. The once proud owner of his own Bar & Grill. A lover of fishing, and miniature racing cars.

When I got home, I put the disc in the spinner, and cracked myself a tall can of Molson Dry. The tracks are pure backwoods Canadian bar band gold, though some haven’t stood up to repeated listening. The production and arrangements are tight, and some of the lyrics are gut busting.

The lead track “Creamsickle” is a sweatpant wearing trailer trash pervo’s wet summertime dream. “Becky is a Farmer” might as well be a Screeching Weasel tune, if Ben Weasel were from Wadena, SK. “Move A Lot of Grain” is a rocking stomper for all good prairie people, and “Fuck All To Do (And All Day to Do It)” is what Nashville Pussy might sound like if they were called Saskatoon Poonanny.

Dave Lang is out there, somewhere still. He seems to tour sometimes, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him roll through the Times some day soon. If he does, I’ll be there, even if it is 42 below zero.

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