Break out your western tuxedo. Corb Lund, one of Alberta's biggest musical stars, will be singing his much-loved alt-country songs with the backing of a 70-piece orchestra Thursday evening.

This will be the singer's second time playing with an orchestra but the first with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra — and he'll be singing solo without his band, The Hurtin' Albertans.

The group, which gained fame after the song Truck Got Stuck, released a ninth studio album, Things That Can't Be Undone, in 2015.

Lund and orchestra conductor Karl Hirzer sat down with Calgary Eyeopener host David Gray to discuss the musical partnership.

Q: What kind of Corb Lund tunes do you play for this?

Karl Hirzer: In country music, they call it 2/4. It's the boom-chicka-boom-chicka, Johnny Cash kind of feel that a lot of up-tempo country music has. It sounds like a polka sort of.

' I don't think the orchestra jams too much.' - Corb Lund

The arrangements I had didn't please me as much as the ones I had for the slower textural stuff.

Corb Lund: I'm doing some of the songs solo, as well, so I'm going to lean toward the up-tempo stuff by myself and then play the sort of harmonically interesting, textural, slower stuff with the symphony for the most part.

Corb Lund

Alberta singer-songwriter Corb Lund says he's been practising his older songs for the orchestral performance. (Scott Council)

Karl Hirzer: That generally seems to be the way when we play sort of non-classical music; it is the slower tunes.

For example, when we played a Pink Floyd show last year, the ones that were really successful with orchestra were the ones that actually have orchestral writing on their albums. And it was like the full-string sound in some of the ballads.

Corb Lund: Or a hint of it and then you can flesh it out.

Q: How do you make this something the audience is going to walk away from saying, "I'm really glad that we set those tunes to an orchestra?"

Karl Hirzer: For people who are those coming-back-again audience members, I think it'll be really cool to see one of their favourite artists perform in this different setting with 70 musicians backing him up.

Corb Lund: And we sort of hope that some of the people will come and enjoy it and come back to see an orchestral show on their own, too.


Corb Lund will sing his upbeat songs solo. (CBC)

Another thing that's interesting and different for me is that my band, the guys have been with me for years and years and they know me inside out and know my music. We have ESP, and if I drop a line or if I want to vamp for a while on a particular chord till I remember it and I don't remember it or I want to stretch out a little bit, I can do that.

But for the most part, I don't think the orchestra jams too much, so my point is I have to — you can't fool around with the timing.The funny thing is, most of the songs I'm playing, I've been playing for more than 10 years.

And it's funny because I've been playing them for 10 years and still every once in awhile you have a brain kink and you forget a line or something.

It's kind of funny because I've been putting a lot of work into these songs I've been playing for 10 years, which is kind of counterintuitive.

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