CD Review: Old Man Luedecke – Tender is the Night

This is old-hearted music played youthfully, by a youthful man disguised as old.

Old Man Luedecke plays the Civic Theatre in Nelson on March 12

It’s fitting that Old Man Luedecke (recording name of Chris Luedecke of Chester, N.S.) is going to be playing the Civic Theatre this coming March. Both performer and venue are hip, snappy throwbacks, entities more interested in community than flash. Both are loyal fans of their art forms, yet aren’t afraid to update, innovate, and push the boundaries of what they’re expected do.

It’s also probably fitting that I’m coming to write this review more than a year after Old Man Luedecke’s latest album, Tender is the Night, even came out. It’s easy to see the craft that Luedecke puts into his work, so maybe it would be imprudent to crank out kneejerk opinions without letting his banjotastic tunes really have time plant their roots.

 

Old Man Luedecke – Tender is the Night

I expect that Chris Luedecke gave himself his recording moniker to avoid growing out of an embarrassing name. Like, Lil’ Bow Wow (now known as strictly Bow Wow), Young Jeezy (now, um, arrested for child abuse) or Boy George (ok, still killin’ it). Because he’s not old, yet he completely inhabits the name. This is old-hearted music played youthfully, by a youthful man disguised as old.

One of the most fascinating elements of Tender is the Night, and all of Luedecke’s output in general, is the way that he is able to create completely anachronistic music. These are songs without a distinct place in time, that weave together traditional forms, contemporary allusions, modern living, and classic metaphors. Yet for all their time jumping, they seem always relevant. “A&W Song” is a rootsy, field-folk ditty, with an instrumental track that you might expect the villagers in Nic Cage’s The Wicker Man to be dancing to (before they pour bees on his face, of course). But Luedecke sets the tune to a story of sitting in a fast food drive-thru too tipsy to enter in the correct PIN to pay for his hamburger.

He sets this next to songs that recreate biblical fables (in “Jonah and the Whale” Jonah is a labourer, the whale is Fort McMurray), pull lines from classic Lead Belly tunes (“Can’t Count Tears”) and reframe the classic homesick wanderer as a frustrated dude sitting in an airport (“Tender is the Night”). There’s even the earnest, dusted-off country tune, “Song for Ian Tyson” that pays tribute to one of Canada’s greats.

Where Luedecke once sang about these things mostly solo, just himself and his trusty banjo, Tender is the Night was recorded with a bigger backing band, giving the space around his banjo and voice a little bit of extra depth. He’s also going to, “be touring with a fuller sound that [he’s] quite excited about.”

If you haven’t seen him play live, for a man with a banjo and a stompin’ foot, he puts on one hell of a show. He’s charming, funny (mocking both Jack Johnson and Monsanto in one breath the last time I saw him at The Royal) and immensely gracious to his crowd. As I once heard somebody say, going to an Old Man Luedecke show is like seeing the Foo Fighters: there are so many songs that you know, but you didn’t know that you knew them.

 

Old Man Luedecke plays the Civic Theatre on Wednesday, March 12. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15, available in advance at The Music Store and online here.

Just Posted

RDCK calls for reversal of Sinixt extinction

The board opposed a land transfer to the Westbank First Nation this week

Nelson city council to update banner policy

Council will revisit the wording of the policy at its December meeting

Forecasters promote avalanche safety awareness

Avalanche Canada advising backcountry enthusiasts to get proper training and equipment.

Meteorite fragments found near Crawford Bay

The pieces came from the fireball that exploded over Kootenay Lake in September

Nelson honours veterans on Remembrance Day

About 200 people gathered at Nelson’s cenotaph on Saturday to pay their respects to Canada’s veterans

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Man pleads guilty to Leafs recycling depot theft

Dezmond Waggoner had been charged with theft over $5,000

Nelson Leafs stretch winning streak to six

Jack Karran scored twice in the Leafs 6-3 win over Fernie

Nelson city hall selling bear-proof garbage bins

The city has purchased 100 bins and is charging residents $205

COLUMN: Will West Kootenay forests survive?

As with most things around ecology, the answer is not simple, says columnist Greg Utzig

Julien Locke races to NST World Cup berth

Black Jack cross-country skier Julien Locke races to first place at World Cup qualifier

B.C. sport groups to address child sex abuse in sports

viaSport is organizing a full day of education in association with Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Coaching Association of Canada.

Most Read