Old Man Luedecke: Prairie skies and wondering why

Monday 11th, January 2016 / 13:25
By Kevin Bruch
Old Man Luedecke makes another Western Canadian trek on the heels of new album. Photo: Courtesy of Killbeat Music

Old Man Luedecke makes another Western Canadian trek on the heels of new album.
Photo: Courtesy of Killbeat Music

CALGARY — You might think a man like Chris Luedecke, promoting a record entitled Domestic Eccentric probably abhors going away on tour and having to leave his daughters, his wife, and the home he so nostalgically croons about, the idyllic Chester, Nova Scotia. “I need and relish performing,” says Luedecke, however, and that beautiful home in the woods with his family is an anchor that actually makes it easier to go and enjoy life on tour. “I do still think about them all the time though. I’ll think, oh! I hope my kids learn to play banjo, ‘cause I’m not actually there.”

Domestic Eccentric is Luedecke’s newest album, released in July 2015 on True North Records. “It got a great reception on tour,” says Luedecke, “because I think it’s true to who I am and what I do.” This could arguably be said about all of the Old Man’s music, but Domestic Eccentric in particular is a return to the more spare sounds of Luedecke’s first two records. Most of Luedecke’s early releases were written while Luedecke lived in Dawson, YT, an experience that he says “helped to shape the way [his] life has gone.”

The Luedecke sound developed in the long days in the sun up north, and expresses grand ideas like romantic love filtered through domesticity and everydayness, as evidenced in the palpable details of songs like “Joy of Cooking.” Parenthood and home life are almost as pervasive thematically on Domestic Eccentric as Luedecke’s ever-present, endearing love songs about his wife, but Luedecke stresses that this is not a concept album. “It’s about that tension between loving home and needing to go away,” according to Luedecke.

“I recorded it in this cabin I built in the woods in Nova Scotia, and it was almost all live tracks. I almost always recorded my banjo and vocals on the same track, but this time Tim [O’Brien] and I just recorded it all live,” he says. Luedecke’s commitment to live-tracking and thematic interest in the minutiae of home life make this an album that is distinctly Old Man Luedecke, both in the musical style, but with welcome evolutionary progression.

Luedecke is primarily a banjo songster, but he plays more with guitar on this record than on any record previous. Luedecke will be joined on this tour by multi-instrumentalist and long-time touring companion Joel E. Hunt, and will be making his way through the prairies and mountains in January. When asked about his connection to Western Canada, Luedecke says, “I just love the wide open landscape out there, it’s so beautiful and grand. I like being out in that area, to appreciate the land not just to play the shows.” Luedecke has made Calgary a frequent stop in the last few years, and actually wrote a song about a local A&W, appropriately titled “A&W Song,” from his 2012 album Tender Is The Night. “I was out at this jazz bar over on 1st Street I think? And I was really hungry and ended up at this A&W, but my debit card just would not work,” says Luedecke. “It was one of the few songs I’ve actually written on tour, you know, the next morning type of thing – I don’t really write much on tour. But that was really great for me to realize something and perform it in such a short space of time.”

Old Man Luedecke plays Winterruption in Saskatoon on January 21st, Studio 96 in Edmonton on January 29th, The Ironwood in Calgary on January 31st, Northern Quarter in Victoria on February 4th and the St. James Community Hall in Vancouver on February 5th.

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