Old Man Luedecke disc has off-beat charm
Reviewed April 2010
My Hands Are On Fire and Other Love Songs
By Old Man Luedecke
Black Hen Music: 2010
To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.
Hailing from Nova Scotia, Chris Luedecke has carved out a reputation as a traditional folk performer. His original songs are variously humorous, insightful and slices of storytelling that feature his banjo playing and unusual vocals. On three previous discs, including 2008's "Proof of Love," Old Man Luedecke, as he is musically known, has been the main thing happening as there has been little in the way of a backing band. Not so on his new disc, "My Hands Are On Fire and Other Love Songs," as several Vancouver session musicians round out the sound on all the tracks, especially producer Steve Dawson on all manner of guitars and keyboards and Tim O'Brien on mandolin and fiddle. Luedecke wrote all but one of the 11 tracks.
He has one of those wacky, off-hand voices that makes the listener hear the words and on the new disc he is mixed very much hot and on top in the mix, so that he is hard to miss. "Lass Vicious" introduces the material, a bluegrass fiddle stands out backing a tale of a trip to Vegas with his beloved. "My Love Comes Stepping Up The Stairs" and "Mountain Plain" explore similar territory to good effect, as mandolin, lap steel and fiddle work give these brisk traditional folk tunes a bluegrass shot in the arm.
"Woe Betide The Doer Of The Deed" is a social commentary about the cabal that benefitted from economic bailouts and wars, and though Luedecke's lightweight voice undercuts a bit of the impact, it still takes some nice lyrical shots. The only cover here is Willie Bennett's "Caney Fork River," which works as perhaps the best song here, an old-style country harmony tune that sounds instantly familiar.
Old Man Luedecke offers an interesting batch of acoustic roots music on "My Hands Are on Fire and other Love Songs." The sound is original, while the music is traditional. Luedecke's vocals and interesting tales make the music offbeat enough to keep the listener always entertained and engaged.
Review by Frank Kocher, a longtime San Diego resident, musician, music collector and frequent contributor to The San Diego Troubadour.