“I’ve been captivated by his ability to take simple, everyday things and develop them as metaphors for something much greater. His music is humourous, heartfelt and highly entertaining,” said Bill Carriere, a member of the board of the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage.
He is describing, in these glowing terms, the artist who will be coming to the Stage on Saturday, February 15, at 7.m., Old Man Luedecke.
Winner of multiple Juno awards, a musician who has toured extensively, a singer and song-writer whose most recent (and sixth) CD, Tender is the Night, was long listed for the Polaris Prize, Luedecke is charming, warm and an extraordinary performer.
On Saturday night, audiences will also have the opportunity to enjoy a performance by the critically acclaimed singer-songwriter (and proud Aussie), Jordie Lane, who will open for Luedecke. Lane is also an international award winner. He and Old Man are just completing a tour together which took them to Australia and back to North America. “Jordie is a wonderful singer, charming, who tells great stories,” Luedecke said.
I talked to Chris Luedecke (his real name) about his upcoming concert in Morrisburg. But first, I had to ask how such a young musician has come to be known by the moniker of “Old Man.”
“It’s a name I like, and it gives me a kind of focus,” Luedecke explained. “I admire the old time things, and the old story tellers. From an early age I admired the stars of Grand Ole Opry, especially those who played banjos and told stories. Many of them were called “Old Man” so I thought that name would be fitting and colourful (and maybe a little more interesting than Chris). I could retain my true identity, but still have a traditional link.”
Although he is multi instrumental, Luedecke’s par-ticular passion for the banjo has carried strongly into his life as a performer.
“I love the rhythm of that instrument,” he said. “I feel it has been under used as a song writing tool. A banjo sort of accompanies itself. The moment you play it, you want to move. It also seems to me that lyrics are well placed on the banjo, that they are married to its drive.”
Luedecke’s style has been glowingly described as roots, folk, bluegrass, pop, country, traditional and completely non-traditional.
He laughed. “Those various labels are all very nice and they do fit to some degree. But I am not a heritage performer (he is from Chester, Nova Scotia), and I am not performing the stylized music of the past. Instead, I am creating new music, unique music, and I have a real affinity for the folk approach.
At the same time, I love country, the old time country. I find, within reason of course, that I enjoy things simple and stripped down to the basics. I try to get to the heart of a story.”
Old Man Luedecke is a prolific writer and composer. Over the years he has written hundreds of songs, although only some of them ever make it on to albums.
“I was listening to Pete Seeger, an old interview from maybe 10 or 15 years ago. He did get involved in environmental concerns, but his basic approach was ‘the meek inherit the earth.’ That’s a theme I have found in many of my most successful songs. I would say I don’t sing for the winners, but rather for the people trying to make life work.”
Luedecke has a reputation as a warm, good natured performer on stage.
“I actually think I am a fairly serious person,” he said. “I try to approach subtle subjects, but I often mask them with humour. I want my songs poignant, humourous and engaging. People come to a concert to be entertained.”
He will have mandolin, violin, and upright bass backing him up at Saturday’s concert. He is looking forward to the St. Lawrence Stage.
“If you open yourself musically up on stage, and the crowd lets you in, well there is this terrific flow. I’ll be playing classic pieces so audiences can see how I got to where I now am musically. I hope they will appeal. And of course, there are new wonderful songs which I’ve written.” he added with a laugh, “that we’ll also perform. If people are excited to be at my concert, then there’s magic!”
The Old Man Luedecke concert, with Jordie Lane opening, is one night only at the Meeting Centre, the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage, February 15, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $18 in advance or $20 at the door. They are available from the Basket Case, Strung Out Guitars or at www.st-lawrencestage.com