By Melanie Grant:
Chris Luedecke, also known as Old Man Luedecke, is keeping busy these days.
Old Man Luedecke coming to Truro
Luedecke has a busy touring schedule and just this week finished a new EP with Joel Plaskett. I was lucky enough to catch him in between gigs (and parenting) for a chat. I wanted to get a little background on him and also find out what we could expect at his show at the Marigold on Feb. 6.
Q: As an introduction to the Truronians who don’t already know you, tell me how long you have been playing music and if the banjo was always your creative outlet.
A. I’ve been playing all my life, I guess, and no, banjo didn’t come along until after I was done university. I played piano and clarinet before that.
Q. Did you take music in university?
A. I wrestled with that actually. I thought I was done with music when I made the decision to take an English degree. But I bought a banjo just around the time that I graduated and I haven’t really looked back.
Q. You’ve been categorized as a folk musician. But the genre of “folk” is such a broad category. When I listen to your albums I’m reminded of traditional folk. More like Kingston Trio. Is that how you would characterize yourself?
A. I haven’t really listened to the Kingston Trio, but certainly Pete Seeger, and Woody Guthrie, and Rambling Jack Elliot and other people who were performing around the same time. But the sounds of my records, they haven’t been as ‘traditionally folk’ as I would have liked up until this latest one, Tender is the Night. But even that is more bluegrass-like, than Kingston Trio-ish.
Q. You just released a three tune EP on Feb. 4 with Joel Plaskett producing at his studio. It’s a great sound, and very different from your other albums. What propelled this change?
A. I think maybe it’s sort of just the opposite direction. I really loved making my last album. (Tender is the Night) I made it at John Prine’s recording studio in Nashville, and I worked with real A-list bluegrass musicians, and I got a really nice and lovely sound. But I’ve wanted to work with Joel Plaskett for a while and the songs that I had written I thought would merit a fuller, sort of pop-y production. Especially, the Baby We’d Be Rich song, I wanted to work with Joel on that for a while. I’m glad it turned out so well.
I’m kind of surprised actually, it didn’t exist two weeks ago. I mean, we recorded it, then we mixed it, then we mastered it, and the next thing I know it had cover art and it’s coming out.
Grant: That’s very fast compared to how most albums work!
A. Oh yeah, way fast. But it’s great. I mean, why wait until I get home.
Q. You toured Australia recently, opening for Jordie Lane. When did you get back?
A. I got back just the 2nd or 3rd of December.
Q. How do you balance touring with your family life? You’ve got two-year-old twins and a seven-month-old.
A. There hasn’t been much balance, either I’m away or I’m a Dad. You know, when the kids go to bed, if I’m not too knackered I’ll try to write a song, but I’ll play music all day on and off in sort of unconcentrated spurts. But generally it’s a balancing act that sometimes I’m winning and lots I’m not. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m really happy to make a living playing music. And I’m really happy to be a dad. And one good thing about being a travelling musician is that when I’m home I’m really home, the sad thing is, when I’m away, I can’t just come home for dinner.
Q. And you’re off to start another tour, this time across Canada also with Jordie Lane. How did you two find each other with Jordie being from Australia?
A. It was sort of arranged by our people, but it’s kind of a testament to our malleability, how we’re able to get along with each other. And we had a smashing time in Australia, and I expect that Jordie will have a pretty good time here in Canada too. I opened for him on that tour and he’s opening for me on this tour.
Q. I’ve only seen you perform as a solo act. Will you be sharing the stage with Jordie at all?
A. He’s opening for me, he might join me for a number but, actually, when I come to Truro, I might be a trio. For sure I’ll be joined by Joel E Hunt on mandolin and fiddle, but I might have a bass player too. Joel sings harmony and kind of nails it. It’s a nice, full sound on stage. I stomp my foot like I always do, and Joel does all the accents from the record so you get a nice picture of the songs. And then with a bass player, it should be pretty cool.
Q. You’ve played here at the Marigold before, do you like playing in Truro?
A. I bought my iPhone there! And I like stopping at the Swiss Chalet. But it’s been a few years since I’ve been there. The last time I played in Truro, my wife Natasha and I rode our bikes there from Chester. In 2008, we rode our bikes up, played a house concert in Brookfield, then played the Marigold, then continued out past the fish and chip place out towards the water, we made it all the way to Shelbourne when my bike exploded. But I did festivals along the way. That’s the last time I was in Truro.
For more on Old Man Luedecke, visit oldmanluedecke.ca. There, you can stream his new EP until it goes on sale. He’ll be live at the Marigold on Thursday. For tickets call the box office at 897-4004) or log onto www.marigoldcentre.ca.