Old Man Luedecke sits humbly with his legs crossed on a high stool in my Nashville living room. His rootsy name conjures an image of a hunched figure with a cane and silver beard sporting large brim grandpa glasses á la Morty Seinfeld (google search it and you’ll see what I mean). Well spoken and polite, he seems more of an aristocrat than a Canadian folk songwriter. While we become acquainted with welcomes and how are yous, he snatches his banjo from the empty case at his feet and a broad smile manifests through his red beard while he examines the neck of his song machine. As he sizes up his alien surroundings, his expression seems to reveal a sign of relief and resolution, as if he’s accomplished an insurmountable spiritual journey.
Chris Luedecke is a Nova Scotia native. His week long visit to Nashville encompassed the creation of his new full length CD titled “My Hands Are On Fire and Other Love Songs” he recorded with some of Music City’s finest session musicians (bluegrass hero Tim O’Brien, for starts) under the helm of award-winning producer and session bassist Steven Dawson. GemsOnVHS (youtube.com/user/GemsOnVHS) got in contact with him prior to starting the album and the timing turned out to be perfect for a video shoot on his last day in town while most others after a monster recording session would be, ya know, takin’ it easy.
Accordingly, Luedecke’s uniquely musing moniker was a nickname given to him by a work friend when he first started his career that told him banjo playing should be left to the seniors of society. In a motion to accept the idea of an ingenuous but oddly confident persona, the name stuck. In a jolly laugh, he admitted “it seemed like a fun name. I needed something for my first show poster and it kinda stuck.” It won’t take long for the name to be an after thought once he plucks the first notes of “Just Like A River” off Proof of Love and his youthfully raspy voice transports you to the country side of Nova Scotia.
It’s interesting to see how even the most professional and seasoned musicians still get butterflies before performing. It’s odd to think about such a lifestyle; travel to distant foreign lands and create aural and visual art that thousands of people around the world will hear and experience, all in the time it takes between garbage days. His hands and voice didn’t require much warm up before the actual shoot. He opted to go straight to work and knock out a few takes right away. Nerves may have been abound, but it seemed to bring out the confidence and truth of his flawless banjo technique. Once his instrument was in his hands, his demeanor changed to that of a man lounging on a hammock, ready for a humming bird to come fluttering by to soak up his soulful spirit pouring out into the air like a sweet aroma.