Easy Money (True North Records)
Old Man Luedecke is approaching middle age. His sixth album shows that he is well into adulthood, singing about raising kids, the death of a parent, long, enduring love, facing your limits, not to mention the joys of sardines on toast.
Luedecke, with his friendly, mid-range voice and clawhammer-style banjo, has always been accessible. He really is the guy you’d want to have a beer with—nothing pretentious or overbearing about him.
With backup from some crack Montreal musicians, as well as guest appearances from the likes of Fats Kaplin and Tim O’Brien, Luedecke has put together another gem musically, with grooves ranging from Afro-Cuban to bluegrass gospel.
And lyrically, the tunes range from grief to downright silliness, from being a dad to missing his own dad. He knows his limits, and confesses that, “Dad jokes are the death knell of the vestiges of cool.”
In The Death of Truth, he feels the urge to talk to his late New York Times-reading father when the anger of the world gets him down: “Every time that it gets darker I want to call you. I need the news from your point of view.”
My favourite is the ever-so-melodic I Skipped a Stone, the ultimate love song: “I love the way you are in every tune.” That song should be covered by James Taylor.
Being a travelling troubadour is by no means “easy money,” but his deep well of talent should take the mid-life Christopher Luedecke well into the time when he really is Old Man Luedecke.