Tag Archives: Old Man Luedecke

Review: Old Man Luedecke with opener Ken Stead at Northern Lights Folk Club

dsc_0113_2
Old Man Luedecke

Family life is exceptional fodder for a songwriter attentive to their surroundings. Old Man Luedecke over the course of his set at the Northern Lights Folk Club shared some of his families own stories — ranging from his wife capturing a few moments for herself to hula-hoop after taking the compost out (“The Girl in the Pearl Earring”) to Luedecke’s desire to learn how to yodel being squashed by his father (the fruition of this dubious idea is found in the chorus of “Yodelady”). Likewise local singer-songwriter Ken Stead, who opened the show for Luedecke, had family tales to tell explaining as part of his introduction to “Oh Carolina” that he had his mother to thank for exposing him to folk music by taking him to the Edmonton Folk Music Festival as a form of punishment. Instead of grumbling about attending with his mom and her middle-aged friends Stead heard Eric Bibb entertain 20,000 people on a ski hill and was transformed. Apparently Stead shared this unusual bit of parenting with Bibb when he met him at an airport and Bibb has taken to sharing it with his own audiences.

dsc_0084
Ken Stead

The evening was easily captured by the title of Luedecke’s latest release Domestic Eccentric. Calmly speaking over his restless fingers picking away at the banjo, Luedecke regaled us with the domestic explaining how the chore of taking the compost turned into a sunset hula-hoop opportunity which he connected to the eccentric by associating the scene with a Renaissance painting titled Susanna and the Elders he had seen in an European art gallery, and brought the tale to a close with a reference to Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.  The domestic was also highlighted in the hilarious “Joy of Cooking” which had the audience chuckling; the melancholy-tinged “The Early Days” the introduction to which Luedecke delivered with a perfect Dad joke “I tour the Maritimes in my private Jet-ta”; and, “Real Wet Wood” which uses the need for an ample winter’s supply of dry wood when heating your home with wood as a metaphor for life or at least that is how I heard it.

dsc_0119
Joel E. Hunt

 

dsc_0012_2
Erin Kay

The unconventional and the home elements found throughout the set, persisted in the evening’s encore with “Now We Have a Kitchen” describing markers of time within Luedecke’s family life shifting from meeting his now wife while living in a tent in Dawson City to their current home in Nova Scotia. Effortlessly fulfilling the eccentric category with the final tune “I Quit My Job” Luedecke managed to link his foot stomping out the song’s underlying rhythm with the drums of Valhalla.

dsc_0144_2
Old Man Luedecke

Luedecke’s performance took us through a whole range of emotions, yet his in between song banter was delivered deadpan which served to heighten our understanding of the songs by forcing us to focus more closely on the lyrics for whatever element he had previously indicated. As Luedecke sings in “The Girl in the Pearl Earring” “You can’t fake a work of heart” and through his spoken and sung stories at the Northern Lights Folk Club Luedecke shared a work of his heart with us. Luedecke was joined by Joel E. Hunt who switched between mandolin and fiddle and contributed vocal harmonies, while Erin Kay added her voice to Stead’s opening act.

The Northern Lights Folk Club season continues with Jory Nash and James Gordon sharing the bill on March 18, 2017 please see their site for ticket details.

Cross Pollination: Karen Savoca & Pete Heitzman and the Shari Ulrich trio at NLFC


Karen Savoca & Pete Heitzman shared the bill with the Shari Ulrich trio at the Northern Lights Folk Club. Sharing a show equally, rather than having an opener play a short set to start, usually means that there are a number of songs that get cut from the set list — sacrificed to the reduced stage time. Although choices certainly were made as to what to include (and what didn’t get played) Savoca, Heitzman and the Ulrich trio took it as an opportunity to visit old friends and explore one another’s songs.

The friendship forged between the two groups was obvious. Ulrich recounted her first meeting with Savoca when many years ago Ulrich’s young daughter Julia Graff (who is now grown up and was on stage as part of the trio) gave Savoca some sweet tarts, quipping that “they’d been friends ever since”. Ulrich joined Savoca & Heitzman for the last three songs of their half, adding her voice and violin to Savoca’s percussion and Heitzman’s guitar for “Five Old Men”, “You Gotta Love” and “I Shook the Tree”.

This cross pollination continued when Savoca & Heitzman joined the Shari Ulrich trio, which includes Graff and Kirby Barber in addition to Ulrich, and they finished off with the bluegrass tune “Cluck Old Hen”. After a standing ovation the quintet of musicians returned to the stage to perform “(Fear of) Flying”.

Both Savoca and Ulrich’s songwriting showcased the grim and mirthful sides of life, as well as, the enormity of some decisions, and how they can echo through our lives and others. In “By the Grace of Goodbye” Ulrich told the story of reuniting with her son that she had given up for adoption years prior.


While Savoca when introducing “You Gotta Love” written for her father, described how one morning in the last months of his life her father in the care home had played dead — this story brought full out laughter from the crowd and as Savoca sang the song’s final words “oh, it’s a joy and it’s a curse, it’s wings and it’s a hearse, it’s water and it’s thirst, but you gotta love” we were reminded of the connection between life and death. Like the best workshop stages at folk fest from the cross pollination of these two groups grew an evening of spontaneity, and a genuine love for sharing music and stories.

____________________________________________________________________
Up next at the Northern Lights Folk Club, Old Man Luedecke and opener Ken Stead will take to the stage at on March 4th, please see the NLFC website for ticket details.

“Goodbye Folk Fest, see you next year!”

To quote the little kids who wandered past me as the final chord of “Four Strong Winds” echoed over Gallagher Park … “Goodbye Folk Fest, see you next year!”

Define Folk – Saturday EFMF 2015

Different definitions of “folk” circulated on Saturday of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival.

What to See at Calgary Folk Music Festival

As the start of Calgary Folk Music Festival approaches these are my top three picks for workshops not to miss this week:

Same as it Never Was

Sam Carter, The Good Lovelies, Old Man Luedecke, Nick Sherman

There is some solid Canadiana talent on this stage. The Good Lovelies have tight vocal harmonies and Old Man Luedecke sure knows how to tear up some epic banjo. Add in Nick Sherman’s and Sam Carter’s pensive voice and I think good workshop collaboration times will be had by all.

Torch and Twang

I love unique voices so when I see Little Miss Higgins and the Winnipeg Five plus Jill Barber on stage together? I’m there. These two voices in addition to local Calgary talent, Kenna Burima, and the folk-jazz of the Polyjesters should produce some interesting musical fusions.

Animal Kingdom

Astral Swans, The Blue Warblers, Jaron Freeman-Fox, and Hello Moth.

I’m excited to take a listen to Calgary groups Astral Swans and the electro tunes of Hello Moth in conjunction with the violin of Jaron Freeman-Fox balanced with the more traditional roots of the Blue Warblers (Natalie Edelson and Kim Beggs). I don’t really know what will happen but I’m interested to find out.