The Osprey Arts Centre begins its Fall season with a return visit from Old Man Luedecke, one of Canada’s best loved and most intriguing folk musicians and banjo players, Saturday, Sept. 17 during Shelburne’s Whirligig Festival.
Luedecke is a young man with an old soul who doesn’t sugar coat his fears and this lets his songs breathe with a fresh breeze of bittersweet hopefulness. He channels a refreshing energy from folk giants like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger with maybe a hint of Loudon Wainwright III. But it’s Luedecke’s contemporary lyrics coupled with the irresistible rhythm of the old time banjo that connect and make him so loved with his audiences. Anchored in his music’s melodic confidence is an ability to tap into a common muddled and dark search for meaning. This keeps people singing his songs and praises after he’s traveled on.
His performances are exciting and entertaining. His claw-hammered banjo playing coupled with his thumping foot creates a complete sound. People are drawn into singing along. His singing is clear and unadorned, emotive and suits the sincerity of his tunes.
In the breaks between songs come wild and charming stories of meeting heroes and easygoing but gripping musings on things ridiculous and sublime that may have a wink of contemporary vaudeville. Luedecke has been a featured performer at all the major folk festivals in Canada and Australia and an increasing number of American festivals, like Strawberry in California. He has appeared with such performers as Feist, Joel Plaskett, David Francey, Buck 65, and Kris Kristofferson.
Old Man Luedecke’s fourth album, My Hands Are On Fire and Other Love Songs, won the 2011 Juno for best solo album. Luedecke updates his rootsy songs by pairing them with clever and decidedly modern words, with a miniaturist’s eye for details about cell phones, digital watches, and love gone right and wrong. It has taken his work to a new level, singing about our daily concerns with humour and a touch of sadness.
Old Man Luedecke appears at the Osprey Saturday, Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20, $5 for students. They are available at the Whirligig Book Shop, 875-1117 Tuesdays – Saturdays, and at the door.