Chris Luedecke's chosen instrument is the banjo although he plays acoustic guitar on two songs and he penned ten of the eleven songs on, this, his fourth recording, released in the UK last year and now out worldwide on Black Hen. By way of a tribute, there's a cover of the late Willie P. Bennett's Caney Fork River. Born in Toronto, Luedecke subsequently headed east and has resided in Nova Scotia, the town of Chester to be precis for many years.
My Hands are on Fire and Other Love Songs, his third Black Hen release was conceived on Canada's west coast. Produced by Black Hen owner Steve Dawson, recording sessions took place at the Factory Studios and the Henhouse in Vancouver, BC. Proof of Love, Old Man's third album, he's still in his early thirties, picked up the 2009 Juno for Best Roots Traditional Solo Album. Bluegrass ace Tim O'Brien (fiddle, mandolin, acoustic guitar, vocal) contributed to ten of the My Hands are on Fire songs, Dawson employs a swathe of instruments that are either stringed or played with keys, while bassist Keith Lowe (Fiona Apple, Bill Frisell) and drummer John Raham (Be Good Tanyas, Po' Girl) firmly hold down the backline.
There's intentionally wry humour in the name Old Man Luedecke. Chris' banjo being the old traditional element in his musical oeuvre while Chris' lyrics are subjectively contemporary and occasionally amusing. A prime example of the latter is album opener Lass Vicious, the tale of a couple who filled with spring fever visit Nevada's neon lit playground. On the front cover picture, with his wings spread, Icarus rises toward the Sun and a similar flight of fancy is referenced in The REar Guard. A powerful political commentary Woe Betide the Doer of the Deed opens by referencing how: 'The gravy train has thinned out in the rain, Of Wall Street washing down the drain' and there's subsequent mention of: 'The crushing pain of our debts, The way you drove your country to the ground' and of 'foreign wars' that 'cut the purse strings of the poor.' Now I wonder who that 'you' can be?
Featuring lyrics that focus on a diverse range of subjects, My Hands are on Fire and Other Love Songs is, beginning to end, a banjo driven bluegrass cocktail.