Alternate Root feature
There’s a tension that exists between the lines of Chris Luedecke’s stories. Tension within one’s own self, within relationships, within the world as it happens around us. It’s a tension born of the dichotomy between push and pull that exist in those places. ”You’re starting to look as strangers look. Attractive yes, but not quite booked. Despair and habit overcooked…” from My Love Comes Stepping up the Stairs. He takes a hard look at the lure of power and greed in corporate America in Woe Betide the Doer of the Deed, “…we won’t forget, the crushing pain of our debt, the way you drove your country to the ground...” it’s the most poignant a look at corporate America since James McMurtry’s We Can’t Make it Here Anymore. Chris Luedecke is a young man with an old school soul and a vision of a better world, “…I found homemade wings and flew up to the sun. Seems to me there’s room up here for each and every one. Every dream I ever loved is pushing me up higher, my hands are on fire…ain’t got time for all you charlatans and liars.” He sings on The Rear Guard. Music has an incredible power to evoke emotion when it’s made this way. It’s meant to. Some artists spread their soul to the world with paint and canvas and some with a banjo and a ‘cool water’ voice but if you soak yourself in the imagery you’ll get to where they want you to go. It’s not always comfortable. It isn’t meant to be.
My Hands are on Fire and other Love Songs is Chris Luedecke’s third album to surface from the collaboration between him and Steve Dawson. The impending Juno Awards that will surely follow must be being inscribed as we speak. Dawson has the touch it takes to make authentic music sound beautifully contemporary while embracing tradition in its purest forms. Luedecke has the vision, the voice, the chops and the lyrics. The fruitful benefits of the sacred relationship between producer and artist are never more evident than they are here. This combination works without the propensity for formula that comes with critical acclaim. Sure it helps to have eleven really good stories before you write the book but the reason you can’t put the book down, or in this case you can’t stop listening, is because of the magic that Luedecke and Dawson create when the parts become the whole. It’s Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie or Jimmie Rogers for our times. Not just in the authenticity of the sound but also in the timeliness of the songs and the timelessness of the message.