Sing Out! Magazine
The first you should know about Old Man Luedecke is that he's not an old man. Chris Luedecke is barely 30 years, lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia and takes the bus back and forth across Canada playing folk festivals and small clubs. While he writes lyrics like a keen-eyed observer of his own time and place, he sings and plays banjo like an old man from the Appalachian Mountains; a style he picked up from records by Dock Boggs, Bascom Lamar Lunsford and others of that ilk. Hinterland is Luedecke's second album and it's an appealing collection of modern song sung and played in traditional styles. Among the most interesting songs in this set are "Roustabout," a nifty song that he uses to look at his life's choices as his 20s come to an end, "Wrong Side of the Country," in which he finds himself in Vancouver missing his love and his home at the other end of Canada and contemplating whether traveling is the life he wants. Then there's "Notes from the Banjo Underground," a weird song that kind of starts as a straight-faced spoof of a navel-gazing singer-songwriter but is actually an erudite bit of intellectual self-examination. In addition to his own songs, Luedecke includes a final version of "Lost John," the traditional song about the speedy fugitive from Bowling Green. Luedecke's banjo and voice are front and centre throughout this album. Occasionally, there's some unobstrusive support from the producer Steve Dawson on Weissenborn guitar, Ben Ross on homemade percussion, Laura Federson on fiddle and from some chorus singers.