Record review: Old Man Luedecke – Tender Is The Night (2013, LP)

This fifth album from Chris ‘Old Man’ Luedecke is rooted firmly in the traditional folk and country genres the Juno Award-winning Canadian singer-songwriter and banjo player has made his trademark. Recorded in four days in Nashville, Tender Is The Night sees Luedecke packing literary references ranging from Herman Melville to F. Scott Fitzgerald and the New Testament into thirteen songs, while switching moods between jauntily upbeat (as on ‘Tortoise and the Hare’) and the melancholia of the title track. Grammy-winner Tim O’Brien not only produces but adds tasteful mandolin and violin touches throughout, allowing Luedecke to explore new musical and lyrical territory. “I’m angry and bathed in fire,” he sings on ‘Long Suffering Jesus’, but when harsh words are accompanied with such playful banjo lines it’s hard to react to these songs with anything but a tapping foot and a smile. Forget Mumford; this is banjo music the way it should be.

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