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Concert review: Old Man Luedecke – April 16 at Hugh’s Room Live, Toronto

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Chris Luedecke. Photo by Richard Barry.

Old Man Luedecke, also known as Christopher “Chris” Rudolph Luedecke, is an award-winning, banjo and guitar playing, singer-songwriter from Chester, NS. On April 16, he delivered a terrific performance at Toronto’s Hugh’s Room Live to a nearly capacity house, a large portion of which were long-time fans judging by the shouted requests that seemed to come from all corners.

Though the capacity of Hugh’s Room Live is around 200 people, the show had a warmth and intimacy more natural to a much smaller venue. The story-telling, always charming dry sense of humour, and songs drawn from all sorts of life experiences were what folks were there for, and they got it. In one of the several biographies to be found on-line, Old Man Luedecke is described as “one of Canada’s best-loved and most intriguing singer-songwriters,” an observation very much validated by this evidence.

He began releasing albums in 2002 and now has a total of nine to his credit with a tenth, She Told Me Where to Go, due out in May. He is a two-time Juno Award winner in the Roots & Traditional Album of the Year – Solo category and a multiple East Coast Music Award winner.

In an Old Man Luedecke show, there will be some very modern sounding songs about love, family life, the importance of friends, and the search for meaning; some traditional music reminiscent of Appalachian old-time music, including high-energy banjo driven stompers; and some wickedly funny songs about the joy of cooking, sardines, and yodelling. It’s quite a ride.

With a banjo around his neck, one would expect to hear of influences like Peter Seeger and Woody Guthrie, and that’s fair enough. I must admit that shortly into his first set I was thinking too about how much he reminded me of Loudon Wainwright III with his sense of humour and song-writing perspective. Watching him at the merch table after the show, I also thought of John Prine and how the world John created through his song-writing and his simple presence spoke to how people thought about their own lives.

You get that same sense with Old Man Luedecke.

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