Old Man Luedecke's albums are invariably domestic and eccentric, touching on home, food, family, being forced to go away on tour to earn a living and, perhaps most of all, his enduring love for his wife Teresa.
But unlike his previous albums — notably his last full-length, 2012's Tender Is The Night, which he recorded in Nashville) — Domestic Eccentric, Luedecke's sixth, was even recorded at home, in a cabin the songwriter, banjo player and now also guitarist built by hand near his house outside of Chester, Nova Scotia.
Not that this is a rough home recording; it's a stripped-down album composed almost entirely of duets with Luedecke's ongoing collaborator, Tim O'Brien (on guitar, mandolin, fiddle, bouzouki and backup vocals), captured almost entirely live off the floor in a small room. There are a couple guests — singer Jennah Barry on "The Briar And The Rose," drummer Nick Halley and, remotely, bassist Samson Grisman in Nashville — but this is pretty much as simple and similar to Luedecke's live show as an Old Man Luedecke album can get. And it's a joy to listen to.
Luedecke can be rhythmic and silly (the record kicks off with the punny "Yodelady") or sparse and bluesy ("Wait A While"), and he can write a ripper ("Real Wet Wood" and "Hate What I Say," both concerning foibles with life in the country), but the stars here are the ballads. Luedecke's been incorporating more and more guitar songs in his records and live sets, and the best ones here — standout track "The Early Days," about his daughters' fleeting toddlerhood, and weary faux album closer "Now We Got A Kitchen" — do not involve the banjo.
It all goes to show that it's Luedecke the songwriter — not the guy with the old-timey name and cute banjo songs — who is singularly identifiable. (True North)