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OLD MAN LUEDECKE - Tender Is The Night

OLD MAN LUEDECKE - Tender Is The Night
True North Records TND569

Luedecke’s not an old man at all, but an engaging young guy who’s been charming Americana lovers with his special blend of bluegrass and country for the best part of a decade. Tender Is The Night is his fifth album release, and just one listen convinces me that it’s his catchiest collection of original songs to date. His stock-in-trade is honest-to-goodness storytelling and homespun philosophy, taking its inspiration principally from Nashville and the old masters, the honky tonk and old-time traditions.

Luedecke’s mode of expression is deceptively light and playful, but there’s plenty to savour in his musings on love, art and purpose, while you can also have enormous fun spotting the knowing references to country music history and heritage that liberally pepper his songs. Kingdom Come is a convincing gospel breakdown, while the disc’s title song is a poetic testament to longing. Song For Ian Tyson pays tribute to the writer of Four Strong Winds, and Someday Soon, Broken Heart Buddy and A&W Song sound well authentic enough to be counted as lost Hank Williams numbers, while Can’t Count Tears displays Luedecke’s talent for affectionate sombre sentimentalism. His melodious and easygoing vocal style proves very attractive, not least since you can hear every word, even when he brings in passages of falsetto mid-line on songs like Little Stream Of Whiskey and Song For Ian Tyson.

The companionable, user-friendly feel of the whole album is no doubt also partly down to the fact that it was recorded live in the studio in just four days, with the expert hand of Tim O’Brien at the helm and crack instrumental support from O’Brien himself, bassist Mike Bub and drummer Kenny Malone. Tender Is The Night is another of those confident, reassuring and entirely accessible over-way-too-soon records that restores one’s faith in the uplifting power of contemporary singer-songwriter Americana.

David Kidman


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This album was reviewed in Issue 94 of The Living Tradition magazine.