Luke Tuchscherer’s new album ‘Widows and Orphans’ goes down familiar folk paths to take us to new places.
‘Widows and Orphans’ is Luke Tuschsherer’s fifth album though it predates most of his other releases, and some of the songs are older than any of his recordings. ‘Widow and Orphans’ was recorded originally back in August 2017, taking him and guitarist Dave Banks just four hours to record. It was then shelved until the spring of 2022 when Tuchsherer asked Edwin Ireland to add cello. He wound up adding new arrangements . The result is music with a simplicity and richness that is perfect for Tucsherer’s visceral lyrics.
It may have been the intimacy that delayed the release. These are very personal songs of pain and loss. They aren’t the songs of the ending of a teenage infatuation but of someone old enough to have experienced serious emotional pain, and mature enough to share it.
Almost all of the songs are autobiographical. ‘What Goes Around,’ ‘Another Night, Another Bottle of Wine’ and ‘Those You Left Behind’ were all written during the same period in 2011. ‘Happy New Year, Darling’ was written on New Year’s Day, 2012. These songs capture the black hole one falls into when things fall apart and the love that lingers during the passage of time spent alone with a broken heart. Tuchsherer noted that “‘My Faithful Alibi’ is one of the oldest songs, written in 2006, but it sounds like it could right out of 2011. It’s a song I understand more than I did back then, and despite the sadness of it, it probably my favourite track on the record.” It poetically captures that pain of struggling to come back from deep loss, “But I’m here, all heart and no soul-Trying to find my way back home.” ‘She Knows’ captures the fear of being alone which can be one of the ingredients in the complex compound that make up the glue that keeps people together. “You can’t say she’s not been there through the years – As far as you can tell, she’ll always be there cos she knows – That life ain’t easy when you live it all alone.” ‘Broken Jaw’ and ‘Thirteen’ are the two songs that aren’t autobiographical, centred around the tragic loss of life and innocence
This is a really well-produced piece of work. The spare sound of guitar, harmonica and cello is beautiful. Tuchsherer’s rich voice delivers his lyrics with emotion that matches the poetry of his words. While these are revealing songs of heartbreak and feeling lost, listening to ‘Widows and Orphans’ isn’t depressing. It’s like visiting an old friend who honestly tells you the truth when asked: “How’s it goin?” Someone with whom sharing the pain eases the burden of living and makes carrying on possible. It’s folk music for everyone who has ever loved someone deeply, watched them walk away and lived through the pain. So light up the fire, pull up a chair and have a good listen.