Old Man Luedecke “Easy Money” (True North Records, 2019)

Old Man Luedecke is the performing name for Canadian singer-songwriter and banjo player Chris Luedecke who typically crosses a number of folk-ish styles in his music, and the new album ‘Easy Money‘ is no exception to that. It’s an album that takes a lot of inspiration from family, one way or another. The opening, and title, song is a banjo led light-hearted daydream of what life could be like if the money just rolled in – there’s no desire for a jet-set lifestyle though, no it’s more down to earth longings “I’m sure that I could spend my days / watching my children play / and getting them to school each day / I never stop dreaming about easy money”.

Dad Jokes‘ combines a musing on the downsides of middle-age and also emphasizes the effects of a lack of that easy money – instead of living that high life there’s always a hankering after a more that just is out of reach “when I fell for you my love and wooed and won your hand / I gained the key for us to be in the promised land / But then came renovations and we had to pick a floor . Ain’t it hard when all you want is more.” It’s tongue-in-cheek stuff, with a serious subtext.

There is, however no such subtext to the softly swaying ‘Sardine Song‘ which celebrates the king of toast toppers “both the landlubber and the fisherman / love the sardines that come in a little can.” It’s a sweet little number, but it does start to suggest that Old Man Luedecke’s world outlook is very much the same as the jokier end of folk-boom artist such as the Kingston Trio. Mid-album throws up a partial antidote to that thought in the shape of ‘Death of Truth‘ which carries on the family connections in as much as it draws on thoughts of Chris Luedecke’s news-junkie father – but it also reflects on the current obsession by certain politicians to deny facts and trumpet a distorted and hateful world view and yearns for a sane voice to talk it all over with. This seriousness doesn’t last though – ‘Lonely Country‘ is a bouncing little up-beat country love-song, whilst ‘Money Pit‘ is a calypso tinged hunt for buried pirate treasure. In this increasingly mixed bag of tunes there’s a few more surprises to come – ‘Le Ciel est Noir‘ offers a French language version of Dylan’s ‘Hard Rain’s a-gonna Fall‘ whilst the album’s closer ‘I Skipped a Stone‘ returns to the opening theme, but documenting the reality of getting the money in not such easy ways: being away from wife and family on tours, feeling disconnected and lonesome and then elated when some contact is made, even if just by telephone. It’s a nice and soulful heartfelt outpouring of love, given extra musical depth by the presence of the band Bahamas adding musical and vocal support.

Easy Money‘ has a lot of heart, how much it appeals will really depend on the listener’s appetite for gentle humour and songs that are hard to give a weightier description to than “fun“. Not that fun is such a small thing – as John Lennon said “fun is the one thing that money can’t buy“.

Not groundbreaking perhaps, but Easy Money is a solid album of banjo and guitar led folksong.
6/10
6/10

About Jonathan Aird 2774 Articles
Sure, I could climb high in a tree, or go to Skye on my holiday. I could be happy. All I really want is the excitement of first hearing The Byrds, the amazement of decades of Dylan's music, or the thrill of seeing a band like The Long Ryders live. That's not much to ask, is it?
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments