In times when uninspired sameness and unjustified experimentation appear to be the norm seeing some old-school cool in the music industry is refreshing. With his upcoming album “Domestic Eccentric” Canadian singer-songwriter Chris Luedecke does justice to his stage name “Old Man” and delivers craftsmanship quality proper of yesteryears.
Each and every song in the record is a different take on family affairs. They talk about relationships, adulthood and the perks/troubles of being a parent – a reflection, thus, of the artist’s situation at the moment, his life in a backwood cabin with wife and baby twins. When art tries to replicate reality the results are often enticing.
That is why the studio of choice for this record was his own house: there’s no better place to deal with private matters than one’s own backyard. The only “intruder” Luedecke allowed in his personal statement was long-time friend and Grammy award-winner Tim O’Brien. Because, well, the multi-instrumentalist knows how to work his strings.
“Tim is my favourite musician,” explains Luedecke. “Working with him in a duet environment in a cabin at home was a waking dream.” The two had paired twice before (including for 2012’s “Tender is the Night”, which won Album of the Year at the East Coast Music Awards), but this time around the partnership sounds even more fluid and organic.
Songs like “Prologue: Yodelady” and “The Briar and the Rose” are simply delightful and good examples of the balanced arrangement the duo managed to apply throughout the entire disc. All in all, “Domestic Eccentric” sounds subtle and fun without ever losing contact with the message it is trying to convey in the best traditions of the folk and country music.
Luedecke’s fine way with language – “We’re saving up for date night so we can have our fight,” he sings in “The Early Days” – is a perfect match to O’Brien’s skills. The poetry one writes probably wouldn’t have the same power without the accurate adorning provided by the other. Together, however, they are unison.
“Domestic Eccentric” is the seventh album by Canadian singer-songwriter Old Man Luedecke, third recorded alongside Tim O’Brien, and will be released online and in stores on 24th of July.
Yep, one of the quirkiest love songs I ever heard.
The Dustbowl Revival is at the forefront of yet another pre-rock ‘n’ roll revival, and don’t mistake this for a fad. Sure, everyone remembers the “Swing revival” of the late ‘90s with Squirrel Nut Zippers and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy leading the charge (while Brian Setzer Orchestra cashed the checks). The bands got hot and then got dumped into used CD bins. But, the thing is, there are always going to be artists taken with the sounds and styles of pre-World War II music, an era with pockets no less musically rebellious than our own subcultures, an era of racial and stylistic mingling, and of costumes no less gaudy than those of any glam-era apologist.
Taking inspiration from Louis Armstrong‘s Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings, Fats Waller, and, even, Bob Dylan and the Band’s The Basement Tapes, the Dustbowl Revival were named “Best Live Band” by L.A. Weekly in 2013 and are poised to win a national audience with their fourth album With a Lampshade On.
You may have seen them on your Facebook feed or as Huffington Post clickbait a few weeks back (time, and our collective attention span, does fly) when their video for “Never Had to Go”, featuring Dick Van Dyke and his wife, makeup stylist Arlene Silver, went viral. The Van Dykes were so taken with the band’s music after seeing them open for the Preservation Jazz Hall Band that they invited them into their home to record the video for With a Lampshade On’s first single. “Never Had to Go” is as infectious as Mr. Van Dyke’s fleet footed moves in the video, which has been viewed over two million times on YouTube, and the album’s other 13 cuts, mostly recorded live at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco and the Troubadour in Los Angeles, comprise an upbeat and stylistically diverse collection performed by a collective at the top of its game.
These revivalists are masters at melding diverse genres and time periods into a danceable stew. One travels from the moors to the bayou to the Blue Ridge in the space of three minutes during their dervish-like performance of “Old Joe Clark”. Follow up “Feels Good” opens with a riff straight out of Velvet Underground’s Loaded before sweeping horns introduce vocalist Liz Beebe’s sassy and commanding vocals. “Hey Baby” features powerhouse horns and call-and-response singing straight out of a Chicago blues house party. “Standing Next to Me” shuffles along with a doo-wop inspired R&B vibe.
The band consists of founder Zach Lupetin on guitar and vocals, Beebe on vocals and washboard, Daniel Mark on mandolin, Connor Vance on fiddle, Matt Rubin and Ulf Bjorlin on trumpet and trombone, James Klopfleisch on bass, and Joshlyn Heffernan on drums. With a Lampshade On gives each member a moment in the spotlight, be it Heffernan’s extended solo on “Ain’t My Fault”, Rubin’s French-cabaret inflected trumpet playing on “Bright Lights”, or Vance’s fiddle reel that opens “Cherokee Shuffle”. Lupetin and Beebe trade off on vocals throughout, each proving an expressive singer. Lupetin’s strong voice is cloaked in bayou brassiness while in Beebe they have a vocalist capable of bluesy sass, chatterbox nightclub swagger, and jazz-chanteuse sweetness. But it’s as a collective that they triumph, playing it loose but tight, the best way to win over a crowd, and they do. Album closer “Whiskey in the Well” is a tour-de-force of a band playing at full-speed, without-a-net joy.
Summer is the perfect time for this upbeat and foot-stomping album’s release. Dim the lights, put the drinks on ice, and press play: with With a Lampshade On, the Dustbowl Revival promises to be the life of the party.