Movement Magazine

Banjo savant Old Man Luedecke builds a cabin in the woods, then records in it

Thomas Bellflower June 11, 2015
Partners with Multi Grammy Award-Winner
Tim O’Brien on Domestic Eccentric, out July 24 
Bluegrass Situation Premieres New Video for “Early Days”
Canada’s favorite banjo savant Old Man Luedecke announced last week that he’ll release his sixth studio album Domestic Eccentric next month on July 24th via True North Records.   His latest video for “Early Days,”  which premiered today on The Bluegrass Situation , was filmed during a recording session for the new album.  “It was shot in the cabin I built in the woods behind my house where we made the record,” says Luedecke. “It starts with footage from inside the backhoe we had to hire to plow a road through the three and a half feet of snow to the cabin to get the gear in.  You can hear Tim O’Brien and I discussing playing the individual strings of a chord to kick off the song just like the songs on Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Gospel album.  It looks like we’re having fun making the record, I think. The end shots are from my 39th birthday party that same night.”
WATCH:  Old Man Luedecke’s “Early Days” video via Bluegrass Situation:
As the title suggests, Domestic Eccentric is mostly a record about home.  It’s about what it means to be a still-youngish man, what it’s like to still be in love with the woman you started writing songs about and moved to the country with more than a decade ago, about what it’s like to watch your own babies grow to children, and about the joys and sorrows attendant upon the milestones of parenthood.
A record so replete with home seemed impossible to make anywhere else. So Old Man Luedecke fitted out his back woods cabin, a hand-hewn affair he’d built himself from rough-sawn lumber, and hired a backhoe to make a 500 yard road through the record amounts of snow so he could bring in top-level recording gear.  He invited Tim O’Brien to stay at his home with his family for a week of snowbound collaboration in Chester, Nova Scotia.  Leudecke and O’Brien had worked together before, and their increasing comfort in each other’s musical presence has yielded spectacular results. “Tim is my favorite musician,” Luedecke says.  “And working with him in a duet environment in a cabin at home was a waking dream.”
“You can’t fake a work of heart,” Luedecke sings in “The Girl in the Pearl Earring,” the second song on Domestic Eccentric, and the assured confidence of that line, the assertion of a straightforward truth, is the guiding principle behind the entire album. Old Man Luedecke is the real thing, a modern-day people’s poet and traveling bard and balladeer.  He’s played around the world to a loving and increasing fan base, and won two JUNO Awards in the process. Tim O’Brien is a multiple Grammy Award winning roots multi-instrumentalist whose solo work and collaborations have made him one of the most respected American players working today.  The two last worked together on Luedecke’s 2012 release, Tender Is The Night, which was nominated for a JUNO Award, listed for The Polaris Music Prize and won “Album of the Year” at the East Coast Music Awards.
“I worked with people I loved and trusted,” says Luedecke when telling the story of Domestic Eccentric.  “And the record, for me, is a rich portrait of personal friendships.”  Along with Tim O’Brien, master engineer John D. Southern Adams of Stonehouse Sound (who worked so tirelessly he became a producer of the project) and vocalist Jennah Barry (who left her own dinner guests waiting while she sang on “The Briar and the Rose”) are both from nearby Mahone Bay.  Drummer Nick Halley (James Taylor) lives even closer than that. In fact, the whole album is recorded live off the floor, with the exception of Samson Grisman (Sarah Jarosz, Lee Ann Womack), who was sad to have to record his bass parts in Nashville.
“It was a magical week,” Luedecke reminisces.  “You bring a few great people together, these great talents, these amazing musical components. And then you watch all the pieces become this one amazing thing.”
Domestic Eccentric Track List:
01) Yodelady
02) The Girl in the Pearl Earring
03) The Briar and the Rose
04) Brightest on the Heart
05) The Early Days
06) Wait a While
07) Low on the Hog
08) Real Wet Wood
09) Old High Way of Love
10) Chester Boat Song
11) Now We Got a Kitchen
12) Hate What I Say
13) Year of the Dragon
14) Happy Ever After

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