On first - or for that matter, even second - hearing, Old Man Luedecke wouldn't appear a candidate for popular appeal, given the fact that he's a banjo plucking troubadour generally devoid of any sort of modern musical accoutrement. Here's a musician who prides himself on his uncompromising attitude, while still managing to carve out a career in an increasingly competitive folk/country arena. It's a credit then to his homegrown appeal that the five albums he's recorded to date have not only won him a faithful following, but also garnered him a Juno award, the highest accolade accorded by Canada's music industry.
It's hardly surprising then that having a sympathetic soul like Tim O'Brien behind the boards would all but assure Tender is the Night more of that modest trajectory. Being the traditionalist that he is, O'Brien takes care to surround his client with a series of unadorned and unassuming set-ups, gracing songs that run the gamut from high lonesome banjo and fiddle duets such as Can't Count Tears in the Oceanand Little Stream of Whiskey to more chipper and cheery offerings like A&W Song and Broken Heart Buddy. Likewise, the old time technique finds itself perfectly suited to the cowboy sing-along Song for Ian Tyson and the ragtime strum of This May Hurt Just a Bit.
Not surprisingly then, Luedecke appears absolutely giddy in this environment, content to ply his stock and trade. I'm fine, I am I am, he proclaims on the song of the same name, and given yet another unhurried and unburdened excursion, there's no reason to doubt this assertion. This Old Man is a master when it comes to administering his carefree caress.