In Between the Acts, The Globe and Mail takes a look at how artists manage their time before and after a creative endeavour.
Currently writing songs for his next album, the Juno-winning banjo songster Chris Luedecke (a.k.a. Old Man Luedecke) hits the road this month and next, first with a new trio, followed by a longer solo tour. The Nova Scotia balladeer talks songs and sardines (but mostly sardines).
I'm about to do a few shows with two other singer-songwriters. We're calling ourselves Banjo Tramps. I don't know what that's going to be. It's a name, right now.
Tim O'Brien, who's been my producer on the last two albums, is taking me and one of his oldest musical heroes, J.D. Hutchison, on the road. We've all written songs for the banjo in the past. It will be an evening of stories and songs. We're going into the studio, where we'll basically tape our rehearsals. Then we'll make a record, I guess, of what we have and how we're going to play together.
The tour starts at Nashville's Station Inn. My visa paperwork only came in yesterday. It was down to the wire for me.
I'm halfway to my own record right now, in terms of songs that I think are good. I'm already working those songs into my live shows. It's always been that way. I write something and I feel like I really want to play it for people. I'm not great as far as holding things back.
I have a dedicated workspace for writing. But you'd be surprised at how many songs get started at the kitchen table or at the most inopportune moment, when everybody is trying to get out the door or when we're trying to get the kids into the car. That's when the little flash of something breaks through the drudgery of trying to write something new for the last two and a half weeks. Something slips past the filter, and that's what I'll pursue to the detriment of whatever else needs to be done at the time.
One of my achievements lately is a song about my fondness for sardines. There are four verses, which is more verses than you would think sardines deserve. They just seem like this magical object to me, and I love eating them.
The song is going well. I guess if people hated it, I wouldn't keep playing it. But I generally don't play songs that I'm not already in love with. In order to do what I do, which is fairly eccentric, I'm writing highly personal songs. If I play them live, I already have a conviction about the humour and the humanity. If I can end my set with a song about sardines and feel like I've done a pretty good show, that's kind of what I live for.
Old Man Luedecke is currently on tour (oldmanluedecke.ca/tour).