Regarding their late 2009 release Sigh No More, our own DaveyBoy suggested that Britain’s Mumford & Sons were, “delivering folk – and the banjo – to the masses.” While Mumford & Sons do employ the use of a banjo, they do so on an almost superficial level. On “Little Lion Man”, Sigh No More’s obvious standout, the banjo is used as little more than a reaction to the guitar. It always sounds nice and it always works but it’s never the focus.
The banjo is definitely Old Man Luedecke’s focus. He’s a “banjo revivalist” based out of Canada’s east coast. I could lazily compare his music to The Tallest Man on Earth and I just did. Maybe now you’ll listen.
On My Hands Are On Fire and Other Love Songs, his latest release, Old Man Luedecke (née Chris) enlists the help of a guitarist, bassist and fiddler (he-he) but more often than not the emphasis is on his words and his banjo.
“Foreign Tongue”, which you’ll hear below, is a prime example of how Luedecke does more with less. A uniquely written song, “Foreign Tongue” evolves from a love song about a distant, unfulfilled love into the desperate plea of a shy and nervous man who’s clearly convinced himself of a love only he’s aware of. Its 21st Century ambiguity makes it all the more anachronistic to the music and implicitly creepy. And for that I love it. Read the lyrics, found below, while you listen.
I’m an honest man, I’ve held my tongue.
I’ve watched the morons mingle and get the job half done
Never been to the top
No, I never even tried
My principles and shyness have kept my hands tied
When I see you dear I lose my breath
My silence and surrender dies a hundred deaths
I need the taste of your foreign tongue
I want first base, I want home runs
I never held you but I don’t mind trying
Sometimes silence is the same as lying
Oh Surrey girl I love your rain
To win your love I’d walk from Main
I hear you speak, I lose my cool
You’ll never say “can’t we just be friends”
You’ll feel my love when I hit send
Don’t let me scare you
Don’t you be alarmed
There’s nothing in this heart ever do you any harm
We cannot fail, we must be bold
We’ll love these days I promise when we get old
Oh come on love, there’s no use crying
Denying this love would just be lying