A collaborative effort

Joel Plaskett-produced album is a step up

Luedecke moved to the east coast from Toronto to enjoy a slower pace of life.
Luedecke moved to the east coast from Toronto to enjoy a slower pace of life.
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Nova Scotian singer-songwriter Old Man Luedecke’s latest release, the three-song EP I Never Sang Before I Met You, finds him collaborating with Canadian musician Joel Plaskett to great effect.

The collection marks an interesting departure for Luedecke, as it finds him stepping away from his traditional folk instrumentation and melodies.

Rather than violins and double bass, Luedecke is accompanied by Plaskett himself on electric guitar, bass, organ and even a drum machine; for those familiar with the more pastoral feel of Luedecke’s earlier records, this could seem like a fairly radical turnaround.

The evolution extends from the instrumentation to the actual songs themselves, starting with the joyfully sunny “Baby, We’d Be Rich,” which finds Luedecke experimenting with a straightforward pop melody. Meanwhile, Plaskett contributes a chugging rock and roll guitar part and that aforementioned drum machine. When Luedecke’s own banjo does eventually show up, it almost sounds out of place in this environment.

While “Baby, We’d Be Rich” is by far the biggest and most notable sonic departure on I Never Sang Before I Met You, the two songs that follow explore equally new areas for Luedecke, though in comparatively subtle fashion.

“Time Alone” finds Luedecke’s collaboration with Plaskett resulting in him sounding like, well, Joel Plaskett, or perhaps Blitzen Trapper circa-Furr. It’s a sing-song-y faux roots-rock type thing — typical of Canadian indie-pop that’s perhaps a bit too cute for its own good — and the weakest track on the EP by far. It’s still an attempt at something new for Luedecke though, so the failure is at least an interesting one.

Then, there’s “Sorry If I Let You Down,” perhaps the best song on I Never Sang. Here, Luedecke’s traditional folk leanings and Plaskett’s irrepressible pop instincts merge seamlessly, resulting in a modest Tom Petty-esque anthem that grows more endearing on every listen.

Ultimately, I Never Sang Before I Met You is an incredibly fruitful experiment — a transitional release that feels like a sign of different possible futures for Old Man Luedecke.

Old Man Luedecke’s I Never Sang Before I Met You is available now. Catch him live at the Grad Club on Feb. 22.

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