Roger Miller

Samantha Harlow #1310

Samantha Harlow‘s debut full-length record, Love Letters, brought together her songs with a stellar Nashville team, including co-producer, Kenny Vaughn. While studio and stage notables like Jen Gunderman, John McTigue, Mike Shannon, Wes Burkhart, Simon Roper and background vocals from Derek Hoke fill the sounds, Harlow’s songs maintain their simple, sad essence. Love Letters is a bit melancholy lyrically, yet it steers clear of tear-in-my-beer tunes or man-hating anthems. The production separates this record from singer-songwriter folk, but it easily falls back into a solo or trio for live interpretations of the songs. Look for Harlow to tour more throughout the summer and expand her reach, as her songs and performances develop and grow.

Liner Notes

Podcast

Old Man Luedecke #1305

Old Man Luedecke may be new to US audiences, but the Canadian folk songwriter is well-known and lauded north of the border.  As his photo indicates, he is not old, but the music that captures his interest and influences his writing is old.  Luedecke references traditional music from the Smithsonian Folkways series, like the Red Clay Ramblers, but sounds more like a folked-out Paul Simon to me.  (Interestingly, Simon is never referenced, but I cannot get the vocal comparison out of my ears with this record.)

Despite obscure literary references, Tender is the Night, is solidly present.  Although F. Scott Fitzgerald or even Jackson Browne may come to mind, Luedecke has never read that book nor has he heard to catchy tune of the same name–although his mandolin player sings it to him often.  (Luedecke says he is referencing Melville’s Billy Budd who is referencing Keats and a reflection on Thomas Payne’s “Rights of Man.”)  Despite the heavy influences, the music is simple and accessible–producer, Tim O’Brien, gently decorated Luedecke’s songs.

While much more folk-y than most of the music we cover, the connection to the history of folk music and a modern reflection of it, tie  these songs to the rest of the catalog.  Luedecke’s use of humor and the absurd, Biblical topics and modern life, demonstrate how traditional lyrical subjects continue to engage listeners.

Liner Notes

Podcast