Loudon Wainwright III
CD Stock Number: Red House Records RHR CD 158
Loudon Wainwright III is a folksinger. Folksinger not only in the usual sense, LW III sings about the folk in his life. His unhappy loves, his relationship with his parents, his children, and his ongoing fascination with fame. Then again, the songs are mostly they are about himself. Back in the day, Wainwright was one of the "new Dylans," had one "hit," "Dead Skunk" in '72, and then quickly resettled into his folksy groove. I caught one of his Village shows in the early 1970s and I have been a fan ever since.
LW III is a performing artist, best appreciated in his natural habitat, the stage in clubs or concert halls. He's recordings, thanks mostly to unsympathetic production styles, have been pretty variable, but that's been getting better, and this new one, Last Man on Earth is his most confident since History (1992). The best of Loudon's songcraft feels lived in, these tunes aren't tossed off or mere filler, no they mean something.
While it is pretty easy to never really hear the words on so many of my favorite songs, I always catch LW III's words. The guy can be pretty damn funny, but this new one is a collection of songs that came out of him following the death of his mother in 1997. They come from a man summing up his life, looking back, and ahead.
I'm not going to weep today
From "I'm Not Gonna Cry"
"White Winos" looks back on fond memories of imbibing with Mom, and the CD's closer, "Homeless" really stirred something in me. "When you were alive I was never alone/Somewhere in the world there was something called home," recounts that feeling of overwhelming loss. It is one of his most beautiful songs.
Sound Quality: 85