Loudon Wainwright III - Older Than My Old Man Now

With his most famous familial protégé Rufus scheduled to release his latest opus next week, musical senior statesman Loudon Wainwright III treats listeners to a wise and often wonderful record that proves there is life in the 'old man' yet. Given the album's title and the fact that Wainwright is in his mid-sixties, you might not be surprised to learn that the songs come from a place of experience and reflection but, importantly, the prolific singer/songwriter's saucy humour remains intact and adds further poignancy to these fifteen frank confessionals.

'The Here & The Now' is effectively a three and a half minute biographical account of Wainwright's life in the mode of a Stevie Wonder soul shuffle, and the following songs build on this by allowing us further personal access. Piano ballad 'In C' manages to be both touching and self-deprecating ("Here's another song in C / With my favourite protagonist... me"), while distinctively American folk songs like 'Double Lifetime' and the title track are as fresh as they are charming. There are laughs to be had (the jaunty 'My Meds' and barmy Dame Edna Everage duet 'I Remember Sex') but, twenty-plus albums in, Wainwright can lay on the pathos too; 'The Days That We Die' confronts Wainwright's well-documented and rocky relationship with his children, all of whom sing backing vocals on different songs here, while the recent death of first wife Kate McGarrigle adds further gravitas to the album's exploration of mortality. Undoubtedly, this is a fine addition to the man's legacy.



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