Loudon Wainwright III - Haven't Got the Blues (Yet)

When an artist's 26th (!) studio album features a jaunty Randy Newman-esque tune called 'The Morgue', you know humour is being used to leaven the weight of experience. Following 2012's Older Than My Old Man Now, which directly addressed issues of aging and mortality in that candid manner that might officially be termed 'the Wainwright way', Loudon Wainwright III's Haven't Got the Blues (Yet) continues to explore dark themes and autobiographical experiences, both small and life-changing, in an engaging, witty and often refreshingly light-hearted style that a number of younger songwriters wouldn't have the years of craftsmanship to pull off. Even when he's singing "Should I choose to get dressed?" on the tongue-in-cheek title track, it is the sound of someone content and at ease with his legacy.

Despite 'Depression Blues' rubbing up against 'Haven't Got the Blues (Yet)' on the tracklisting, the colours here are varied - which should be expected from an old-hand like Loudon who's led a rich life. Opener 'Brand New Dance' is horn-fuelled raucous rockabilly, in direct contrast to the '60s-folk lament of 'In a Hurry' and the country blues bar duet 'Harlan County', featuring harmonies from Aoife O'Donovan. Inevitably, one of the clan shows up too with Martha Wainwright appearing on the bittersweet 'I Knew Your Mother', with Wainwright's dog given lyrical attention on 'Man & Dog'. There's even one radio rock sorta-Christmas song ('Looking at the Calendar') leading into an out-and-out Christmas song... about US gun policy, entitled 'I'll Be Killing You This Christmas', mind. With so much to say and so much to share, a 27th is a likelihood - so let's hope he keeps those blues at bay.



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