Release Date: Apr 17, 2012
Record label: 2nd Story Sound
Genre(s): Folk, Pop/Rock, Contemporary Singer/Songwriter, Contemporary Folk
Loudon Wainwright III’s 22nd album extends the folk-rock autobiography that's made his body of work so impressive. It's a saga filled with Oedipal tension (his dad was a famed journalist, his son is Rufus Wainwright) and fraught love (ex-wives Kate McGarrigle and Suzzy Roche are folk icons)."The Days That We Die," featuring a passage written by his father with Rufus on vocals, and "I Remember Sex" captures the emotional range – from heart aching reflection to wry acceptance. It's riveting stuff; here's hoping the story doesn’t end for a long time.
Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen have both enjoyed latter-day critical resurgences not just because their recent work is in top form, but because at their age they are forced to confront death, and have done so with grace and aurally-enhanced creakiness (and in Dylan’s case, Daniel Lanois). But can a virtual stand-up comedian reach the same echelons on a “death album”? Yes. You’d be mistaken to pass up the greatest album of Loudon Wainwright III’s four-decade career, and an easy frontrunner for this year’s best album, period, as 2012 enters its second half.
Like lots of aging baby boomers, Loudon Wainwright III has spent on the planet more years than his father. Older Than My Old Man Now addresses that issue head on, as well as other related concerns. The 15 original tracks address aging, changing family relationships, and death, in sincere and heartfelt ways that make one consider his or her own mortality.
There's nothing Loudon Wainwright likes more than mixing gloom with humour – and the realisation he has now lived for longer than his father is the perfect excuse for a concept album about death. There are 14 new songs here, along with an exquisite ballad he wrote with Kate McGarrigle back in the 70s, all dealing with "death'n'decay". And it works, thanks to his bleak wit, his ability to match thoughtful lyrics against varied, mostly blues-based settings, and help from special guests.
Loudon Wainwright Jr., a noted columnist and editor for Life Magazine, died in 1988, just four days shy of his 66th birthday. His son, Loudon Wainwright III, was 42 that year, already an established folk singer-songwriter but not yet the cult actor with impeccable timing. He had already made his father a grandfather, although in the late 1980s no one knew that Rufus, Martha and Lucy would perpetuate the Wainwright name for another generation.
Loudon Wainwright III's Older Than My Old Man Now deals primarily with the inevitable: mortality, but not without his trademarked brand of cranky, wiseacre (and sometime just plain mean-spirited) sense of humor. Wainwright spends most of his time here "writing about my favorite protagonist: me." That said, this is actually as much an album about the ties that bind permanently (family) as it is about approaching death. On "The Here & Now," the opening track, Wainwright enlists all four of his children, ex-wife Suzzy Roche, and current wife Ritamarie Kelly.
RASCAL FLATTS “Changed” (Big Machine). Rascal Flatts is the union of a kick in the gut and a warm bath, the tension between feeling as assault and feeling as salve. That’s in the lyrics, sure, but just as often in the song structures themselves, which veer between high-drama up-tempo numbers ….