Loudon Wainwright III: “Double Lifetime”
Loudon Wainwright III is something of popular music’s class clown. Since 1970, he’s been poking and prodding with irreverent songs that, while written in a folk style, are removed of the dour seriousness that can sometimes accompany the genre. Yet beneath that clown’s mask, Wainwright still has the ability to make touching observations about life, death, and everything in between. Just a glance at his latest album’s title–Older Than My Old Man Now–hints at the dark sense of humor that lies at the heart of Wainwright.
Wainwright draws a great deal of inspiration from Bob Dylan–it’s in his elliptical storytelling and nasal voice–yet his songs are much more confessional. Over the years, Wainwright has written honestly about his marriage to fellow folk singer Kate McGarrigle (the two later divorced), as well as the good and bad times with their two children, singers Rufus and Martha Wainwright. It’s this confessional style that has endeared him to his fans. He’s even found a following with a new generation after penning the soundtrack to the 2007 Judd Apatow comedy Knocked Up.
Wainwright recently stopped by KUT’s Studio 1A en route to a special intimate performance at the Cactus Cafe. As he says, he’s older than his old man now but that hasn’t stopped his trademark wit. In fact, his age has sharpened it, as the weaving tale of “Double Lifetime” ably proves.