Published on April 2nd, 2012 | by Clara Cullen
Loudon Wainwright III- Older Than My Old Man Now
‘Older Than My Old Man Now’ is a pretty heavy album. Issues concerning family and death weigh intently on its narrative focus. While it’s true that Wainwright has never been one to shy away from such tough issues, on his 22nd studio album, there does seem to be an insistent edge to his songs. He addresses the issue of his impending demise, on the humorous yet poignant “Double Lifetime”- a rabble rousing folk duet with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott.
The collaborations on ‘Older Than My Old Man Now’ create some of the albums’ highlights. Not only do they help lend the album its communal feel, they also aptly utilise and focus the talents of Wainwright, his musical family and his many famous friends. These collaborations which range from “The Here and Now” that sees five generations of Wainwright’s on one song, through to the bizarrely brilliant ‘I Remember Sex’, a duet with Dame Edna Everage.
‘Over The Hill’ a song written with his ex-wife, the folk singer Kate McGarrigle who died two years ago is fittingly introspective. The song first appeared on Wainwright’s 1975 album ‘Unrequited’. Its reappearance on this album is a perfect tribute to a great songwriter, while also helping to progress the album’s themes.
‘Older Than My Old Man Now’ is a record that can confront hard realities with a smirk on its face, and as an album it’s no less honest because of it, merely more aware that in life the good comes with the bad. Loudon Wainwright the III is a songwriter to put your faith into. One can’t abstain all his song writing sins (anyone remember Cobwebs?-What the hell was that about..) but when he gets it right his songs expose the best of uncomfortable truths. They’re annoyingly honest and at times too damn clever for their own good. He can make you dislike him, make you think to yourself “why did he have to write that?” It’s all too real, too familiar. Yet, it is exactly when Wainwright is at his most uncompromising does he give you songs as good and as heartbreaking as ‘Career Moves’ or ‘Your Mother and I’. This album, his best in years, contains similar moments of glory, gems such as ‘In C’ and ‘The Days That We Die’ say things that are so essential and necessary that it’s quite remarkable.
It is for this reason that ultimately Wainwright will be remembered not just for being the brilliant songwriter he certainly is, but for something nobler, being committed to telling the truth even if it reveals his own selfish flaws.
Loudon Wainwright III’s website: http://www.lw3.com/home.php
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