Loudon Wainwright III

For forty very odd years, Loudon Wainwright III's lacerating wit, unflinching candor and impish glee have combined to skewer everything in sight, from the near and dear to the feared — which, as it now turns out, is the Grim Reaper. LW3's favorite protagonist has always been himself, and he's made self-deprecation a highly twisted art form. His latest, Older Than My Old Man Now, is a morbid laugh riot about "death 'n' decay," physical infirmities, geriatric medication, fractured families, regrets, confusion and fleeting time, and was apparently triggered by the 65-year-old III lapping II, who died at 63. Accompanying Loudon are all four Wainwright offspring and guests like Ramblin' Jack Elliott, who duets on "Double Lifetime," a desperate but jaunty plea for another go-round since "I wasted my first one." Wainwright is cheerfully sardonic throughout most of the album, cleverly peppering the tunes with wry humor. But there's also inevitable poignancy at work, bittersweet and haunting, as he pokes at a lifetime of uncomfortable truths.


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