Review of Loudon Wainwright III – classical songwriter still mischievous and misanthropic at 76 | Loudon Wainwright III

“Happy birthday!” someone yells at Loudon Wainwright III. The classic American singer-songwriter recorded another year on Monday. “Thank you,” he replies. “I am 37 years old.”

He’s actually 76, but he’s the first of many sons in an evening marked by sharp ideas, darkly funny misanthropy and mischievous banter, all hallmarks of Wainwright. “You’re all drunk, aren’t you?” he asks the raucous Yorkshire crowd, before cheekily personalizing the new Town & Country song: “I can’t believe I’m here…in Pocklington!”

Wainwright is touring Lifetime Achievement, his 26th studio album in 52 years, a lively mix of songs that reflect aging (“How old is 75? So old you’re barely alive”) and his desire for more years . Standing with an acoustic guitar, he plays as if trying to escape unseen restraints, his face contorted as if facing a gust of wind and his tongue spurting out of his mouth during solos. To honor the British crowd, he dusts off the unwittingly timely POW (Prince of Wales): “I suppose one day his mother will spit out that crown, but you can’t pin her down.”

Conscious laughter greets his announcement of several “family” songs, a regular source of inspiration for Wainwright – famous to the chagrin of his musical children Rufus and Martha. The Picture is a nice reflection on life at home, but howls of laughter greet the fun new song Family Vacation (“I’ll pack the car, load the bike and kayak…and leave the fucking family at home. home”).

The Wainwright Careers of Bob Dylan and Peter Blegvad cover short stories about women in Hammer’s horror films (“as erotic as it was for a 12-year-old in 1958”). After 90 minutes, he is finally tired. Lifetime Achievement is a humble confession of love (for his partner and his audience) from a man in his final years. Yet, lest anyone think he’s getting too soft, he mischievously details plans for his own memorial, which will be attended by “kids, ex-wives, all my former girlfriends – in a light drizzle – who can then drag themselves back to their miserable lives, after me!

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