-- Loudon Wainwright III, "Older Than My Old Man Now" (2nd Story Sound)
This marvelous album will resonate with sons, daughters, parents, spouses or those mindful of their mortality.
In other words: everyone.
Few make the personal universal better than Loudon Wainwright III, and on "Older Than My Old Man Now," he sings for us all on the topics of decline, death and family dysfunction.
These have been recurring subjects in the Wainwright oeuvre, but now that he's 65 – and well aware his dad passed away at 63 – nearly every song touches on death. Even the novelty tunes fit with the album's theme – "Date Line" looks at the passage of time from the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and the hilarious "My Meds" is a druggy tune for the Medicare crowd.
Inventive musical arrangements keep things from becoming too grim, and a large supporting cast helps, too. Among those contributing are all four of Wainwright's children and even his late father, who was a columnist for Life magazine. Loudon reads two eloquent essays by his dad that fit beautifully.
Also included is the only song co-written by Wainwright and his late first wife, Kate McGarrigle, a tune from 1975 called "Over the Hill." Some 37 years later, Wainwright finds the clock still running out.
The album closes with "Something's Out to Get Me," a ballad full of foreboding but also life-affirming. As the closing lyric notes, we're all in this together.
CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: Both funny and sad, "In C" ranks with Wainwright's best songs. It begins as a spoof on his rudimentary piano playing but cuts to the bone when he begins airing out his family's dirty laundry.