All Songs Considered Blog
Fri July 13, 2012
First Watch: Loudon Wainwright III, 'The Here & The Now'
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 4:40 pm
Maybe we should all write our autobiographies and boil them down to 5 minutes. Loudon Wainwright III makes it look so easy in this music video for his song "The Here & the Now." There's a poignancy here that is so bittersweet and a trajectory that is both unpredictable and undeniable.
When I learned of Wainwright in 1970, he was a folk singer/storyteller/funnyman with an autobiographical sense of humor. That's as true as ever on his new album, Older Than My Old Man Now, and on this song in particular. His musical family (his ex-wife, the late Kate McGarrigle; son Rufus Wainwright; daughters Martha Wainwright, Lucy Wainwright Roche), his well-known journalist dad and his own foibles are all fodder for song here. This is simple storytelling in song that feels relateable even if you don't sing and your kids were never famous. And if you know the family history, the accompanying film and every smile and pose is powerful and prescient.
Here's Loudon on writing the song "The Here & the Now":
Singer-songwriter contemporaries of mine have recently taken to writing memoirs and autobiographies. I decided I would try to tell the story of my swinging life in a 3 and 1/2 minute song, emphasizing the aspect of the biological imperative. Guitar giant John Scofield is featured on this track. Also we have backing vocals by all four of my kids Rufus, Martha, Lucy, and Lexie, plus two out the three moms, Suzzy Roche and Ritamarie Kelly.
Older Than My Old Man Now is out now on 2nd Story Sound Records.