Loudon Wainwright III – new memoir, Liner Notes, published this month

Liner Notes

With a career spanning more than four decades and still going strong, Loudon Wainwright III has established himself as one of the most enduring singer songwriters of his generation. Few others have revealed their lives so intimately in songs about parents, grandparents, children, siblings, and wives. As Loudon himself says, “It’s taken so long to finally see / My songs about you are all about me” (Taken from ‘So Many Songs’). Loudon’s songs are funny, incisive and heartbreaking.

In his new memoir, Liner Notes On Parents & Children, Exes & Excess, Death & Decay & A Few of My Other Favorite Things published on October 26th on Omnibus Press, Wainwright continues to emphasise the personal. In the book he details the family history his lyrics reference, and the fractured relationships in the Wainwright family throughout generations, including issues of alcoholism, infidelity, competitiveness, closeness, successes and joy. Wainwright also reflects on the experiences that have so clearly influenced his songwriting: boarding school, the music business, swimming, macrobiotics, sex, incarceration, and something he enigmatically calls the “Sir Walter Raleigh Syndrome”.

Very much about being a son – a status that dominates many of Wainwright’s songs – Liner Notes is also about being a parent, a brother, and a grandfather. Song lyrics are included throughout the book and amplify Wainwright’s prose while demonstrating the connections between his songs and real life. Also included are excerpts and selections from his father’s brilliant LIFE magazine columns, reinforcing him as a major essayist of his era.

A funny and insightful meditation on family, inspiration, and art, Liner Notes will captivate not only existing fans, but anyone who appreciates the intersection of music, relationships, life and love.

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Artist’s website: http://www.lw3.com/

CHAIM TANNENBAUM – Chaim Tannenbaum (Storysound 161-017)

Chaim TannenbaumAnyone who has been a fan of the McGarrigles will be familiar with multi-instrumentalist Chaim Tannenbaum. Friends with Kate and Anna at high school in Montreal, he joined their group, the Mountain City Four, in the mid-60s and, after a brief hiatus as they went their separate ways, reunited with the sisters for their debut album and subsequently played on a further eight of their albums. The relationship also led to his involvement with Kate’s then husband, Loudon Wainwright III, first serving as executive producer on 1984’s I’m Alright and then going on to play on a further ten, as well as producing several of them. He has also been a regular touring member for both Wainwright and the McGarrigles.

In addition, he’s also appeared on albums by both Martha and Rufus Wainwright, Linda Thompson and Beck. However, in all that time, content to remain the background, he’s never released anything of his own. But now, at 68, encouraged by producer Dick Connete, with whom he worked on Loudon’s Grammy-winning High, Wide & Handsome, he’s just recorded his debut album. In keeping with his quiet, modest and somewhat studious persona (he’s also a teacher), it’s an understated but impeccably tasteful affair that draws on his formative exposure to the work of Guthrie, Seeger and other singers and songwriters from the early years of American folk music. As such, there’s several traditional tunes here, Tannenbaum restricting himself to either banjo or guitar, with one excursion on piano, while various guests provide the other instrumentation, most notably long time cohort David Mansfield on violin and slide with Wainwright providing backing vocals on three of the numbers.

The album makes its bow with just voice and guitar on a simple just under two-minute reading of Rev. A.W. Fletcher’s much recorded ‘Farther Along’ before being joined by Wainright, Mansfield, Connette (on percussion) and backing vocalist Margaret Glaspy for a fine piano-backed version of prison work song “Ain’t No More Cane on the Brazos”, apparently learnt from a Lonnie Donegan recording, with Tannenbaum’s reedy vocal investing spiritual dimension. The traditional repertoire continues with the violin and guitar arrangement of the lazing, whistling ragtime ‘Coal Man Blues’ and, with just Connette on harmonium, the celebration of a tipple or two with the hymnal-like ‘Moonshiner’, the ‘too ra loo la roo la roo’ refrain nodding to Irish roots.

A fuller sound returns with ‘Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit’ which features accordion, tuba, trumpet and taps for a frisky, thigh slapper riverside spiritual learned from the recording by Luther Magby, though, even earlier, is the waltzing ‘Mama’s Angel Child’ which, featuring mandolin-banjo, stems from the canon of Sweet Papa Stovepipe, aka, African-American bluesman Johnny Watson, who’s thought to be the earliest example of an American bluesman recording.

The first of the four Tannenbaum originals is something of an epic, the near ten minute semi-spoken ‘London, Longing For Home’, on which, backed by cornet, accordion, clarinet, flugelhorn and euphonium, he recounts a sojourn in London with its crowds, dirt, rain, tradition and mouths full of brown broken teeth, namechecking Acton and Tottenham and interpolating the chorus of the classic homesick longing of traditional American folk song Oh Shenandoah.

He mentions Milton, Marvell and Dickens here, but it’s another English literary source that underpins the Music Hall-like ‘Business Girls’, a London-set poem by John Betjeman set to music variously by Erik Satie and Tom Gilbert and featuring French horns, violin and cello. It’s back to self-penned material for ‘Brooklyn 1955’, a simple voice and guitar exercise in nostalgia of summers spent watching the Dodgers play at Ebbets Field before they moved to L.A. It’s not autobiographical (he’s a Yankees fan), but it does address the feeling of being in exile from your own past, its markers gradually eroded.

Tracking back in time to the 30s, a rosy glow hangs over the album’s best known number, tuba and accordion accompanying him on a short slow ballroom waltzing rendition of the Hartburg, Rose and Arlen romantic evergreen ‘It’s Only A Paper Moon’. Then comes what must have been the most moving, but also the most difficult number to include as he’s joined by Wainwright, with Marcus Rojas on tuba, for his tribute to his late friend Kate McGarrigle on her own achingly wistful homesick anthem ‘(Talk To Me of) Mendocino’, a song he must have performed with her many times, and here given a beautifully heartfelt and reading that brings a lump to the throat.

The album ends with the final self-penned number, ‘Belfast Louis Falls In Love’, an eight-minute shaggy dog storysong about seizing romance when and where it offers itself that mentions Cagney, Garbo, Caruso and Coltrane and sports such philosophical observations as “there are men who think the future is all bicycles and ice cream”, staying in Ireland as he’s joined by Wainwright for a rousing 58-second a capella coda of shanty ‘Paddy Doyle’ taken from a recording by Ewan MacColl.

From Broadway to Appalachia, from the antebellum South to sepia tinted memories of New York, Tannenbaum brings warmth and honesty, running his fingers through the dust of American folk music, stirring up sparkles and a sense of a world we have lost as it shimmers in the light.

Mike Davies

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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Artist’s website: http://storysoundrecords.com

‘Brooklyn 1955’ – official video:

The Winners of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2015 Announced

At this years 2015 Radio 2 Folk Awards, Lifetime Achievements went to the legendary “Peace Trained” musician Yusuf / Cat Stevens and Grammy Award-winning “double lifetime” artist Loudon Wainwright III.

BBC Radio 2 Folk Award 2015 Lifetime Achievement winner YUSUF / CAT STEVENS with David Gray who presented the awarded earlier that night at the Cardiff Millenium Centre. Photo courtesy of the BBC.
BBC Radio 2 Folk Award 2015 Lifetime Achievement winner YUSUF / CAT STEVENS with David Gray who presented the awarded earlier that night at the Cardiff Millennium Centre. Photo courtesy of the BBC.
Tom Robinson presents BBC Radio 2 Folk Award 2015 Lifetime Achievement to LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff. Photo courtesy of the BBC.
Tom Robinson presents BBC Radio 2 Folk Award 2015 Lifetime Achievement to LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff. Photo courtesy of the BBC.
BBC Radio 2 Folk Award 2015 Lifetime Achievement winner "Mr Moonshadow" Yusuf / Cat Stevens performing at the Cardiff Millennium Centre on the 22/04/15. Photo courtesy of the BBC.
BBC Radio 2 Folk Award 2015 Lifetime Achievement winner “Mr Moonshadow” Yusuf / Cat Stevens performing at the Cardiff Millennium Centre on the 22/04/15. Photo courtesy of the BBC.
BBC Radio 2 Folk Award 2015 Lifetime Achievement winner LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III performing on the night. Photo courtesy of the BBC.
BBC Radio 2 Folk Award 2015 Lifetime Achievement winner LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III performing on the night. Photo courtesy of the BBC.

Ewan MacColl was inducted into the Radio 2 Folk Awards Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame exists to recognise the special contribution of an individual to the world of folk music; someone whose impact and influence has had a lasting impression.

Meredydd Evans is the 2015 recipient of The Good Tradition Award. The award is given to a person, group or organisation for their contribution to the preservation, dissemination and continuance/progression of traditional music over a number of years.

BEST DUO WINNERSJosienne Clarke & Ben Walker
Nominations:
Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker
O’Hooley & Tidow
Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar
Chris While & Julie Matthews

Congratulations to BBC Radio 2 Folk Award 2015 Best Duo Winners Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker. Photo courtesy of the BBC.
Congratulations to BBC Radio 2 Folk Award 2015 Best Duo Winners Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker. Photo courtesy of the BBC.

BEST TRADITIONAL TRACK WINNERSamhradh Samhradh – The Gloaming
Nominations:
Bedlam – Stick In The Wheel
Handsome Molly – The Furrow Collective
Manus Mo Rùin – Cruinn
Samhradh Samhradh – The Gloaming

Congratulations to Iarla Ó Lionáird & THE GLOAMING on winning the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award 2015 "Best Traditional Track" for their composition "Samhradh Samhradh".
Congratulations to Iarla Ó Lionáird & THE GLOAMING on winning the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award 2015 “Best Traditional Track” for their composition “Samhradh Samhradh”.

HORIZON AWARD WINNERSThe Rails
Nominations:
Ange Hardy
Maz O’Connor
Stick In The Wheel
The Rails

Charlie Dale presenting R2 Horizon Award to James Walbourne & Kami Thompson from THE RAILS. Photo courtesy of the BBC.
Charlie Dale presenting R2 Horizon Award to James Walbourne & Kami Thompson from THE RAILS. Photo courtesy of the BBC.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG WINNERSSwim To The Star – Peggy Seeger/Calum MacColl (performed by Peggy Seeger)
Nominations:
Swim To The Star – Peggy Seeger/Calum MacColl (performed by Peggy Seeger)
The Necklace Of Wrens – Michael Hartnett (performed by The Gloaming)
The Pitmen Poets – Jez Lowe
The Spider And The Wolf – Paul Simmonds (performed by Naomi Bedford)

BBC RADIO 2 YOUNG FOLK AWARD WINNERSTalisk
Nominations:
Cup O’Joe
Roseanne Reid
Talisk
Wildwood Kin

BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winners TALISK with Nancy Kerr. Photo courtesy of the BBC.
BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winners TALISK with Nancy Kerr. Photo courtesy of the BBC.

MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR WINNERSam Sweeney
Nominations:
Martin Green
Will Pound
Sam Sweeney
Kathryn Tickell

A huge folking well done to BBC Radio 2 Folk Award 2015 Musician Of The Year winner, SAM SWEENEY. The boy wonder has done good! Photo courtesy of the BBC.
A huge folking well done to BBC Radio 2 Folk Award 2015 Musician Of The Year winner, SAM SWEENEY. The boy wonder has done good! Photo courtesy of the BBC.

BEST ALBUM WINNERTincian by 9Bach
Nominations:
Fair Warning – The Rails
Nothing Can Bring Back The Hour – Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker
Sweet Visitor – Nancy Kerr
The Moral Of The Elephant – Martin & Eliza Carthy
Tincian – 9Bach

BBC Radio 2 Folk Award 2015 Best Album winners 9Bach performing with the Penrhyn Male Voice Choir. Photo courtesy of the BBC.
BBC Radio 2 Folk Award 2015 Best Album winners 9Bach performing with the Penrhyn Male Voice Choir. Photo courtesy of the BBC.

BEST GROUP WINNERSThe Young ‘Uns
Nominations:
Bellowhead
The Furrow Collective
The Gloaming
The Young ‘Uns

THE YOUNG'UNS, winners of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2015 - Best Group with Tim Dowling of The Guardian. Photo courtesy of the BBC.
THE YOUNG’UNS, winners of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2015 – Best Group with Tim Dowling of The Guardian. Photo courtesy of the BBC.

FOLK SINGER OF THE YEAR WINNERNancy Kerr
Nominations:
Cara Dillon
Julie Fowlis
Nancy Kerr
Jez Lowe

Ruth "Nessa Jenkins" Jones parachutes in from Barry Island to present Folk Singer Of The Year award, to winner Nancy Kerr. Photo courtesy of the BBC.
Ruth “Nessa Jenkins” Jones parachutes in from Barry Island to present Folk Singer Of The Year award, to winner Nancy Kerr. Photo courtesy of the BBC.

Live footage of the night is available from http://bbc.in/1DgKsI9

It’s also on tonight from 7pm via http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p02p7539/bbc-radio-2-folk-awards-2015-folk-awards-2015-highlights then highlights on in May.

BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2015 Lifetime Achievement and Good Tradition Awards Announced

Folk Awards 2015BBC Radio 2 has announced the recipients of this year’s Radio 2 Folk Awards Lifetime Achievement Awards.

The two prestigious lifetime achievement accolades will be presented to legendary musicians Yusuf / Cat Stevens and Loudon Wainwright III at the ceremony which is being held at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff on 22 April. The Good Tradition Award, for an outstanding contribution to the upkeep of a musical tradition, is being presented posthumously to the late Meredydd Evans.

800px-Yusuf-2009Renowned singer Yusuf / Cat Stevens, who will also be performing at the awards, gained worldwide acclaim for works including ‘Wild World’, ‘Father And Son’ and ‘Morning Has Broken’, which remain staples of the folk genre. Following a conversion to the Islamic faith in 1977, Stevens retired from the music business to work with and support causes in education and humanitarian relief. Yusuf / Cat Stevens was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2014, subsequently releasing the album, Tell ‘Em I’m Gone. Last year also saw Yusuf / Cat Stevens embark upon his acclaimed Peace Train – Late Again international tour, including his first US dates in 38 years.

Al Booth, Editor of Specialist Music, Radio 2 said:

‘To have a musical legend of the calibre of Yusuf performing at the Radio 2 Folk Awards is a testament to the high esteem in which the event is held. I know that everyone in the folk world is looking forward to what promises to be a very special night.’

Grammy Award winning Loudon Wainwright III will also be celebrating his Lifetime Achievement Award with a live performance at the event. He said:

“I’ll be happy and gratified, not to mention a bit smug, to receive my award in Cardiff next month. Yes it certainly has seemed like an entire lifetime has whizzed by since the mighty John Peel saturated the UK airwaves in 1969 with my first songs, spinning “School Days” and “The Movies Are a Mother to Me” late at night on BBC Radio.”

LW3Loudon Wainwright III had studied acting at Carnegie-Mellon University, but dropped out to partake in the ‘Summer of Love’ in San Francisco, and wrote his first song Edgar in 1968. He was soon signed to Atlantic Records and was lured by Clive Davis to Columbia Records, which released his first big hit ‘Dead Skunk’. His songs have since been recorded by Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Cash, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, and his son Rufus Wainwright and daughter Martha Wainwright. An accomplished actor, he has appeared in films directed by Martin Scorsese and Tim Burton, on TV in M.A.S.H. and Undeclared, and on Broadway in Pump Boys And Dinettes.

The 2015 Radio 2 Folk Awards will also pay tribute to the late Dr Meredydd Evans, who passed away in February 2015 at the age of 95, with a Good Tradition Award. The Good Tradition Award is given to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to UK folk music. Meredydd’s wide-ranging contributions as a singer, historian, broadcaster and Welsh language campaigner made him a significant, respected and popular figure across Welsh culture. He recorded for the Sain label in Wales and made a classic album of Welsh songs for the American label Smithsonian Folkways during the 1950s. He was Head of Light Entertainment at BBC Wales, working both behind and in front of the camera and an important collector of Welsh traditional song. He will be posthumously honoured and there will be a special tribute performance to him by the 10 Mewn Bws, (10 in a Bus) a project that saw ten young Welsh musicians travel around Wales in an attempt to reinterpret and demystify traditional Welsh music.

The Folk Awards are hosted by Radio 2 Folk Show presenter Mark Radcliffe alongside Scottish Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis. Folk Singer Of The Year-nominated Julie will also perform on the night. Other performers are modern folk rock band The Rails who are nominated in the Best Album and Horizon Award category for the best emerging act and London based duo Josienne Clark and Ben Walker, singing from their nominated Best Album Nothing Can Bring Back The Hour. The pair has also been nominated in the Best Duo category. Welsh folk band 9Bach, who will sing in Welsh, and English folk singer Kate Rusby complete the live line up for the night.

Star guests who will be handing out some of the gongs on the night include 6 Music’s Cerys Matthews, Gavin and Stacey and Stella actress Ruth Jones and singer songwriter Billy Bragg.

The evening will also see singer, songwriter, record producer, playwright, actor and political activist Ewan MacColl inducted into the Radio 2 Folk Award Hall of Fame. MacColl played a vital role in instigating the folk song revival in Britain and is perhaps best known for his much covered songs ‘Dirty Old Town’ and ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’. Throughout his career MacColl produced around 300 songs and scores of albums and 2015 marks the centenary of his birth.

The Radio 2 Folk show has a weekly audience of 812,000 listeners and BBC Radio 2 has weekly reach of 15.3 million. The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards will be broadcast live from 7.30pm-10pm on Radio 2 and will also be simulcast on BBC Radio Wales. From 10pm to 11pm, BBC Radio Wales will be broadcasting the official after show programme presented by Frank Hennessy.

Listeners will be able to watch highlights of the awards on BBC iPlayer for 30 days after the event and also at a later date on Red Button. For more details head to bbc.co.uk/radio2

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

BBC RADIO 2 FOLK AWARDS NOMINEES ANNOUNCED

The nominees for this year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards have today been announced by Mark Radcliffe on The Radio 2 Folk Show with Mark Radcliffe (Wednesdays, 7pm-8pm).

The categories up for grabs are: Folk Singer of the Year, Best Duo, Best Group, Best Album, Horizon Award, Musician of the Year, Best Original Song, Best Traditional Track and BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award.

The winners will be announced at the Folk Awards ceremony on Wednesday 22 April at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. The ceremony will be hosted by Mark Radcliffe and singer Julie Fowlis and tickets are available now from bbc.co.uk/radio2/folkawards.

This will be the Awards’ 16th year as some of the biggest names in music come together under one roof to celebrate the UK’s thriving folk scene.

The event will welcome a whole host of star guests and will see legendary performer Yusuf / Cat Stevens headlining. Also confirmed to perform live on the night are Grammy Award-winning artist Loudon Wainwright III, Welsh folk band 9Bach (who will be performing in Welsh) and English folk singer Kate Rusby. Other acts on the line-up will be announced at a later date.

The event will also feature the Radio 2 Folk Awards Hall of Fame, which recognises the special contribution of an individual to the world of folk music; someone whose impact and influence has had a lasting impression. This year’s inductee will be the influential Ewan MacColl. The awards show will also include the presentation of Lifetime Achievement and Good Tradition Awards.

Drivetime presenter Simon Mayo will be broadcasting a special programme live from the Wales Millennium Centre (5pm-7.30pm) on the day of the awards. The interval will feature performances from the nominees for the Young Folk Award 2015.

Listeners will be able to watch highlights of the awards on BBC iPlayer for 30 days after the event and on Red Button. For more details head to bbc.co.uk/radio2

The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards will be broadcast live from 7.30pm-10pm on Radio 2.

Those in the running include:

Folk Singer of the Year

Jez Lowe
Jez Lowe
  • Cara Dillon
  • Julie Fowlis
  • Nancy Kerr
  • Jez Lowe

Best Duo

O'Hooley & Tidow
O’Hooley & Tidow
  • Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker
  • O’Hooley & Tidow
  • Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar
  • Chris While & Julie Matthews

Best Group

Bellowhead. (Photograph by Hugo Morris)
Bellowhead. (Photograph by Hugo Morris)
  • Bellowhead
  • The Furrow Collective
  • The Gloaming
  • The Young ‘Uns

Best Album

Nothing Can Bring Back The Hour
Nothing Can Bring Back The Hour
  • Fair Warning – The Rails
  • Nothing Can Bring Back The Hour – Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker
  • Sweet Visitor – Nancy Kerr
  • The Moral Of The Elephant – Martin & Eliza Carthy
  • Tincian – 9Bach

Horizon Award

AH1
Ange Hardy
  • Ange Hardy
  • Maz O’Connor
  • Stick In The Wheel
  • The Rails

Musician of the Year

Will Pound
Will Pound
  • Martin Green
  • Will Pound
  • Sam Sweeney
  • Kathryn Tickell

Best Original Song

  • Swim To The Star – Peggy Seeger/Calum MacColl (performed by Peggy Seeger)
  • The Necklace Of Wrens – Michael Hartnett (performed by The Gloaming)
  • The Pitmen Poets – Jez Lowe
  • The Spider And The Wolf – Paul Simmonds (performed by Naomi Bedford)

Best Traditional Track

Bones EP - Stick In The Wheel
Bones EP – Stick In The Wheel
  • Bedlam – Stick In The Wheel
  • Handsome Molly – The Furrow Collective
  • Manus Mo Rùin – Cruinn
  • Samhradh Samhradh – The Gloaming

BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award

  • Cup O’Joe
  • Roseanne Reid
  • Talisk
  • Wildwood Kin

Making the announcement, Mark Radcliffe said:

“We’ve had another fantastic year in folk music, filled with excellent releases and exciting music from many well-loved and respected acts. But looking through the nominations, I’m particularly happy to see nods for acts that are almost completely unknown to mainstream audiences: The Gloaming, 9Bach, Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker, Ange Hardy, Stick In The Wheel, Cruinn, The Furrow Collective… We know how superb these people are, so it’s wonderful to take this opportunity to shine a bright light on them. And we always say it, but do check out the nominees in our Young Folk Award – the sheer talent in that category is frightening.”

Loudon Wainwright III returns with new album ‘Haven’t Got the Blues (Yet)’

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHaven’t Got the Blues (Yet)–or HGTB(Y), for short—is the 26th album in the long and illustrious career of Loudon Wainwright III.

It follows his acclaimed Older Than My Old Man Now album from 2012—“my death n’ decay opus,” as Wainwright calls it.

In HGTB(Y) he broadens his scope with a 14-song, genre-bounding set (“eclectricity,” he calls it) dealing with varied subject matter including depression, drinking, senior citizenship, gun control, heartbreak, pet ownership and New York City’s arcane practice of alternate side-of-the-street parking.

Uproariously rocking lead track “Brand New Dance,” which evokes The Big Bopper’s classic “Chantilly Lace,” is “me moaning and groaning about the horror and embarrassment of personal physical diminishment in the wider context of the world in which we live today,” Wainwright states.

Continuing this theme, “The Morgue,” which Judd Apatow originally commissioned for Wainwright’s dysfunctional dad character to sing to Adam Sandler in an episode of Undeclared, finds “death and decay meeting shit love,” he says.

Likewise, “Harlan County” was written as a theme song for the TV show Justified, and also like “The Morgue,” was rejected. Wainwright’s version on HGTB(Y), however, features the beautiful vocal harmonies of singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan. The backup vocals of Wainwright’s daughter Martha, meanwhile, appropriately grace “I Knew Your Mother.”

Other cuts of special Wainwright interest include “Man & Dog,” which was motivated by his dog Harry (the inspiration of other Wainwright ditties, including, he says, his yet-to-be-recorded “Puppy Hate”), and “Spaced,” a klezmer/Balkan gypsy-styled look at that alternate street parking theme. He takes a typically topical turn on “God & Nature” (“A bit of Episcopalian gospel composed after watching the 2012 Vice Presidential Debates”) and his new seasonal favorite, “I’ll Be Killing You This Christmas”—which he actually wrote in response to the Newtown shootings.

Wainwright notes that he toyed with the idea of calling the album Town & Country, then saw the cover photo of the famous forlorn clown Emmet Kelly, after which “Haven’t Got the Blues (Yet)” became the title track. Another standout track, “Depression Blues,” invokes such great blues men as Blind Lemon Jefferson and Sleepy John Estes, not to mention Shakespeare and “old Sigmund.”

Producing HGTB(Y) was Wainwright’s long time musical collaborator David Mansfield, who has backed him on numerous previous recordings as instrumentalist/arranger, including the 2010 Grammy Award winning High Wide & Handsome-The Charlie Poole Project.

“I got to know L’il Davey about 23 years ago, on a flight back from Vancouver—I think—to New York,” Wainwright recalls. “I’ve worked on and off with him ever since, on TV, in the recording studio, and on the road. He’s been featured as a player and arranger on some of my best records including History, Grown Man, Last Man on Earth, and High Wide & Handsome.”

Other top players grace HGTB(Y), and include ace banjoist Tony Trischka, saxophonist Steve Elson, drummer Sammy Merendino, bassist Tim Luntzel, and another longtime musical cohort, Chaim Tannenbaum, on background vocals.

Born in Chapel Hill, N.C. in 1946, Loudon Wainwright III came to fame when “Dead Skunk” became a Top 20 hit in 1972. He had studied acting at Carnegie-Mellon University, but dropped out to partake in the “Summer of Love” in San Francisco, and wrote his first song in 1968 (“Edgar,” about a lobsterman in Rhode Island).

He was soon signed to Atlantic Records by Nesuhi Ertegun, and was lured by Clive Davis to Columbia Records, which released “Dead Skunk.” His songs have since been recorded by Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Cash, Earl Scruggs, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, his son Rufus Wainwright, and Mose Allison, among others. In 2011, they were commemorated by the comprehensive five-disc retrospective 40 Odd Years.

Additionally, Wainwright has co-written with songwriter/producer Joe Henry on the music for Judd Apatow’s hit movie Knocked Up, written music for the British theatrical adaptation of the Carl Hiaasen novel Lucky You, and composed topical songs for NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered and ABC’s Nightline. An accomplished actor, he has appeared in films directed by Martin Scorsese, Hal Ashby, Christopher Guest, Tim Burton, Cameron Crowe and Judd Apatow.

Wainwright has also starred on TV in M.A.S.H. and Undeclared, and on Broadway in Pump Boys and Dinettes. Most recently, he appeared in the film Pleased To Meet You (with fellow music legends John Doe, Aimee Mann and Joe Henry), and created a one-man theatrical show, Surviving Twin, which combines his songs and the writings of his late father: Initially developed as part of University of North Carolina’s Playmakers series, it focuses on fatherhood—both being a father and having one—and also explores the issues of birth, self-identity, loss, mortality, fashion, and of course, pet ownership.   Surviving Twin is currently being performed in limited theatrical engagements.

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

Artist’s Website:  www.lw3.com