Hitting the Listening Room
Forget the Dylan rap: Loudon Wainwright III channels George Carlin in hisserious, silly songs
It's hard to classify an artist like Loudon Wainwright III. That's one of the reasons he is so enticing.
Blossoming as a singer-songwriter in the '60s, his songs have always been a soundtrack of the times in which we live. In fact, he was so good at it that many dubbed him as the successor to Bob Dylan as folk-rock's historian in the early '70s. Where he and Bob parted ways, however, was Wainwright's penchant for imbuing his work with a bit of tongue-in-cheek satire.
In that way he was also a bit like George Carlin.
Still, if you had to be the metaphorical lovechild of two hippy-era icons, one could do worse than Dylan and Carlin.
Wainwrights's 40 year recording career has been a series of luring fans in with his sincere ideas set to music, followed by metaphorically asking his audiences to pull his finger.
Before receiving Grammy nominations in the mid-1980s for the albums, I'm Alright and More Love Songs, Wainwright's best known song was a little ditty titled "Dead Skunk (In the Middle of the Road)." And when people started comparing him to Dylan he responded by mimicking Dylan's simple couplets and song style for the 1992 song, "Talking New Bob Dylan."
It's not surprising then that, following last year's release of High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project, — a very straight-forward tribute to the early 20th century singer and banjo player that earned Wainwright a best traditional folk album Grammy — his latest album is sarcastically titled, 10 Songs For the New Depression.
With any luck, those who attend his Saturday show in theListening Room at Studio Nia Moves will hear a little serious and a little silliness.
Loudon Wainwright III 8.30 p.m. at Listening Room @ Studio NiaMoves
Tickets $32.50 in advance/$40.00 (cash only) at the door.