Loudon Wainwright III – Haven’t Got The Blues [Yet] (2014)

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Loudon Wainwright III is getting up there, something he copped to with the recent Older Than My Old Man Now. In keeping, the source and subjects of his ornery wordplay have turned to those of the middle age. But Wainwright’s rapier snark, his ability to see every-day things in fresh and surprising ways, remains on Haven’t Got The Blues [Yet], just released on 429 Records.

And so we have “In a Hurry,” which laments the crushing economic downturn — but not from the point of view of a furrow-browed passerby. Instead, Wainwright speaks as the homeless person who every one is rushing past. Elsewhere, he tries to convey some sense of doom over the proliferation of guns, but times his commentary with a darkly witty moment in “I’ll Be Killing You this Xmas.”

Similarly, Haven’t Got The Blues [Yet] includes the expected Delta-rootsy sounds (as on “Brand New Dance” and “Depression Blues”) but producer David Mansfield matches Wainwright’s elliptical feints with plenty of musical jabs of his own. When Wainwright sorts through the rural varieties of “Harlan County,” it’s in a spacious acoustic setting. But the search for a parking place, another of this album’s old-man conceits turned into something ageless and connective, emerges in Wainwright’s world as the delightfully Kelzmer-driven “Spaced.”

He talks the language of those his age, but in a way that transcends eras — even during frank discussions about ex-lovers: “I Knew Your Mother,” for instance, finds Wainwright trying to translate this awful moment of separation into something their child would understand. In this way, Haven’t Got The Blues [Yet] syncs with every great thing Wainwright’s ever done, only with a ever-more-wisened, contemporary twist.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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