“But keep lifting up your left leg
And sticking out your tongue
There’s nothing else that you can do
And you’re too old to die young”
~ Loudon Wainwright III, The Home Stretch
(More Love Songs, 1986)
Loudon Wainwright III is one hell of a storyteller, and his show last night at the Kent Stage highlighted that skill both in song and in prose. He played his songs, yes, of course, and talked about their backstories. But there was more.
He also performed material from his album and Netflix special Surviving Twin, where he combines some of his songs with his late father’s writings. His father, Loudon Wainwright Jr, wrote a column for Life magazine during the ’60s-’80s called The View From Here.
During last night’s show, Loudon Wainwright III also read aloud from his book — On Parents & Children, Exes & Excess, Death & Decay, & a Few of My Other Favorite Things — recalling the story of how he lost, and lost again, then finally won his Grammy.
He played songs from last year’s double-album of 42 rarities, Years in the Making. “No home should be without it; and I’ve got a Sharpie,” Wainwright quipped, pulling the black marker from his shirt pocket. “Just look at the size of that Sharpie!”
Wainwright talks openly of his life and family, warts and all, with lighthearted humor, pulling faces, and, of course, the signature sticking out his tongue.