Loudon Wainwright III has apparently suddenly been hit with the realisation that he has now outlived his father and it seems this was reason enough for the singer/songwriter to create an album built around the concept of… death (as you do).
Older Than My Old Man Now is a collection of 15 songs, about life and death, written and recorded in true Wainwright fashion: black humour, set against a background of blues.
The album opens with an upbeat tune, The Here and Now, on which the singer shares vocals with all four of his children, his current partner, and his ex-wife and also features jazz guitarist, John Scofield. The album then takes us through the natural progression of life, death and the hereafter with such titles as All In A Family , where he shares vocals with daughter Lucy; Over the Hill, in which the singer is accompanied by daughter Martha; and The Days That We Die, which he sings with son Rufus.
My Meds is a humorous look at the many pills and potions that seem to inevitably become a big part of one’s everyday life in old age; In Ghost Blues, Wainwright sings of his incarnation in the after-life, as a ghost. And the very amusing I Remember Sex is a duet with the unmistakable Dame Edna Everidge, reminiscing on what life was once like in the days before libido became a thing of the past. The title track also features Wainwright's hero, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, who he refers to as 'my foremost musical father figure'.
Putting the whole thing into perspective, both the title track and Days That We Die, include opening recitations of his father’s words.
An entire album about aging and mortality could have been a very morbid and depressing project, if it was done by almost anyone else. However, Wainwright’s sharp wit coupled with his rather dark sense of humour turn this into something much more enticing than just another concept album. Definitely worth a listen if you are looking for something different and you’ll appreciate the chuckles if, like me, you’re just a little bit Over the Hill yourself.
by Sharyn Hamey