Album Reviews

Loudon Wainwright III – Haven’t Got The Blues (Yet) (429)

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Loudon Wainwright, Loudon Wainwright III, Haven't Got The Blues (Yet), 429 Records

A master of wry observations, bittersweet barbs and a somewhat cynical perspective, Loudon Wainwright has always taken great pleasure in lampooning subjects that have become all-too-easy targets: dysfunctional families, the certain acumen that comes with ageing, obsessing over animals and, of course, the NRA. The fact that he emerges with his credibility intact speaks volumes about his essential wit and wisdom.

Haven’t Got The Blues (Yet) once again finds Wainwright’s tongue planted firmly in cheek, even as his unfettered charm and tender melodies manage to temper the sting of his barbs. The old-fashioned shuffle that accompanies “Brand New Dance,” the jaunty tempo of “I Knew Your Mother” and the ramshackle ramble of “Man and Dog” sound ageless, like graceful standards of an earlier era, mining both sentiment and satire without ever appearing to pander.

Likewise, when Wainwright bares his gentler side, with the wistful “Last Day of the Year,” the tender emotions could bring an unsuspecting listener to the verge of tears. Ultimately then, it’s a testament to Wainwright’s ability to alternate his moods that provides his would-be blues with such a stunning variety of hues.

– Lee Zimmerman

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