There is a more than one moment in Liner Notes: On Parents & Children, Exes & Excess, Death & Decay, & A Few of My Other Favorite Things (Blue Rider), Loudon Wainwright III’s starkly honest autobiography, that he cuts straight to a place most creative people will understand.
“When I’m not thinking of myself as the greatest singer-songwriter who ever lived,” writers Wainwright, “I consider myself to be a talentless fraud.”
Frankly, of course, he is neither of those things. These days he is perhaps best known as the father of Rufus Wainwright, not to mention Rufus’ less well-known but also deeply talented sister, Martha.
But it’s the father’s own voice we hear in Liner Notes and fans of any members of this folk royalty family will find much here to enjoy.
Singer/songwriter and actor Wainwright recorded the first of his 27 albums in 1968. “So what’s the big rule/cliché when it comes to writing? Write about what you know? When I started writing songs in 1968 I didn’t know about much.” Half a century later, Wainwright brings us this meditation on a life sharply and interestingly lived: the successes, failures, the loves and infidelities, it’s all here in its own stark, raw glory. ◊