Multi-faceted Wainwright will perform at the Egyptian Theatre
Loudon Wainwright III is a bundle of creativity.
Although he’s known mostly for his Grammy Award-winning music, which have been covered by Johnny Cash, Earl Scruggs and his son Rufus, Wainwright is also a writer and actor who has appeared on TV, in films and currently acts in an original live production called "Surviving Twin."
When he performs at the Egyptian Theatre on April 8 and 9, Wainwright promised a show that would mix all of those outlets into a 90-minute set.
"’Surviving Twin’ connects my songs with the writings of my late father, Loudon Wainwright Jr., who was a journalist for Life Magazine," the younger Wainwright told The Park Record during a telephone interview from Portland, Oregon. "When I get up to Park City, I will do pieces of ‘Surviving Twin’ in addition to new songs, and old songs and songs from the album — using whatever’s in the arsenal."
That’s saying a lot because Wainwright just released his 26th album, "Haven’t Got the Blues (Yet)," or "HGTB(Y)" a few weeks ago.
The album was produced by his friend and longtime collaborator David Mansfield and boasts guests his own daughter Martha on the song "I Knew Your Mother" and Aoife O’Donovan on "The Morgue."
"David is an old friend of mine, a wonderful musician and my experience working with David runs the gamut," Wainwright said. "He’s toured with me. He’s played on a lot of my records and produced this record. It’s always been an enjoyable and positive experience. I really enjoy working on this last project."
It was Mansfield who suggested O’Donovan to sing backups on "The Morgue."
"David is good friends and a colleague of Aoife’s and when he heard those songs, we talked about who would be good to sing backups," Wainwright said. "He immediately thought of her and what a great and distinctive job it was."
The songs on "Haven’t Got the Blues (Yet)" all feature Wainwright’s trademark perspective that doesn’t look down his nose at the world but, rather, examines it out of the corner of his eye.
"I write novelty song and I write personal songs, but I certainly also do what I call social commentary songs that comment on what is going on in the world, especially with this country and individuals in particular," he explained. "Last night I wrote and sang a song about Donald Trump. He was pretty easy to write about because he’s such a cartoon. I resisted the temptation as long as I could, but I caved and sang it in Portland and people seemed to respond to it.
"I’ve always enjoyed writing songs and they all are meant to be part of a show," he said. "It’s good to make people laugh, think or piss people off. I like getting reactions. That’s my job. I want to affect people in the audience."
There are some songs on "HGTB(Y)" that Wainwright has recorded before and that was just how things worked out.
"What happens is you write a bunch of songs and they are like pieces of a puzzle," he said. "I’m old-fashioned enough to think that that people may sit down and actually listen to my record from beginning to end. I know that’s not often the way people listen to music these days, but the album is carefully sequenced."
The songs are chosen to create a kind of feeling or tone experience, according to Wainwright.
"So, if there is an old song of mine that I may have forgotten about that would fit, I slip it in there," he said.
When Wainwright comes to town for the Egyptian Theatre shows, it will be the third time he’s been in town since October to film a role in the new Steven Soderbergh project, "Mosaic."
"I was there in the fall and then came back at the beginning of March to finish it up," he said. "If they’re still there when I get there, I may be able to see everyone again."
Acting is something that is dear to Wainwright’s heart.
"I wanted to be an actor when I was a kid and I went to drama school in college and studied acting," he said. "I dropped out and drifted over to music, although over the years, I’ve returned to acting.
"In addition to my writing and songwriting, I look at everything as just a confluence of various interests," he said. "I primarily make my living as a musician, but I occasionally get an acting job, which is always fun and exciting."
These days Wainwright is happy that he has the opportunity to be creative and perform.
"I’ve been doing this for such a long time and I’m not sure how this happened, but I’m very pleased and grateful," he said. "If you can put on a show where people are affected, moved in one way or another, always bring great satisfaction.
"I wanted to be in show business and my dream came true," Wainwright said. "I will continue this as long as I can. I consider myself lucky to do something as rewarding as this is."
The Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., will present Loudon Wainwright III on Friday, April 8, and Saturday, April 9, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $19 to $29 and can be purchased by calling 435-649-9371 or visiting http://www.parkcityshows.com .
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