So Damn Happy

So Damn Happy

by Loudon Wainwright III
5.0 1


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So Damn Happy 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As impressive as Wainwright's work has been over the past 35 years, this live album shows that the burnish and perspective of age has only deepened the quality of his work. His songs, pose contrasts to brilliant dramatic and literary effect: humor against anger, a cappella singing against spoken interjections, creating a rich catalog of emotion from which he draws. Add a devoted crowd and the effortless musical backing of long-time friends (and family), and you get a live album that perfectly frames Wainwright's mastery as a singer, songwriter and stage performer. ¶ Wainwright's trademark humor is on full display, with his vision of Woody Allen's "Sleeper" future taken to the afterlife in "Heaven" ("There'll be lots of drinking in Heaven / Smoking, eating and sex / What you didn't do in this life bad for you / Will be totally cool in the next."). He pokes a sharp, ironic stick at file sharing ("Something for Nothing"), and revisits the tragedy of Tonya Harding ("Tonya's Twirls") in a song that, removed from its historical currency, is still surprisingly moving. Equally moving is the deeply sentimental autobiography of "The Picture," a lovely ode to his sister and their shared childhood. ¶ Wainwright's masterful stage presence, and the fluidity with which he sings, plays and interacts with the audience is truly staggering. The product of many, many nights just like these (taped in 2002 at Largo in Los Angeles, and the Mystic Theater in Petaluma, CA), Wainwright is completely effortless in the limelight. His accompanists (Van Dyke Parks on piano, David Mansfield on violin) and guests (Richard Thompson on guitar, and Martha Wainwright on vocals) weave their way perfectly in to his colorful tapestry. ¶ With a collection of his songs that stretches from the early 80s to the late 90s, this is a nice introduction to the last 20 years of Wainwright's writing and a singularly compelling look at his perfect showcase, the stage.