Loudon Wainwright III performs in The Current studio

Loudon Wainwright performs his single, "Presidents Day," live in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan | MPR)
Loudon Wainwright III performs in The Current studio (full session + interview)
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| 00:20:35
  • Loudon Wainwright III performs in The Current studio (full session + interview) 20:35
  • Loudon Wainwright III - A Little Piece of Me (Live at The Current) 03:22
  • Loudon Wainwright III - All In A Family (Live at The Current) 02:22
  • Loudon Wainwright III - Presidents Day (Live at The Current) 04:00

Loudon Wainwright III has done it all: he's a recording artist; he's written books; he's acted in many productions, including a notable run on the classic TV program M*A*S*H. To this day, he continues to have a few irons in the fire: he's just released a massive album called Years in the Making, a collection of 42 songs from throughout his 45-year career; and he's also got a Netflix special coming out on November 13 called Surviving Twin that was produced by Judd Apatow and directed by Christopher Guest.

In town for a show at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis, Loudon Wainwright III stopped at The Current for a session hosted by Bill Deville.

When Wainwright was starting his career, he was dubbed "the new Bob Dylan." But that's not the only nickname he's racked up. "I've been called the 'Woody Allen of folk'; the 'Charlie Chaplin of rock'," Wainwright laughs. "But my favorite of all — this is true — the 'male Melanie'," a reference to the songwriter behind the 1971 hit song, "Brand New Key."

More importantly, Wainwright has been called "Dad" by three kids who, like their father, are musicians, too. "Rufus [Wainwright]; Martha Wainwright; and then my daughter Lucy Wainwright Roche has a new album out called Little Beast," Wainwright says. "My youngest daughter is called Lexie Kelly and she's not in the music business yet.

"Yet," he emphasizes.

A prolific songwriter, Wainwright has had many commissions and his songs have been recorded by artists such as Johnny Cash, Mose Allison, and Alex Chilton, as well as by his own son, Rufus. "It's very exciting when somebody cool records one of your songs," the elder Wainwright says.

Wainwright has also had a number of commissions, including writing songs for NPR. "I'm always trying to write songs," he says. "For me, it's a bit like fishing: I've always got a line in the water.

"But my work ethic is a little slack," Wainwright continues. "Some people get up and write a song every day, which would be my idea of a bad time. But I can write songs on order."

Use the audio player above to listen to the complete session with Loudon Wainwright III.

Songs Performed

"A Little Piece of Me"
"All in a Family"
"Presidents Day"

Hosted by Bill DeVille
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Michael DeMark
Visuals by Nate Ryan
Web feature by Luke Taylor

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1 Photos

  • Loudon Wainwright III, 'Years in the Making'
    Loudon Wainwright III, 'Years in the Making' (Story Sound Records)

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