Good thing: Loudon Wainwright’s “White Winos”

lwiii“Mother liked her white wine, she’d have a glass or four/Each empty bottle a dead soldier/The marriage was the war…”

Set into a dainty minuet, the guitar notes just so with a tinkling keyboard and elegant string quartet, Loudon Wainwright’s “White Winos” (from his 2001 album, Last Man on Earth, starts with genteel alcoholism then sinks into the core of a loving, twisted maternal bond.

“…when we blurred the edges, when we drank a lot/That’s when I got nervous, when the glow got hot…”

Passionate, removed, terrifying, lovely, this is songcraft in all its complexity – the words belie the music, the structural discipline contrasts, and oddly enhances, the emotional chaos within.

It’s a true story, too. Loudon is one of the truly great songwriters of the last 50 years. Here’s three minutes that explain why.

 

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