Music News

Loudon Wainwright III and John Prine Coming to The Orpheum Theatre

Okay, so I know that it's John Prine headlining the show, and I really like John Prine, but holy crap, I never expected to get to see Loudon Wainwright III here in Phoenix. The two are scheduled to perform Saturday, November 19, at Orpheum Theatre. Tickets go on sale Monday.

Wainwright is father to Rufus and Martha, both who have cranked out some excellent albums.

He was married to their mother, Kate McGarrigle, who also put out phenomenal albums, with her sister Anna McGarrigle (a suburb collection, Tell My Sister, was recently released by Nonesuch Records). So, call Wainwright the patriarch of a truly musical family.

Wainwright's albums, especially his '70s output, are some of my favorite singer/songwriter records. He gets everything right most artists in the genre get wrong. He's funny without being a joke ("Rufus is a Tit Man," "Lullaby"), he's a sad-sack without relentlessly hitting the same melancholy note ("The Man Who Couldn't Cry"), and he can sing about a casual hookup like its the most meaningful thing in the world, completely aware of his ruse ("Motel Blues"). His last few albums have been great, too. 2008's Recovery was especially nice, a Joe Henry-produced set of full band takes on songs from his early solo albums, and last year's 10 Songs for the New Depression applied Wainwright's considerable wit to the financial crisis.

Movie fans may even recognize him as the kindly doctor in Judd Apatow's Knocked Up. Apatow returned the favor, co-producing 40 Odd Years, a career-spanning box set of Wainwright's music released in May by Shout Factory.

Prine is no slouch either -- check out "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore" for some solid proof.

There's only one thing that sucks about this show -- it's scheduled the same night as Leo Kottke's performance at Mesa Arts Center. Two incredible shows on the same night? I guess that's a pretty cool problem to have.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.