Q&A

Loudon Wainwright III on 40 Odd Years, Rufus, Martha, and Emotionally Flashing

The past few years have been busy for prolific songwriter Loudon Wainwright III: he revisited his early records with Recovery, a full-band effort produced by Joe Henry; won a Grammy for his High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project , a tribute to the American banjo player; and released a topical collection called, boasting his trademark deprecation, Songs for the New Depression.

This year, 40 Odd Years, a career-spanning collection produced by filmmaker Judd Apatow, was released, displaying the man's canny wordplay and dry wit. It was issued the same day as Tell My Sister, a career retrospective featuring his ex-wife, Kate McGarrigle and her sister, Anna.

I phoned Wainwright while he was driving in Colorado. He wasn't sure if he was breaking any laws speaking on the cell phone (he wasn't), but was more concerned with cutting out due to tunnel interference (it only happened once). We spoke about his storied career, acting, his children Rufus and Martha, and his forthcoming album, Older Than My Old Man, Now.

Loudon Wainwright III is scheduled to perform with John Prine on Saturday, November 19, at The Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix.