Though he's still actively touring and recording, folksinger Loudon Wainwright III already has the makings of a great legacy. Born in 1946, Wainwright was inspired to write his first song about a lobster fisherman, "Edgar," while working at a boatyard in Rhode Island. Since then, he's released more than 20 albums, two of which (I'm Alright and More Love Songs) have received Grammy nominations. Wainwright's latest release, High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project, centers on the life and music of Charlie Poole, an influential if largely under-appreciated singer and banjo player from North Carolina who helped lay the foundations of bluegrass during the 1920s.
"The Letter That Never Came"
"High Wide & Handsome"
Rather than record a simple tribute album featuring the standards that have become associated with Poole, Wainwright decided to take the project a step further by composing original songs that both recall Poole's style and expand upon his life story. Featuring guest appearances from a wide cast of performers — including Wainwright's children Rufus, Martha and Lucy, all accomplished musicians in their own right — The Charlie Poole Project gives Loudon Wainwright III an opportunity to marry sly humor with Poole's dry wit. This World Café performance features three songs from The Charlie Poole Project, which was released in August.