One Friday night we headed to Annapolis to see Loudon Wainwright III play a set at the Rams Head Tavern. Wainwright had a brief period of celebrity in the early 1970's but since he has silently built a loyal following of fans as well as film and T.V. credits in M*A*S*H, Undeclared, 28 Days, Big Fish, The 40 Year Old Virgin, and most recently Knocked Up. In fact, Knocked Up has given Wainwright a new, younger audience for his songs and allowed him to release Strange Weirdos: Music from and Inspired by the Film Knocked Up. This new generation have discovered Wainwright's completely honest and open songwriting. Basically these are songs with meaning. Some songs show that - to steal a phrase - Wainwright is the adult Raffi: The Sh*T Song, Doin' the Math, I'm Alright, The Drinking Song, and his seasonal songs - Thanksgiving and Suddenly It's Christmas. Other songs bring tears such as The Picture, White Winos, and A Father and a Son. This evening he played them all, including Daughter - from the Knocked Up soundtrack - and a song dedicated to the baggage handler for destroying his prized guitar, perhaps the most popular songs of the evening. Some of the songs he played came from his latest release, Recovery, consisting of songs he wrote and recorded in the early 1970's. A better representation of what we heard is Career Moves or our favorite So Damn Happy. In any case, Loudon Wainwright III has a heavy tour schedule this winter - both on the left and right coasts. You'll be glad you saw him.
When leaving the Rams Head, we saw Virgil Caine in the window of Stan and Joe's, playing multiple instruments in front of a crowded bar. We stepped in for a final beer and watched Caine energize the crowd with the guitar, fiddle, and keyboards. This is one talented individual. And there's usually never a cover at his acts. He's also traveling quite extensively along the east coast, particularly around the Finger Lakes in New York.