In the special Loudon Wainwright III: Surviving Twin, the singer and songwriter tells his life stories and does an intimate show, with only voice and guitar, where he opens his heart and soul to the listeners (watch here).
More than a simple Netflix project to fulfill its own musical quota, the project made with Wainwright is a passionate recap of his life, full of ups and downs, which ultimately influenced his work as a musician and made him famous for many years.
Wainwright is an actor and folk singer who had been half-forgotten by the public. Most people of the new generation know him for being the father of a very talented offspring of musicians, who are successful in the United States. Now, he introduces himself to a whole new audience, as well as performing to those who had known him since the 1970s when his career was at its height, for old times’ sake.
Loudon Wainwright III is a great storyteller. And his Netlfix special shows how talented he is in this aspect. More than playing his guitar and singing some songs, he talks to the audience (and consequently, to the people who are watching at home) as if he were face to face. He is a very nice man and full of cases to share. And much of the time spent in Loudon Wainwright III: Surviving Twin is to tell the stories of his life. And what a life!
However, Wainwright’s focus here is the family conflicts he has gone through. The show is interspersed with his comments about the chronicles and texts published by his father, who was a famous and important columnist for Life magazine. Through the rescue of these writings, he interweaves with his own songs that are related to the themes and also exposes the problems between father and son, redemption and praise the memory of a loved one. The quality of the father’s text, coupled with the voice and cleverness of his son’s compositions, make “Surviving Twin” a kind of theatrical monologue mixed with an acoustic show, all tied together by a talented front-man who has a lot to say.
The musician declaims the texts of the father putting all his soul in front of the public, without restrictions or half-words. With this, we notice more than the artist: we also see the man behind the songs, which allows us to see where he always drew the inspiration for his lyrics stuffed with acid and ironic humor. It was this recipe that made his success in the past, elevating his name to one of the folk music’s greatest – status that this special also tries to rescue.
Loudon Wainwright III: Surviving Twin does not have a grandiose scenario. For the director of the special, veteran comedy actor Daniel Stern, tricks to serve as a crutch are not necessary: just the man with his instruments (guitar, banjo, piano) and his stories to attract the attention of the public are enough. This scenario, simple and effective, really achieves this goal, since the focus is all on the person in the middle of the stage, who gives body and soul to his interpretation.
Thus, it is possible to state with certainty that Loudon Wainwright III: Surviving Twin lives up to the long career of one of the greatest names of American music, which in turn pays homage to his father, and consequently his children and legacy. Wainwright is a name that urgently needed to return to the evidence of the media given its importance to the development of a seminal musical genre such as folk. This special accomplishes this goal.
Synopsis 1: Same name. Different generations. And a shared catalogue of intimate anecdotes revisited – one melody at a time.
Synopsis 2: Grammy-winning singer Loudon Wainwright III reflects upon his unique relationship with his father in an evening of original songs and heartfelt stories.