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Jazz 10/10/2020

Loudon Wainwright III's I'd Rather Lead A Band Out Today, A Journey Through The Great American Songbook

Loudon Wainwright III's I'd Rather Lead A Band Out Today, A Journey Through The Great American Songbook

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New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Loudon Wainwright III's new album I'd Rather Lead A Band is out today, an "anti-nostalgic" take on 14 songs from The Great American Songbook. The project is a collaboration between Loudon, famed music supervisor Randall Poster (Boardwalk Empire, Grand Budapest Hotel, Wolf of Wall Street), GRAMMY-winning producer Stewart Lerman, and Vince Giordano and his band The Nighthawks, longtime legends of the NYC nightclub scene. In an extensive interview with Loudon, Rolling Stone says he is "still the poet laureate of family dysfunction," even as he strips his famed lyricism on the new record to lovingly sing the songs that are deeply intertwined with his childhood.

Loudon spoke with NPR Music's Bob Boilen about the album in this week's All Songs Considered podcast and it was featured in the LA Times' most anticipated fall albums preview. I'd Rather Lead A Band has been deemed an "agile, affectionate take" on The American Songbook by The Scotsman, who note that Giordano and his band "clearly know their way around a vintage dancefloor." In their review, the Associated Pressstates: "while the band is tight, old Loudo is loose. He hams it up with the same comic timing that has served his own songs so well for the past half century," and it's been featured in Variety and American Songwriter.

As interpreters of the Great American Songbook, Wainwright and Giordano's big band present a perfectly paced supper club set of songs by Irving Berlin ("I'd Rather Lead a Band" and "The Little Things In Life"), Fats Waller ("Ain't Misbehavin'"), Frank Loesser ("More I Cannot Wish You"), and others with nimble phrasing and an approach that lets the songs lead the way, like a dance partner.

Listen to previously released singles:
"You Rascal, You (I'll Be Glad When You're Dead)"
"A Ship Without a Sail"
"A Perfect Day"

Poster and producer/engineer Stewart Lerman (who both won a GRAMMY for their work on the Boardwalk Empire soundtrack) produced the album and worked with Wainwright to curate the 14 album selections, a process of volleying MP3s and YouTube videos back and forth that proved to be a great joy for all, as they revisited these timeless classics and the many versions of them.

I'd Rather Lead A Band is out now:
All Retail:

I'd Rather Lead A Band Tracklist
1. How I Love You (I'm Tellin' the Birds, Tellin' the Bees)
2. Ship Without A Sail
3. Ain't Misbehavin'
4. I'm Going to Give it to Mary with Love
5. The Little Things in Life
6. So the Bluebirds and the Blackbirds Got Together
7. A Perfect Day
8. I Thought About You
9. I'd Rather Lead a Band
10. My Blue Heaven
11. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
12. Heart and Soul
13. You Rascal You (I'll Be Glad When You're Dead)
14. More I Cannot Wish You

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