Loudon Wainwright III has created one of the most ambitious projects of his career with the 2 CD set 'High Wide & Handsome - a grand gathering of songs, both old and original, revisiting the life, times, and recorded legacy of legendary singer and banjo picker Charlie Poole (1892-1931). The music ranges from old-timey to dixieland, from parlor songs to acapella gospel, a compendium of the strains that have created and continue to create American popular music. Greil Marcus put it this way - 'Poole might have been waiting all these years for someone to talk back to him so completely in his own language.'
Guest artists include Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, Sloan Wainwright, Lucy Wainwright Roche, Maggie Roche, Terre Roche, Suzzy Roche, Geoff Muldaur, Chris Thile, Rob Moose, Rayna Gellert, Matt Munisteri, Paul Asaro, and Wade Schuman. The lavish packaging features a 68 page booklet with notes by Greil Marcus, an historical essay by Poole biographer Kinney Rorrer, dozens of photos, and a complete set of lyrics.
In 2009 'High Wide & Handsome' won the Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album, and was chosen by NPR's Fresh Air music critic Ken Tucker as album of the year.
Heartfelt, funny and dead-on right. --News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)
Splendid. --The Washington Post
Gripping stories filled with black humor, genuine sadness, lost hope, as well as plenty of booze and women … This absolutely wonderful set of music is a real tribute indeed. --The Nation Online