He turned 70 in September of this year, but Loudon Wainwright III is still as full of fire and passion in his social commentary as he was when he was mentioned in the same dispatches as Bob Dylan in the mid-1960s.
Speaking to Sean O’Rourke on the Today programme, that social commentary was very much pointed in the direction of tomorrow's presidential election in the United States. And if you’re looking for a word to describe his observations on the Republican nominee, Donald Trump, maybe choose from one of the following: caustic, damning, nihilistic, acerbic …. I could go on.
It’s fair to say that Loudon Wainwright III does not relish the prospect of President Donald Trump, and one of the tunes he played on the show, entitled I Had a Dream, could just as easily have been named I Had a Nightmare. Here's a sample of the lyrics:
I had a dream – I don’t know what it meant/But I dreamed Donald Trump was our president
There on election night, right by his side/His flunky Chris Christie, along for the ride
But it gets worse – just wait, there’s more/He made Jeff Sessions Secretary of War
And, just like he promised, he built him that wall/He blew up Cuba and he carpet bombed Montreal
And that’s just verse one! Listen to the rest here:
“But how has it come to this?", asked Sean. And is Loudon genuinely nervous about the future of its homeland in the event of a Trump Presidency?
“We all thought he was just a figure of fun, really. But now that we are close to the election on Tuesday, I’m nervous…. You should be nervous too. You want this guy as the leader of the free world?”
The song, I Have a Dream, takes aim not just at Donald Trump, but what he describes as “a rogues gallery” of scary figures lining up behind him for their own cynical political ends: Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh amongst others. “But how come”, continued Sean, “if he is so bad, the two candidates are running neck and neck in the polls?”
“I don’t really have an explanation. It is shocking to me that they are neck and neck. But we elected George W. Bush two times in a row as well, so anything is possible.”
Loudon is flying back to the United States today and anticipates that possibly, by Wednesday, he could be “in shackles” because of his songs.
Listen to the interview in full below: