2-CD Set Draws from Poole Repertoire plus New Songs Written about
Poole’s Life and Times
Special Guests Include Rufus and Martha Wainwright, the Roches, Chris
Thile, and Others
Loudon Wainwright III has created one of the most ambitious projects of his career with High Wide & Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project, out August 25 on 2nd Story Sound Records, examining the life, themes, and repertoire of the country music pioneer. Immortalized in the 2005 box set, You Ain’t Talkin’ to Me: Charlie Poole and the Roots of Country Music, Poole was a bootlegger, banjo picker, amateur baseball player, drinker, rambler, gambler, and textile mill worker — and one of the most popular musicians of his day, recording over 110 tracks for Columbia, Paramount, and Brunswick. Born in 1892 in North Carolina, he lived fast and died at the age of 39. He was not, however, a writer, drawing instead on popular and traditional repertoire for his recordings and performances. According to All Music Guide, “Poole’s talent for making it all seem like personal autobiography makes him very much a modernist, only a short leap away from an artist like Hank Williams.” This same spirit of reinterpreting popular and trdational repertoire to reflect the present as well as the past may be seen as the heart of Wainwright’s Poole project.