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UPDATED 03/02/1998 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 03/02/1998 at 01:00 AM EST

>Loudon Wainwright III

MAN OF HIS AGE

Although some still best remember him for his 1972 novelty hit, "Dead Skunk," veteran folkie Loudon Wainwright, 51, has been creating new music for almost three decades. This week the divorced father of four releases his 16th album, Little Ship (Virgin), an often wry, sometimes darkly comic confessional about failed love, middle-age angst and the emotional complexities of parenting. He spoke to senior writer Peter Ames Carlin from his garage-top apartment in New York's Westchester County.

Do your kids or ex-mates ever complain about turning up in your songs?

Now that you mention it, I don't get asked out much more at Thanksgiving.

Does the music business seem tougher now that you're past 50?

It gets harder physically, schlepping a guitar from point A to point B. And it's hard to stand up in front of 300 people and hold them. But I've learned more tricks after all these years.

Like some other baby boomers, you don't seem to get old.

Well, we fooled ourselves into thinking it wouldn't happen. When I was a kid, you'd never see a 50-year-old guy walking around wearing a baseball cap. Now we're on Rollerblades and wearing our baseball caps backwards.

So you might call yours the boyish generation?

That's a nice spin. Childish is more like it, really.

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