Rufus Wainwright: Folkocracy Tour
Praised by the New York Times for his “genuine originality,” Rufus Wainwright has established himself as one of the great male vocalists, songwriters, and composers of his generation. The New York-born, Montreal-raised singer-songwriter has released ten studio albums to date, three DVDs, and three live albums including the Grammy-nominated Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall. He has collaborated with artists such as Elton John, Burt Bacharach, Miley Cyrus, David Byrne, Boy George, Joni Mitchell, Pet Shop Boys, Heart, Carly Rae Jepsen, Robbie Williams, Jessye Norman, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Sting, and producer Mark Ronson, among many others. He has written two operas, numerous songs for movies and TV, and is currently working on his first musical for the West End and a Requiem. His latest GRAMMY® and JUNO nominated album of original songs, Unfollow the Rules, finds Wainwright at the peak of his powers, entering artistic maturity with passion, honesty, and a new-found fearlessness. To celebrate his 50th birthday he will release a studio album of folk songs and duets featuring among others Chaka Khan, Brandi Carlile, John Legend and Anohni in the summer of 2023.
Folkocracy is Rufus Wainwright revisiting his roots, of childhood summers spent at folk festivals and watching his famous family on stage. But it’s also the sound of an artist in the present using all he has learnt from conquering pop to opera and showtunes.
“I’ve shied away from folk in the past, preferring the worlds of opera and pop. But the fact is I’m from a bona fide folkocracy who mixed extensively with other folkocracies such as the Seegers and the Thompsons. As I hurtle towards 50, I’m back where it all began.”
The album, Rufus' 12th studio album released on June 2nd, features and all-star cast of guests including Brandi Carlile, Chaka Khan, David Byrne, Anohni, Sheryl Crow, John Legend, Nicole Scherzinger and his family of course among others. The album is a bit of a 50th birthday present to himself, invite the singers you have always admired to come and join you in the process. “Getting lots of guests was a given from the start,” says Rufus. “The key to folk is community and sharing a stage. But I didn’t want to make a duets record. We rode a fine line – guests, not duets.”
For the tour he has assembled a four piece band of amazing musicians and two incredible back-up singers, his sister Lucy Wainwright Roche and Petra Haden who will sing the parts of most of the guests from the album.
The set list will contain almost all songs from the album. He chose those 15 songs with producer Mitchell Froom, some are bona fide folk songs like Peggy Seeger's "Heading for Home" or Ewan MacColl's "Alone" but others are Wainwright's interpretation of what constitutes a folk song today like The Mama's and The Papa's "Twelve-Thirty", his own "Going to a Town", or Moondog's "High on a Rocky Ledge" which he first heard on a sultry Hawaiian New Year's Eve.
The concept of cover songs will continue for the rest of the set list, picking songs Rufus recorded for his audible original "Roadtrip Elegies" at LA's legendary folk venue McCabe's Guitar Store. Those songs accompanied a car ride that he took frequently as a child from his mother's home in Montreal to his dad's of New York. This time in his car was his shrink and the entire conversation was recorded with the songs illuminating important stops on memory lane.
This additional material will contain some new songs by Rufus along with covers of among others Bob Dylan, Mina, and the late Burt Bacharach who Wainwright described on his January 2023 tour with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta as the "greatest living American songwriter".
Not many musicians have the vocal range and depth of interpretation that Wainwright possesses or as The New Yorker simply put it "Nobody sings quite like Rufus Wainwright". Nobody gives live shows quite like Rufus either. Expect Folkocracy!
With special guests: Gina Chavez & Lucy Wainwright Roche
Gina Chavez is a multi-ethnic, Austin native, queer, Catholic, internationally-acclaimed Latinx pop artist who is redefining Latin music in Texas and beyond.
A 12-time Austin Music Award winner—including 2015 Musician of the Year and 2019 Best Female Vocals—Chavez is an Austin icon. And word is getting out. With more than a million views on her NPR Tiny Desk, an hour-long PBS special, and a 12-country tour through Latin America, the Middle East and Central Asia as a cultural ambassador with the U.S. State Department, Chavez is ready for a bigger stage. One glance at the cover of her new bilingual album and you’ll understand why.
Lucy Wainwright Roche
Those familiar with Lucy Wainwright Roche are aware of her bell tone voice, her unshakable melodies, and her knack for wise, wry lyrics that clench the heart. It’s no surprise that Wainwright Roche is the daughter of Suzzy Roche (The Roches) and Loudon Wainwright III, half sibling to Rufus and Martha Wainwright. She grew up steeped in music.
But Lucy has carved out her own career as a touring singer/songwriter and recording artist, having sold over 50 thousand copies of her four critically acclaimed solo recordings released on her own label: Eight Songs, Eight More, Lucy, and There’s a Last Time for Everything. Other recordings include a collaboration with her sister Martha Wainwright on Songs In the Dark, a collection of lullabies, and three duet recordings with her mother Suzzy Roche: Fairytale and Myth (winner of Vox Pop Independent Music Awards), Mud and Apples (IMA nominated), and most recently, I Can Still Hear You -- an album largely recorded in the darkest hours of the Covid shutdown in the spring of 2020 in NYC and hailed as “one of the year’s best” by Americana Highways.
For over a decade, as a solo act, armed with a guitar, a deadpan sense of humor, killer songs, and a voice that makes tough guys cry, she’s built a solid following across the US and Europe. As an opening act, she has often appeared with such luminaries as the Indigo Girls, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Neko Case, and she’s one of a few who can step out alone in front of a thousand strangers and play an entire set to a rapt audience.
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