Mother-daughter duo Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright Roche bring tour to Carbondale
If You Go...
Who: Lucy Wainwright Roche and Suzzy Roche
Where: Steve’s Guitars
When: 8:30 p.m. on Saturday
How Much: $10
It’s easy to think that children who grow up in musical families will become musicians themselves. At first, that wasn’t the case for Lucy Wainwright Roche.
Her father, Loudon Wainwright III, is a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, and her mother, Suzzy Roche, is one-third of The Roches. Her half-siblings are Martha and Rufus Wainwright. When Wainwright Roche was growing up, she would go on tour with her mother’s group. Being on the road seemed normal, and while it was fun, Wainwright Roche needed to try something new for herself.
“Initially I think growing up in a musical family geared me in another direction,” Wainwright Roche said. “But then when I was in that other direction, I missed it.”
After teaching elementary school in New York City for a few years, the only way a kid in a family like hers can rebel, she succumbed to music’s pull and released her first EP, “8 Songs,” in 2007. She released her second full-length album, “There’s a Last Time for Everything,” about a year ago.
The album is a big step forward for Wainwright Roche from her earlier work. Her folk sensibilities are ever-present, but a new understanding of adult pop music takes the songs to a more refined place. Guest vocals from Mary Chapin Carpenter and The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy highlight the range of styles Wainwright Roche covers here. The surprising thing is the album was recorded in a mere 10 days in a Nashville basement with her friend and co-producer, Jordan Brooke Hamlin.
“This is a totally different approach, and it’s about going with our gut about what we liked and what we didn’t and then moving on to the next thing,” Wainwright Roche said. “It sounds different than the other recordings, but I’m not sure if that new approach would be the identifiable difference.”
While Wainwright Roche was working on “There’s a Last Time for Everything,” she decided to record a few tracks with her mother as incentives for people who preordered her solo album. Since she was working without a record label, she needed a way to fundraise and felt people might have been burnt out from Kickstarter and other online crowd funding sites. But it did not take long before she and her mother had recorded a full-length album of duets, “Fairytale and Myth.”
The record is a brilliant blend of both musicians’ styles, with gorgeous, tight harmonies reminiscent of The Roches and an updated pop sensibility thanks to Wainwright Roche. The record was made with the help of family friend and acclaimed singer-sonwriter/classical composer Rob Morsberger, who at the time was suffering from brain cancer and has since died.
“It was very special,” Suzzy Roche said. “He really gave Lucy and me a gift by giving us this record.”
After releasing “Fairytale and Myth,” the mother-daughter duo hit the road to support both it and “There’s a Last Time for Everything.” They both said touring with one another was a bit like the old days when Wainwright Roche would tag along with her mother, but it’s a different experience to be able to perform together.
“It’s really amazing for me because I’ve spent a good deal of time on the road with my sisters, and this is a whole new surprise thing we’re doing,” Roche said.
“It’s different because I wasn’t on stage before, so it’s fun,” Wainwright Roche said. “We also have the dog with us.”
Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright Roche will perform at Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale on Saturday. Wainwright Roche said she played at the venue once before, about five years ago, and while she vaguely remembers the guitars hanging all over the walls and the welcoming vibe of Carbondale, she’s looking forward to refreshing her memory and finding a good dog park.
“I’m excited to come back,” she said.
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