Tag Archives: Rufus Wainwright

Sharon Van Etten to release Tramp deluxe edition

Sharon Van Etten’s Tramp

Click to hear a bonus track now

Sharon Van Etten has announced the release of a deluxe edition of her latest album, Tramp, on Nov. 13.

We find the repackaging of current albums with new tracks to be more than a little annoying — they often seem like desperate marketing ploys by a badly hurting record industry. But when it comes to Sharon, we’ll make an exception. She’s an amazing artist — and we’re completists when it comes to her work.

She’s making “Tell Me (Demo),” one of the bonus tracks on the forthcoming package, available to stream now. It’ll whet your appetite for what sounds like an exceptional repackaging from Jagjaguwar Records. They’re promising to include a self-portrait and liner notes about each song taken from Sharon’s journals. And for those of you, like me, who have little room for CDs, the digital version will feature a new digital booklet including the same, new liner notes and artwork.

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Quite an event with Antony and the Johnsons

Antony Hegarty with his 60-piece orchestra on the Radio City Music Hall stage. (Photos © 2012, Steven P. Marsh)

What can we say about the wonderfully strange singer Antony Hegarty, who on Jan. 26 managed to transform Radio City Music Hall into his own special dreamscape?

Antony, who often performs with a band as Antony and the Johnsons, had some members of his band as part of a 60-piece orchestra for this light-and-music show dubbed Swanlights.  He attracted a sold-out crowd that included celebrities such as Tilda Swinton, Jenny Shimizu, Rufus Wainwright, Lady Bunny, Michael Stipe and many more.

Lady Bunny in the lobby of Radio City Music Hall.

(Check out The New York Times review of the show here.)

The show, commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art and originally designed for presentation in the museum’s atrium, reached so far that it was doomed to fall a bit short. But even so, the evening was stunning and engaging, as the transgender Antony, dressed in a simple, flowing gown, came out an sang a selection of his marvelous songs with lush accompaniment, a visually stunning set, and, for the most part, well-done lighting.

All New York City Opera tickets for shows at BAM are $25 to celebrate settlement

20120120-181251.jpgGreat news: Not only has City Opera averted a strike, it’s found some angels to allow it to offer all tickets for its operas at the Brooklyn Academy of Music for just $25.

George Steel, the general manager and artistic director made the announcement in an email blast late Friday afternoon:

I am also delighted to report that as a gift to the City of New York, The Reed Foundation and The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation have bought the remaining seats for all performances at BAM, allowing us to offer these seats at a special price of $25 to celebrate our new beginning. I invite you to purchase tickets today to take advantage of this incredibly generous and thoughtful gift.

That means you can see Rufus Wainwright’s Prima Donna and Giuseppe Verdi’s  La Traviata for a song. Go here to get your tickets now.

While the three-year deal struck by the struggling opera company with its singers and instrumentalists keeps things going, it’s not a happy ending it means less money for an already hard-hit group of musicians. But without the deal, it appeared NYCO would have vanished forever.

Doveman delivers the best show of the year so far

May edition of The Burgundy Stain Session featured Rufus Wainwright and The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl)

Doveman opening his latest edition of The Burgundy Stain Sessions at (Le) Poisson Rouge. (Photos copyright 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

I’m not sure what it is about Thomas Bartlett, aka Doveman, that makes him so brilliant.

Like many of you, I first discovered him when he was the man behind Salon‘s late, lamented Daily Download feature. At that point, I had no idea who he was, but enjoyed his tight writing about music and really enjoyed his taste and his ability to spotlight tunes that I might have missed and would have lived to regret.

Rufus Wainwright.

But soon he gave that up and turned to his real love, making music. Those who were paying attention soon discovered that Thomas is a very talented singer-songwriter in his own right with his beautiful, fragile style that he calls “insomnia pop.” He’s made some beautiful albums under his nom de stage.

But Thomas is probably more familiar to audiences as the guy will lots and lots of amazingly talented musical friends.

Rob Moose, Doveman, Rufus Wainwright and Brad Albetta.

He’s been presenting The Burgundy Stain Sessions (the next edition is June 24) shows on a more or less monthly basis lately at (Le) Poisson Rouge. The format is pretty straightforward. He gets  the room set up in the round, invites some of his talented friends, does a little rehearsing and puts on a show. It’s the kind of event where just about anything can happen.

The sessions we’ve see have been beautiful, sloppy things. And we don’t mean sloppy in a bad way. No, we mean sloppy in a warm, wonderful surprise-wet-kiss way.

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RIP Kate McGarrigle

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Canadian folksinger Kate McGarrigle, the head of a musical dynasty, who’s best known known by younger music fans as the mother of Rufus and Martha Wainwright, died last night. She was 63, and died of clear-cell carcinoma.

Kate, a Juno award winner and Member of the Order of Canada, was diagnosed with cancer in 2006.

Click here for a blog post on her death from the National Post, a Canadian newspaper, and here for the Toronto Star report.

Kate gave birth to Martha and Rufus, two gifted singers, during her marriage to singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III.

Kate performed for many years in a duo with her sister Anna as Kate and Anna McGarrigle, passing their folk-music traditions along to a large, extended family family of musicians, which, in addition to Loudon, Rufus and Martha, includes Maggie, Terre and Suzzy Roche who perform together as The Roches (the link: Suzzy had a daughter, singer-songwriter Lucy Wainwright Roche, with Loudon). The family had a tradition of gathering annually for Christmas concerts, sometimes at New York’s Carnegie Hall. The last McGarrigle Family Christmas concert, A Not So Silent Night, was held last Dec. 9 at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Here’s a video of Kate singing a new song, “Proserpina,” at that show:

Last Friday, Rufus’ web site announced that he was canceling his February/March tour of Australia and New Zealand “due to an illness in the family.”  Martha’s site indicates she has no upcoming concert dates.

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? sends best wishes to Kate’s extended family at this time of loss.

Radical opera defies definition

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It seems to me that the only thing The New Yorker Festival’s Radical Opera panel settled last Sunday afternoon at City Winery was that nobody’s quite sure exactly what radical opera really is.

The 90 minute discussion featured director Peter Sellars — who’s so deeply involved with John Adams‘ operas that he’s not limited to directing in the most conventional sense. He helped create the libretto for Doctor Atomic — along with performer-composers Nico Muhly, Rufus Wainwright, and Lisa Bielawa. Nico and Lisa are closely associated with Philip Glass, one of the world’s leading composers of opera, while Rufus, who’s primarily a pop musician, has no prior formal connection to the opera world.

I was hoping that The New Yorkers’ brilliant music writer, Alex Ross, would encourage some spirited debate. (Secretly, I was hoping for some bitch-slapping, if not actual fisticuffs.) Alas, that was not to be. It turned into a very un-radical love-fest and discussion of upcoming projects. I had a livelier discussion with the young composer at my table than anything I heard coming from the stage that afternoon. Continue reading