Martha and Lucy Wainright Roche are a lot of fun …
Martha and her half-sister Lucy have written and performed with most of their family. Kate and Anna McGarrigle, the Roches, Victor – the list is long and musical. For reasons which are comically dark, Lucy and Martha collaborated on their first project ‘ Songs in the Dark’ in 2015.
Fast forward to July 8th, 2016 au Theatre du Nouveau Monde at the 37th Edition of The Montreal Jazz Festival.
With Martha in cast and Lucy cast as the straight man ( woman) – the duo explained, carried on, told jokes and sang songs from their debut album. Lullabies from the Devil would be an apt ‘ulterior’ title for the evening’s setlist. A stomach for Hitchcock – another …
Themes of despair, death and disappointment thick with the lyrics of songs sung for kids. Harmonious lullabies written with Martha’s kids in mind.’Mother’s Little Yellow Pill’ kind of stuff.
‘Long Lankin‘- the murderous tale, all the way to Richard Thompson’s literal ‘End of the Rainbow’, performed tongue in cheek (hopefully) by The Wainright Women. In between – the self deprecating humor of poor Martha’s cast and crutches to Lucy’s brilliant deadpan delivery on everything – the pair were delightfully entertaining. Even with a ‘Baby Rockin’ Medley instructing the crowd how to dance a baby to sleep while planning his / her departure as ‘a gift’.
Not all songs were about ‘haunted lullabies’.
Two of the evening’s most charming moments, insights into the childhoods of Martha and Lucy. ‘Lullaby for a Doll’, sung beautifully and wistfully by Martha as she covered her Mother’s song about the games Martha played as a child. Acoustic guitar providing the car as Martha took the audience on a trip backwards. Lucy grabbed the wheel ( and acoustic) and issued her own tale of childhood. ‘Screaming Issue’, a cover of a handcrafted tune to a younger version of Lucy carried out originally by her Father – Loudon Wainwright III. It was a children’s party and easy to decipher where Martha and Lucy obtained their musical prowess.
Throughout the evening – Martha and Lucy raised eyebrows and smiles. The chemistry between them filled with love, admiration and a wicked sense of humor. An impeccable sense of timing. Abbott and Costello would be proud …
‘Songs in the Dark’, the name of the album and tour – not without logic. In the olden days with medicine and means not always available, more kids died. Lullabies were created and sung to stomp and sooth the negativities associated with death and disease.
Martha and Lucy, aka The Wainright Sisters, more or less did the same thing during a three night run au Theatre Du Nouveau Monde.
SCARING, SOOTHING AND ENLIGHTENING FOLKS ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF PARENTHOOD.
In short …
Martha and Lucy Wainright Roche were a lot of fun !