Lucy Wainwright Roche. There’s a Last Time for Everything, 2013.
Lucy Wainwright Roche is the daughter of folk legends Loudon Wainwright III and Suzzy Roche, and her lineage shows in this first album since her self-titled full-length debut in 2010. Growing into her own musical style, Lucy’s matured greatly since then, but retains many of the essential components that make her music satisfying- lush vocals, brilliant lyrics, and technical skill and ability.
This Year Will End Again begins the album in an almost dreamlike state, with complex instrumentation and breathy, airy tones from Wainwright Roche as she speaks of ends, beginnings, and endless cycles that make up our lives. She transitions to a slightly lower tone in Seek and Hide, more serious but still lighthearted in the broad sense. In Last Time, Lucy has a more stripped down tune that allows her lyrics and voice (in other words, herself) to shine through the gorgeous ensembles that she assembles for this album. Monte Rosa Range is short and sweet, bridging two deeper thoughts nicely with a bit of a mental break from heavy thinking with mental imagery instead. Going into an even lower register, Look Busy is somber and reflects on navigating a relationship and its difficulties. Canterbury Song brings the tempo back up and lightens the mood again with soaring vocalizations and a blending of talented musician friends. Lucy demonstrates her roots with the honest but always acceptable song Call Your Girlfriend, which details instructions from a new love on how to tell the current partner. This true-to-thyself piece seems very much like something that Loudon Wainwright III would write, and while it’s hard to listen to, there’s an appreciation for the oddly caring sentiment. Moving back into less rocky territory is A Quiet Line, which pairs Lucy with Mary Chapin Carpenter for a poetic and tripping little melody. The Same begins totally differently from her other songs on this album, in an almost eerie combination of sound effects and hand-claps, and is possibly my favorite song, but definitely the most cutting edge, bordering on an avant-garde or fusion work. Following this, Seven Sundays is a soulful and harmonious mix of percussion, strings, vocals, and a touch of brass, blended with thoughtful lyrics. To finish out the album, Lucy pairs with Robby Hecht on vocals, and piano, bass, and clarinet accompanying in a sweet and soulful Under the Gun.
Treat yourself, whether or not you’re a fan of the rest of the Wainwright family. Lucy Wainwright Roche brings her own twist on a solid family foundation, paired with skill and spirit.
Personnel: Lucy Wainwright Roche (vocals), Sandra McCracken (vocals, piano), Eleanor Denig (violin), Jordan Brooke Hamlin (electric guitar, percussion, bass, piano, 12-string guitar), Colin Meloy (vocals), Jeff Irwin (bass), Greg Lafollette (whistle, shaker), Billy Brimblecom (drums), Allison Miller (drums), Mary Chapin-Carpenter (vocals), J. J. Jones (drums), Kenny Hutson (guitar), Chris Donahue (double bass), and Robby Hecht (vocals).
Tracks: This Year Will End Again; Seek and Hide; Last Time; Monte Rosa Range; Look Busy; Canterbury Song; Call Your Girlfriend; A Quiet Line; The Same; Seven Sundays; Under the Gun
And for fans of this musical family-