I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Lucy Wainwright Roche three times live. The first time was in 2009 at One Longfellow Square in Portland, Maine opening for Lucy Kaplansky. She is a fantastic storyteller—both in story and in song. I remember vividly how much I laughed during that first show. Lucy’s stories were personal and often embarrassing, but she didn’t hesitate to share her life and the origins of her songs with us. I was an instant fan. A young girl in the crowd must have said hello to her at some point that night, because Lucy invited her up to sing a song with her on stage. It made that little girl light up, and it was a lovely display of Lucy’s kindness. I got to see Lucy twice more in 2009–once opening for Neko Case and another time solo. I so look forward to my fourth Lucy show next weekend!
Fans of good storytelling—Lucy is coming to Gardiner’s Johnson Hall on Sunday, July 28! She’ll be joined by her incredibly talented mom, Suzzy Roche of The Roches. I should probably mention that Lucy comes from a very gifted family. Her dad is Loudon Wainwright III, and her half siblings are Rufus and Martha Wainwright.
I’ll be front row center at the show. Come join me. You can get your tickets here. I’ve exchanged some emails with Lucy recently, and wanted to share with you some of the things we chatted about to get you excited for the show, too.
B: Your family is incredibly musically gifted and well known. How did that affect your path towards becoming a working musician?
LWR: Well, initially it probably made me really NOT want to be a musician and so I rebelled by going to college and grad school and becoming an elementary school teacher. Eventually though, I gave in and returned to the family business!
B: I’m a high school social studies teacher and just finished my 12th year at the same school (yikes—I’m aging!). You were an elementary school teacher for a while and a nanny for a bit, too? Any funny stories or insight about why you left that type of career behind?
LWR: I loved teaching – and I miss it still sometimes. It was great to be a part of people’s every day lives – nowadays in my job I really change location most days and so I’m living a much more transient life. At the same time, teaching and performing are somewhat similar – they are both really just about communicating to groups of people! The only difference is the age of the people! Oh, and you usually can’t SING math lessons – although – that might be a good idea.
B: You got arrested on Christmas in 2011 in your grandmother’s driveway?! Is it too soon to ask you what happened?
LWR: Oh yes. Very exciting Christmas! Unfortunately the underlying story isn’t as exciting as it might sound. It turned out to be because of a clerical error in the DMV database which was cleared up very quickly…BUT it makes for a great one- liner – “Lucy got arrested on Christmas!” Most people are very surprised to hear that!
B: I LOVED your piece on Rookie Magazine online —“Literally the Best Thing Ever: Hoarders.” That’s not a question, I realize.
LWR: Thanks!!! I LOVE hoarders!
B: I don’t have cable, but the interwebs told me that you played a part on The Science Channel’s “Stuff You Should Know.” Can you describe the show and tell us how you got involved? Do you have a favorite episode?
LWR: I loved doing the show. Unfortunately we aren’t going to get to do another season – but I’d guess my favorite episode was called “Bacteriopolis.” It had Ric Flair playing a doctor. It was so fun!
B: It looks like you just toured with your dad in England, Scotland, and Ireland in May. Any highlights?
LWR: Touring with my dad is great. It’s a perfect way to take a family vacation because everyone has a common goal and it’s all very organized! Plus you get to see lots of the world. My dad and I had a great time in May overseas. We especially loved Glasgow.
B: You have your second full-length album—There’s a Last Time for Everything—coming out soon and just released Fairytale and Myth with your mom Suzzy. You’ve been busy! What can your fans expect from these new projects? What was it like to write and record music with your mom?
LWR: Yes! My mom and I made an album in the winter with our friend Rob Morsberger who was suffering from brain cancer at the time. He passed away in June and so this project is really special to us. My new solo album, “There’s a Last Time For Everything” is coming out in October and I’m very excited for that. This album has a slightly different sound than my previous ones and I made it in Nashville with my friend Jordan Hamlin. There are 10 original songs and one cover song – “Call Your Girlfriend” by Robyn.
B: Do you prefer songwriting, recording, or touring?
LWR: Hmmm… I like all three but in moderation – all of them can drive you nuts!
B: Who are some artists that you’d love to work with?
LWR: I’ve been really, really lucky because I’ve gotten to work with lots of musicians I really admire like the Indigo Girls, Over The Rhine and many others. On this last album I got to have Mary Chapin Carpenter and Colin Meloy as guest singers! I’d love to work with both of the more going forward.
B: My blog focuses on the concert experience from a concert goers experience. From my perspective, I know what I think makes a good show, but from a performer’s perspective, what makes for a great show (or what makes for a terrible show)?
LWR: Well, the audience is really what makes or breaks a show. You can have all kinds of problems with the venue or your travel that day or whatever other logistical issues that are surrounding you – but if the audience is great, it saves the day!
B: We’re really excited you’re coming to Gardiner, Maine to play for us! Your mom will be joining you. What will be the show format? Do you play out together much?
LWR: My mom and I have been doing a bunch of shows together this summer. It’s fun for us to have each other to travel with and to get to sing harmonies. It’s a nice change of pace to traveling alone!
Thanks, Lucy! So excited to see you again in my hometown. Friends—Gardiner is a short 45 minutes from Portland and only 30 minutes from Brunswick. Get yourselves up here that night. It will be a great show. Check out this short set from Lucy and Suzzy on NPR’s Mountain Stage. Again, grab your tickets here!