Rufus Wainwright marks his sixth studio album with the release of ‘All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu’ (Decca).
The album was written and produced by Wainwright with two songs produced and one co-produced by Pierre Marchand, who also mixed the album. The two last collaborated on the ‘Poses’ album.
‘All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu’ is an album steeped in beauty, with hugely personal and deeply emotional songs, each channelled through Wainwright via only his fingers, voice and piano. He admits that this recording was one of the most difficult things he has ever done. “While hiding behind a 70-piece orchestra with my opera you can blame everything on the tuba player,” he wryly observes. “With this album, when the curtain is raised, it’s me on my own.”
Strapped with a resounding emotional heft, the intense 12-track record opens in an arresting fashion with ‘Who Are You New York?’, Wainwright’s ode to the city. ‘Les Feux d’artifice t’appellent’ – the final aria from his debut opera ‘Prima Donna’ – is another highlight while ‘Zebulon’, a song about one of Wainwright’s high school sweethearts, is majestic. Also featured are three Shakespeare sonnets, which Wainwright has gorgeously crafted in his very own inimitable style. They are selected from 24 pieces of music that he wrote for a theatrical production, ‘Sonette’ with director Robert Wilson in Berlin last year.
Much of the album concerns itself with two brighter spirits in Wainwright’s family: his mother, legendary folksinger Kate McGarrigle, who passed away in January, and his sister Martha, the acclaimed folk-rocker to whom the album is dedicated. “Every note, every phrase, is shadowed” by his mother’s three-and-a-half-year battle with cancer; his “greatest admirer and critic,” Kate both motivated and grounded Rufus. Watching Martha cope with the birth of her child and the death of her mother has been an “awe-inspiring experience.” The spare and powerful third track named for his sister reveals the songwriter at his rawest: