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Martha Wainwright – Come Home To Mama

Tess Askew


Come Home To Mama is Wainwright’s 3rd studio album and the first of original music since the release of I Know You’re Married But I’ve Got Feelings Too in 2008. Martha’s writing is honest, funny, fragile and warm all at once and her voice versatile enough to convey the raw emotion in each song she sings. She swings between light and delicate to loud and brash with such ease that it works perfectly without us even noticing at times.

Martha Wainwright so often lives in the shadows of her family – a famous father, mother and brother who have all achieved success and acclaim. Martha Wainwright deserves to be viewed and listened to in her own right as she has her own inimitable style – different from that of her talented family and also of her peers in the musical world.

The title Come Home To Mama comes from a track on the album named Proserpina, the only cover on the album and the last song that her mother, Kate McGarrigle, wrote before her death of cancer in 2010. The track alone is emotive, but when taken in context of the above placing, becomes all the more heartbreaking.

The album is a mixed bag and it takes a few listens to connect and for the lyrics and music to really permeate but once it’s there it stays under your skin. It was mostly recorded at Sean Lennon’s home studio in New York City and features Lennon himself as well as Yuka Honda, Nels Cline (Wilco), Jim White (Dirty Three), Thomas Bartlett and Wainwright’s husband Brad Albetta. Leave Behind almost matches Proserpina in the emotion stakes, Four Black Sheep is a magical, mystical listen and Can You Believe It is both frank and funny.

In the past few years, Martha has married, lost her mother and become a mother herself, so all of these themes flow through the album. The last track of the album, Everything Wrong, is equally as moving as many others on the album but also features a theme of hope as she addresses her son.