Come Home To Mama

Martha Wainwright

Cooperative Music/V2 Records, 2012

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


One might falsely think Martha Wainwright is riding the coattails of the fame her family has cultivated. The daughter of singer/actor Loudon Wainwright III and Canadian folk songstress Kate McGarrigle, it's almost as if Martha was predestined for a musical career. Though her early years had her singing backups for her esteemed brother Rufus, Martha had actually already released independent music of her own and has continued to do so while collaborating on a number of other projects. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Come Home To Mama, her first album in three years, is of particular significance. Martha recently both welcomed a new life with the birth of her son and lost a life close to her with the passing of her mother. With a wealth of emotions at the surface during this joyous and devastating time, she delivers an album that encapsulates all the hallmarks of being human in this very sincere and intriguing listen.

Though she's known mostly as a folk-pop singer/songwriter, Martha spreads her wings plenty on this release.  The disc opens with “I Am Sorry,” a soft rock exploration that immediately showcases a more mature woman. “Can You Believe It” follows, and it’s the most pop friendly she'll get here. Later on, some distinct electronica appears in “Some People.” The most important and memorable track here is “Prosperina,” a song that her mother wrote and performed just two months before her passing. It's a gorgeous piano ballad that resonates with a timeless power and emotion, a perfect tribute to a life to fulfilled. 

Though much of the lyrical content is understandably sad, there's a lot of optimism here as well. Martha releases a lot of personal information in these songs. In “All Your Clothes” she is seemingly having a conversation with her deceased mother, commenting on certain events in her life, though that leads into the life affirming “Everything Wrong” where she is addressing her young son, reassuring that she will be there for him.

A sophisticated, heartfelt, and very honest listen, this is undoubtedly a career high for Martha. It’s certainly not what most would expect from a woman whose last disc was titled I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too. Martha has parlayed the triumphs and debacles of her life into a beautiful record of rock/pop/folk.

Rating: A

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