When you think family business you might think law firm or automobile sales. Maybe a large restaurant or hotel chain. For Lucy Wainwright Roche, the family business means touring via vans and buses. It means that her mother and father [Loudon Wainwright III and Suzzy Roche of The Roches] and sister and brother [Rufus Wainwright and Martha Wainwright] are also singers and performers. Lucy bucked the expected and decided to get her masters degree and taught for a few years. Alas music called her back into the fold.
There’s A Last Time For Everything, her sophomore album, showcases gorgeous, lush vocals with ambitious arrangements. Lucy’s songs feel simultaneously expansive and comforting. Dreamy. She’s currently on tour and plays Club Passim in Cambridge, Mass on Sunday, November 17.
Amy Steele: What’s it like being part of such a musical family? What are the advantages and disadvantages?
Lucy Wainwright Roche: Well, I’ve never known anything besides being in a musical family and so it seems pretty normal to me. In terms of disadvantages, sometimes it’s overwhelming to be in a family business – it’s hard not to see yourself and to judge yourself in the context of the family.
Amy Steele: Yet you went to grad school and became a teacher for a while. What made you do that and then leave teaching for a music career?
Lucy Wainwright Roche: When I was a child and a younger adult, I really didn’t see myself going into music. I’d always been interested in teaching and working with children. I went to grad school for education and taught elementary school for a few years, which I loved. I ended up missing music, though, and so then I succumbed to the family business after-all!
Amy Steele: Why did you record this album in Nashville?
Lucy Wainwright Roche: I recorded this album with my friend Jordan Brooke Hamlin who lives in Nashville. She had been encouraging me to come down there to visit and to work on a few songs together. Eventually I bought a ticket down there and we worked in her basement for about 8 days straight and got the bulk of the album done. It was great to work in Nashville. My other recordings were all made close to home and it was fun to be in a new spot.
Amy Steele: What inspires you to write music?
Lucy Wainwright Roche: Oh, you know… the usual things… like heartbreak and misery. But also, I really find myself writing a lot about place and travel which I suppose has to do with the fact that I’m often away on tour and going from place to place.
Amy Steele: Can you tell me about these songs – either how you came up with the lyrics or melody or the recording process?
“Seek and Hide”
Lucy Wainwright Roche: This song is one that grew and changed the most from the demo to the recording. I love how it turned out and was thrilled to have Colin Meloy sing on it. He did a really great job.
Lucy Wainwright Roche: “Last Time” was the only song I had written for this album before the summer I recorded. I’d written this song earlier in the year and so it was kind of a touchstone to anchor the rest of the writing. All the other songs were written in the weeks just leading up to recording.
“Take What You’re Given”
Lucy Wainwright Roche: This was the last song written for the album. I was flying home to NYC on the last day in Nashville and my flight was delayed. I had wanted to write a song that was kind of meditative and circular in it’s form and I had some subject matter in mind. I walked around and around a parking lot writing the lyrics and then we quickly recorded the guitar and vocal part right before running to the airport!