(RED BANK, NJ) -- Count Basie Center for the Arts presents Rufus Wainwright on Sunday, June 25 at 7:30pm. His upcoming album, Folkocracy, is Rufus Wainwright revisiting his roots, of childhood summers spent at folk festivals and watching his famous family on stage. But it’s also the sound of an artist in the present using all he has learnt from conquering pop to opera and showtunes.
“I’ve shied away from folk in the past, preferring the worlds of opera and pop. But the fact is I’m from a bona fide folkocracy who mixed extensively with other folkocracies such as the Seegers and the Thompsons. As I hurtle towards 50, I’m back where it all began.”
The album, Rufus’ 12th studio album will be released on June 2nd, features and all-star cast of guests including Brandi Carlile, Chaka Khan, David Byrne, Anohni, Sheryl Crow, John Legend, Nicole Scherzinger and his family of course among others. The album is a bit of a 50th birthday present to himself, invite the singers you have always admired to come and join you in the process. “Getting lots of guests was a given from the start,” says Rufus. “The key to folk is community and sharing a stage. But I didn’t want to make a duets record. We rode a fine line – guests, not duets.”
For the tour he has assembled a four piece band of amazing musicians and two incredible back-up singers, his sister Lucy Wainwright Roche and Petra Haden who will sing the parts of most of the guests from the album.
The set list will contain almost all songs from the album. He chose those 15 songs with producer Mitchell Froom, some are bona fide folk songs like Peggy Seeger’s “Heading for Home” or Ewan MacColl’s “Alone” but others are Wainwright’s interpretation of what constitutes a folk song today like The Mama’s and The Papa’s “Twelve-Thirty”, his own “Going to a Town”, or Moondog’s “High on a Rocky Ledge” which he first heard on a sultry Hawaiian New Year’s Eve.
The concept of cover songs will continue for the rest of the set list, picking songs Rufus recorded for his audible original “Roadtrip Elegies” at LA’s legendary folk venue McCabe’s Guitar Store. Those songs accompanied a car ride that he took frequently as a child from his mother’s home in Montreal to his dad’s of New York. This time in his car was his shrink and the entire conversation was recorded with the songs illuminating important stops on memory lane.
This additional material will contain some new songs by Rufus along with covers of among others Bob Dylan, Mina, and the late Burt Bacharach who Wainwright described on his January 2023 tour with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta as the “greatest living American songwriter”.
Not many musicians have the vocal range and depth of interpretation that Wainwright possesses or as The New Yorker simply put it “Nobody sings quite like Rufus Wainwright”. Nobody gives live shows quite like Rufus either. Expect Folkocracy!
Tickets range from $29.50 to $69.50 and are available for purchase online.
Count Basie Center for the Arts is located at 99 Monmouth Street in Red Bank, New Jersey.