Rufus Wainwright’s new album “Folkocracy” features David Byrne, ANOHNI, John Legend and more

Rufus Wainwright has announced his new album “Folkocracy”, featuring collaborations with David Byrne, ANOHNI, John Legend and others.

The album of country music reinventions – out June 2 via BMG – marks the artist’s upcoming 50th birthday and also features special guests Brandi Carlile, Sheryl Crow, Chaka Khan, Andrew Bird, Nicole Scherzinger, Susanna Hoffs, Van Dyke Parks , and Madison Cunningham.

“This album is almost like recording a birthday party and a birthday present to myself. I just invited all the singers that I really admire and have always wanted to sing with, ” Wainwright said in a press release.

The announcement comes with the lead single “Down in the Willow Garden”, featuring Carlile.

Listen to “Down in the Willow Garden” below and pre-order the album here.

“Singing with Rufus is like watching birds flock together intentionally in flight,” Carlile said in a statement. “It is expected but in the most natural way possible. His voice is so special to me that sometimes I hear it when he is not even singing to me. I would love every second to fly into this music with him.”

Added Wainwright: “I see Brandi a lot, often with Joni Mitchell. I chose us a happy little number, no! The song is so clearly brutal and masochistic that I had to sing with a woman. Unfortunately, we live always in a violent world The great thing about many popular songs is that they sound very sensible in terms of content. Think about gun crime in America right now.”

The album is produced by longtime collaborator Mitchell Froom and is a follow-up to 2020’s “Unfollow The Rules”.

The album’s close, “Wild Mountain Thyme”, features the artist’s sisters, aunt, cousin and close family friend, Chaim Tannenbaum, on banjo by Wainwright’s late mother, Kate McGarrigle.

“I’m very happy that mom is on the album,” he said. “Without her there would be no ‘Folkocracy'”.

The artist will celebrate the release of his new album with a one-of-a-kind concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles on Friday, June 2, featuring a six-piece band and special surprise guests.

Wainwright will also embark on the “Folkocracy” world tour, marking the 25th anniversary of his 1998 debut album and the 20th anniversary of 2003’s “Want One” along with its 2004 companion, “Want Two.”

“The older I get, the more I realize how valuable my folklore knowledge is, which was instilled in me as a child,” says Wainwright. “I came from mixing real opera with other folk recipes, like the Seegers and the Thompsons. I moved on to opera and pop music. Now I’m back where it all started.”

The tour kicks off at New York’s Beacon Theater on March 9, with stops in the US, UK and Spain. UK dates include Cheltenham Jazz Festival on 26th April and Cambridge Democratic Festival on 27th July. You can check the full list of dates here and buy tickets for the US concerts here.

Below you will find the album cover and tracklist.

1. Alone’ (feat. Madison Cunningham)

2. 2. “Heading for Home” (Featuring John Legend)

3. Twelve-Thirty’ (Young Girls Are Joining the Navy) (With Susanna Hoffs, Chris Stills and Sheryl Crow)

4. ‘Down in the Willow Garden’ (Directed by Brandi Carlile)

5. ‘Shenandoah’

6. Night and Trauma

7. Harvest’ (With Andrew Bird and Chris Stills)

8. Going Home’ (feat. ANOHNI)

9. High on a Rocky Ledge’ (feat. David Byrne)

10. Kaulana Na Pua’ (feat. Nicole Scherzinger)

11. 11. “Hush Little Baby” (with Martha Wainwright and Lucy Wainwright Roche)

12. Black Gold’ (With Van Dyke Parks)

13. 13. “Cotton Eyed Joe” (feat. Chaka Khan)

14. Arthur McBridge

15. ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’ (feat. Anna McGarrigle, Chaim Tannenbaum, Lily Lanken, Lucy Wainwright Roche and Martha Wainwright)

Elsewhere, Wainwright will be on stage with Miley Cyrus in the film ‘Endless Summer Vacation (Backyard Sessions)’ which will premiere on March 10 on Disney+.

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