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Martha Wainwright back in town with new release

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Everyone knows that music is good for your health. So along with our regular offerings on wine, motoring, travel, sport and books, Australian Medicine will now feature a music column – just to make you feel good. We will have album reviews, concert reviews and previews, and some snippets of musical history and trivia spanning most genres. But we also want to hear from you. What music do you like to listen to – at home or at work? Let us know what makes your spirits soar or your toes tap and we will endeavour to include it in upcoming editions. Send your music news and views to ausmed@ama.com.au

 What better way of launching a new music column than to applaud a current tour and new album release of an international artist who pretty much (almost) calls Australia home. Martha Wainwright comes from music royalty. The daughter of American folk singer Loudon Wainwright III and Canadian folk singer the late Kate McGarrigle, she oozes musical ability, stagecraft and presence.

Currently touring Australia showcasing her new album Goodnight City, Wainwright is receiving rave reviews for her intimate and mesmerising concerts. Australian audiences love her and she is a frequent visitor to these shores. Having already played twilight concerts at Taronga and Melbourne zoos, as well as gigs in other Sydney venues, Perth and Canberra, there remains a handful of dates left on this tour. She had an outstanding recent appearance on the ABC’s Q&A program.

More of a folk-rocker than either of her parents, Wainwright drifts between sublime, lush ballads and in-your-face spellbinding harsher numbers. Always with a voice to die for.

Refreshingly different, Martha Wainwright has been described by Uncut Magazine as “part Patti Smith, part Leonard Cohen” and by the New York Times as moving “amid prettily finger-picked folk-rock and more eccentric arrangements”. Spin Magazine says “…her stage presence suggests several things at one time – defiant and strong, yet with an edge of sadness and vulnerability as well.” While American online magazine Pitchfork describes Wainwright as “…taking music and wringing from it a startling wealth of shiver-inducing moments.”

Which brings us to her new album. Goodnight City is riveting. Some are calling it her best yet. Her first release in four years, its 13 tracks are at once dynamic, impressionistic and confessional. A mix of originals and collaborations with the likes of contemporaries Beth Orton, Michael Ondaatje, Glen Hansard and her brother Rufus Wainwright, the album is compelling listening from start to finish.

She has played Carnegie Hall, appeared on the Late Show, the Tonight Show, Jools Holland and Australia’s own Spicks and Specks and has now returned with a three-piece band to once captivate local audiences.

The remaining stops on her current Australian tour (at the time of writing) include Newcastle, Lismore, Brisbane, Hobart, Devonport and Bendigo.

The album can be obtained through https://Inertia.lnk.to/Martha

 Chris Johnson