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Rufus Wainwright | Folkocracy (2023)


Rufus Wainwright will release new album ‘Folkocracy’ on June 2nd. The new album was completed in the run up to his 50th birthday, and it finds Rufus reflecting on some of his earliest influences. The songwriter was brought up around music, with parents Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright obviously working in the folk sphere. ‘Folkocracy’ finds Rufus Wainwright paying homage to this realm, working alongside producer Mitchell Froom and a mouth-watering list of guests. He comments:
“This album is almost like a recorded birthday party and birthday present to myself. I just invited all the singers that I greatly admire and always wanted to sing with.“ CLASH
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, flanked by an incredible array of guests, using all he has learnt from conquering pop to make music worthy of awards.It was during 2021’s Grammys ceremony that the idea for an album of folk reinventions came to Rufus.

Nominated for his return-to-pop record Unfollow The Rules, he sat through countless folk and Americana categories and felt a pang for the past.
“I was already contemplating an album of covers,” says Rufus. “Initially I thought I’d choose big pop songs, make them into my style and have a huge hit record. Haha!
“But the older I get, the more I appreciate how valuable my folk knowledge is, to have had it ingrained in me as a child. I have a big birthday coming up. What better way to celebrate than singing some of the songs that shaped me with some of the artists I most admire?
“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.”
Joining Rufus on the journey is an all-star cast. Brandi Carlile features on first single Down In The Willow Garden, an ancient murder ballad brought beautifully up to date. John Legend, Chaka Khan, David Byrne, Anohni, Sheryl Crow, Susanna Hoffs, Chris Stills, Nicole Scherzinger and Van Dyke Parks all appear, alongside family members Anna McGarrigle and Martha and Lucy Wainwright.
“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.”
Rufus chose the 15 songs with producer Mitchell Froom. A handful he first heard in childhood, some are standards from across continents, a couple he discovered while researching the record. Two are what could be classed as folk fudges – a reframing of Franz Schubert’s Nacht und Träume and a spellbinding rerecording of his own song Going to a Town, featuring his longtime friend Anohni.
“It was Mitchell who suggested one of my songs, a future folk classic as he calls it,” says Rufus. “It’s certainly a protest song. And to record it, even remotely, with the incredible Anohni was a frightening thrill.
“Schubert, in my mind, is firmly in the folk tradition. The most important factor of folk music is powerful intimacy. It should always feel as though you and the performer are the only people in the room. You get that with Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell and, certainly, you get that with Schubert.”

Rufus Wainwright: Folkocracy

Audio CD:


  • Alone (Feat. Madison Cunningham)
  • Heading for Home (Feat. John Legend)
  • Twelve-Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon) (Feat. Susanna Hoffs, Chris Stills & Sheryl Crow)
  • Down in the Willow Garden (Feat. Brandi Carlile)
  • Shenandoah
  • Nacht und Träume
  • Harvest (Feat. Andrew Bird & Chris Stills)
  • Going to a Town (Feat. ANOHNI)
  • High on a Rocky Ledge (Feat. David Byrne)
  • Kaulana Na Pua (Feat. Nicole Scherzinger)
  • Hush Little Baby (Feat. Martha Wainwright & Lucy Wainwright Roche)
  • Black Gold (Feat. Van Dyke Parks)
  • Cotton Eyed Joe (Feat. Chaka Khan)
  • Arthur McBridge
  • Wild Mountain Thyme (Feat. Anna McGarrigle, Chaim Tannenbaum, Lily Lanken, Lucy Wainwright Roche, & Martha Wainwright)

Package Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 4.9 x 0.3 inches; 2.4 Ounces
Manufacturer ‏ : ‎ BMG Rights Management (US) LLC
Original Release Date ‏ : ‎ 2023
Label ‏ : ‎ BMG Rights Management (US) LLC
Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ USA
Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1

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