Throughout his career, Rufus Wainwright has flirted with cabaret, art song, the lush frontiers of pop, vintage crooning, even opera. Wainwright succeeds in making much of it highly original, even experimental. But it all seems to naturally emanate from the parlor, specifically the place where he and his mother and aunt—the wonderful Kate and Anna McGarrigle—gathered around the piano with sister Martha and extended family and friends, creating music as had been done in the pre-electric era. So it also feels natural to return to that parlor ambience for All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu, a sad, deeply reflective, starkly personal collection of songs obviously reflecting Kate's lingering illness and death last January. It's just Rufus' voice and sometimes florid piano, riding swells of emotion so artful that three Shakespeare sonnets he set to music fit right in. In concert, Rufus, accompanying himself on piano, will perform the new album, followed by older material. Martha, who will open with her own solo set, inherited more of dad Loudon Wainwright's acerbic temperament, indicated by such lyrical tunes as "Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole." She's actually a far more supple songwriter than that title suggests, also reflecting much of her mother's influence. Her latest album, recorded live, is an Edith Piaf tribute, Sans Fusils, Ni Souliers, A Paris.
Wed., Aug. 11, 8 p.m., 2010