Born into a family of strong personalities and even stronger musical talent, Martha Wainwright could be excused for finding it hard to find her place in the world, as Stories I Might Regret Telling You details. Being the daughter of celebrated folk legends Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle would be enough to put a little pressure on you. Then to be niece to your mother’s onstage partner Anna; surrounded by Leonard Cohen, Richard and Linda Thompson and Emmylou Harris throughout your childhood; and to see brother Rufus hailed “greatest songwriter in the world” might be too much to bear.
But Martha has, just about, borne it and produced some exceptional music, like last year’s Love Will Be Reborn. For anyone with a passing interest in the Wainwright/McGarrigle dynasty, the fractured family introduction will not come as a shock. What is surprising is how much Martha struggled in her relationship with her mother, as well as with her and Rufus’ well-documented differences with their father. Martha, not known for holding back, is almost apologetic for the difficult feelings she expresses: restrained, for someone whose debut EP was entitled Bloody Motherfucking Asshole.
A fascinating insight into an 80s bohemian upbringing and the inevitable impact of this on such a unique performer’s life. There is no neat, complete ending to Stories I Might Regret Telling You, but instead, the impression of someone coming to terms with their world, wherever they may fit in it.
Stories I Might Regret Telling You, Martha Wainwright (Simon & Schuster)
Price: £20/£9.99 Ebook. Info: here
words JOHN-PAUL DAVIES
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