Martha Wainwright, "Come Home to Mama" (Cooperative Music)
2012 is the year of the Wainwrights.
Rufus Wainwright gave us a smooth, poppy record with the Mark Ronson-produced "Out of the Game," and now his little sister delivers a top-notch album with her third CD.
On "Come Home to Mama," Martha Wainwright acknowledges there were two main sources of inspiration for the album: becoming a mother and becoming motherless.
The album gets its title from the song "Proserpina," a track written by her mother, folk singer Kate McGarrigle. It was the last song McGarrigle wrote before she died in 2010. Her daughter's version uses simple piano chords and strings, and its simplicity keeps the focus on the song's touching lyrics and Wainwright's soft vocal range.
Another highlight is "All Your Clothes," a beautiful open letter from Wainwright to her mother with lyrics like: "The baby is doing fine, my marriage is failing, but I keep trying" (Wainwright gave birth to her son in 2009).
Wainwright's voice works nicely on songs that take on an electronic direction, like "Four Black Sheep" and "Some People." The latter is littered with emotional conflicts as she sings "I don't love the way I used to" and "If only I believed in God, then I would ask God to help me find my way." Honesty like that makes "Come Home to Mama" a must-listen.
CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: Wainwright is hilariously tongue-in- cheek on "Can You Believe It?"