NPR Music

Support Public RadioLogin

Tiny Desk Concerts

Martha Wainwright: Tiny Desk Concert

Download Audio

14 min 15 sec

November 26, 2012 Wainwright does the opposite of sugarcoating: She roughs up life's smooth spots, then digs her fingertips into the cracks that form. Watch her perform three songs from her new album, Come Home to Mama, in the NPR Music offices.

Martha Wainwright's songs examine uncomfortable moments and life experiences gone wrong, but as she acknowledges in between songs at this Tiny Desk Concert, she often has to fudge her own life story to make the details more unsettling. ("Take everything with a grain of salt," she says, "except the good stuff.") What she does is the opposite of sugarcoating: She roughs up life's smooth spots, then digs her fingertips into the cracks that form.

Wainwright's new album, Come Home to Mama, addresses her place on the continuum between her late mother (singer Kate McGarrigle) and her young son — particularly in the wrenching and insightful "Everything Wrong," a ballad Wainwright calls "my first song about motherhood." That song closes both Come Home to Mama and this concert in the NPR Music offices, and it's tremendous: raw and almost painfully intimate, wonderfully humane and ultimately hopeful.

Martha Wainwright is the second member of her family to play the Tiny Desk in the last few months, following in the footsteps of her brother Rufus. Their father, Loudon Wainwright III, released a marvelous record near the beginning of this year, so is completing the family trifecta too much to ask? Consider this an invitation.

Set List
  • "Some People"
  • "Can You Believe It?"
  • "Everything Wrong"
Credits

Producer: Stephen Thompson; Editor: Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Christopher Parks; photo by Ryan Smith/NPR

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

More Tiny Desk Concerts

More Tiny Desk Concerts
 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Podcast + RSS Feeds

Podcast RSS

  • Tiny Desk Concerts
     
  • Live in Concert
     
 

Podcast + RSS Feeds

Podcast RSS

  • Music Videos
     
  • Tiny Desk Concerts