The Family Business and the 'Saddest Sound'

Lucy Wainwright Roche took longer than expected to follow in her family's musical footsteps.

Lucy Wainwright Roche took longer than expected to follow in her family's musical footsteps. hide caption

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Wednesday's Pick

  • Song: "Saddest Sound"
  • Artist: Lucy Wainwright Roche
  • CD: 8 Songs
  • Genre: Folk

Given that Lucy Wainwright Roche's mother, father, brother, sister and aunts are famous and celebrated musicians, following in their footsteps would seem like a no-brainer. But Roche, the daughter of singer-songwriters Loudon Wainwright III and Suzzy Roche, was labeled the black sheep of the family when she became an elementary-school teacher instead of a singer. All that changed, however, when brother Rufus invited her to join him as a back-up singer on one of his recent tours. Shortly thereafter, she decided to give up teaching and pursue her own music career full-time, resulting in this year's 8 Songs, her self-released debut EP.

"Saddest Sound" is one of four original songs on the disc, while the rest is composed of traditional folk songs and other covers. Sincere and raw, at times recalling Joni Mitchell and Patty Griffin, Roche's bittersweet voice leaps out; she paints an indelible image of "the saddest sound" with her voice as the song's story unfolds. "Take the train home, take the train home, tomorrow," she tenderly beckons. "You are the time that I choose / Anything I have is yours now to borrow / It's something I'm willing to lose." Roche may have to live up to a remarkable lineage, but her beautiful voice is all her own.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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