Rufus Wainwright reveals new folk album out in June

Photo by Miranda Penn Turin

Rufus Wainwright has announced ‘Folkocracy‘ will be released on  June 2nd via BMG. This is the Canadian-American’s 11th album that comes after ‘Unfollow the Rules‘ was released in 2020. ‘Folkocracy‘ includes the new single ‘Down in the Willow Garden‘, which features Brandi Carlile. Two-time Grammy award-nominated artist marks his upcoming 50th birthday by reimagining folk classics alongside special guests, including John Legend, David Byrne, Sheryl Crow, Nicole Scherzinger, Chaka Khan, Andrew Bird, Anohni, Susanna Hoffs, Van Dyke Parks. The album leans into his family background and features his sister and legend-in-her-own-right Martha, step-mother Lucy, and his mother Kate McGarrigle. “I’m so happy mum made it onto the album,” says Rufus Wainwright, “Without her there would be no Folkocracy.“.

Wainwright said of the new work, “This album is almost like a recorded birthday party and birthday present to myself. I just invited all the singers that I greatly admire and always wanted to sing with.“. Wainwright continued, “The older I get, the more I appreciate how valuable my folk knowledge is, to have had it ingrained in me as a child, I’m from a bona fide folkocracy who mixed extensively with other folkocracies such as the Seegers and the Thompsons. I spun off into opera and pop. Now I’m back where it all began.“.

On the new single, Carlile reflected, “Singing with Rufus feels like watching birds swirl around together instinctively in flight, It’s anticipated but somehow as natural as possible. His voice is so special to me that I hear it sometimes when he’s not even singing with me. I loved flying around in this music with him.“.

And, on singing with Carlile, Wainwright says, “Brandi I see a lot, often with Joni Mitchell. I chose us a cheery little number – not! The song is so blatantly brutal and masochistic that I had to sing it with a woman. Sadly, we still live in a violent world. The amazing thing about so many folk songs is that, content wise, they sound very contemporary. Think of the gun crime in the States right now.“.

In addition, this August will see Wainwright embark on a worldwide Folkocracy Tour while also marking both the 25th anniversary of his landmark debut album, 1998’s ‘Rufus Wainwright‘, and the 20th anniversary of 2003’s award-winning ‘Want One‘ (and its 2004 companion, ‘Want Two‘) with a series of orchestral shows featuring symphonic arrangements by Sally Herbert (Woodkid, Florence + the Machine) and Max Moston (Antony and the Johnsons). A full slate of North American, EU, and UK performance dates will be announced soon. For complete details and remaining ticket availability, visit the artist’s website.


1 – Alone (Feat. Madison Cunningham)
2 – Heading for Home (Feat. John Legend)
3 – Twelve-Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon) (Feat. Susanna Hoffs, Chris Stills & Sheryl Crow)
4 – Down in the Willow Garden (Feat. Brandi Carlile)
5 – Shenandoah
6 – Nacht und Träume
7 – Harvest (Feat. Andrew Bird & Chris Stills)
8 – Going to a Town (Feat. ANOHNI)
9 – High on a Rocky Ledge (Feat. David Byrne)
10 – Kaulana Na Pua (Feat. Nicole Scherzinger)
11 – Hush Little Baby (Feat. Martha Wainwright & Lucy Wainwright Roche)
12 – Black Gold (Feat. Van Dyke Parks)
13 – Cotton Eyed Joe (Feat. Chaka Khan)
14 – Arthur McBridge
15 – Wild Mountain Thyme (Feat. Anna McGarrigle, Chaim Tannenbaum, Lily Lanken, Lucy Wainwright Roche, & Martha Wainwright)

The album will be available on deluxe, standard vinyl, and your favourite streaming platform. The deluxe package features a 12-page booklet, double LP, and gold foil gatefold cover. You can pre-order the album from the artist’s website.

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