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Rufus Wainwright Previews New LP With ‘Masochistic’ Folk Ballad Featuring Brandi Carlile

Rufus Wainwright has announced his upcoming album Folkocracy will arrive June 2 and released its lead single “Down in the Willow Garden” on Monday. The track features Brandi Carlile, and is described by Wainwright as a “blatantly brutal and masochistic” folk ballad.

“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,” Wainwright said in a statement. “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.”

Carlile likened singing with her collaborator to “watching birds swirl around together instinctively in flight.” She added: “It’s anticipated but somehow as natural as can be. His voice is so special to me that I hear it sometimes when he’s not even singing with me.”

A host of friends and family members join the two-time Grammy-nominated artist on Folkocracy, including John Legend, David Byrne, Sheryl Crow, Nicole Scherzinger, Chaka Khan, Andrew Bird, ANOHNI, Susanna Hoffs, Van Dyke Parks, Madison Cunningham, and more.


The project is produced by longtime collaborator Mitchell Froom, and follows Wainwright’s recent 2020 studio album, Unfollow The Rules. The singer also announced dates for a tour supporting his new album with a six-piece backing band, plus a special chamber orchestra concert at Stanford University and solo shows.

Folkocracy Tracklist
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)

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