I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings too

If Martha Wainwright felt any trepidation about following up her critically acclaimed debut she certainly doesn’t display it on her sophomore release. The provocatively titled I Know You’re Married But I’ve Got Feelings Too presents a broader musical vision from the youngest of the Wainwright/McGarrigle Clan and a growing sense of self confidence bolstered by maturity.

“Bleeding All Over You,” the first song on the album, smacks you right between the ears with a brilliant melody and witty, edgy lyrics that contain the infamous line that became the album’s title. Always the emotional writer, Wainwright sings of a former lover who has happily gone on with his life while she remains resolutely stuck. But now Wainwright allows her sardonic sense of humor to lighten the whole affair – a gift perhaps inherited from her father, Loudon Wainwright III. The second track solidifies her new musical vision. “You Cheated Me” is an infectious pop song featuring guitar licks from fan and friend Pete Townsend.

I Know You’re Married… moves away from the acoustic sound and the raw soul-scuffed confessions of Wainwright’s debut. There’s still plenty of emotion raging around these songs but her scope is broader and not so self-obsessed. While her brother, Rufus, often presents his dramatic swings in bombastic orchestral arrangements, Martha prefers to express her angst with her impressive vocal range. Her voice is an amazing thing that swings from rugged, majestic peaks to whispery, twisted and nuanced depths. “Tower Song” offers plenty of drama thanks to understated string arrangements, rapidly descending piano chords, and gauzy vocals that sound ready to unravel with the slightest provocation. “So Many Friends” is a spooky contemplation on loss highlighted by Donald Fagen’s (Steely Dan) deft touch on synthesizer.

While Loudon Wainwright’s influence on his daughter’s music might be her flair for dark and humorous perspective on relationships, Momma Kate McGarrigle’s presence is felt on “In the Middle Of the Night” an epic folk ballad featuring tenor sax, clarinet and Indian flute.

The album is loaded with family members including brother Rufus, mother and aunt Kate & Anna McGarrigle and cousin Lily Lanken. Also present is Garth Hudson and Marius Devries. Wainwright brought in producers Tore Jonhansson and Martin Terefe to produce and although both are credited with production duties it is Wainwright’s husband and bass player, Brad Albetta, who receives most of the credit. I suppose it’s often the case that it is your family that knows best your potential. Martha Wainwright proves herself to be a unique star, – and maybe the best vocalist - in one of music’s most prolific, talented and intriguing families.

Rosemary Welsch (Afternoon Mix Host)