Martha Wainwright is calling her stint at (Le) Poisson Rouge on October 24 and 25 “one last Piaf show.” We’re hoping this isn’t true, but just in case it is, and you haven’t had the pleasure, get on it.
What started out as a sort of workshopping of semi-obscure Edith Piaf songs a few years ago for Martha eventually became the Hal Willner-produced “Sans Fusils, Ni Souliers, à Paris: Martha Wainwright’s Piaf Record,” captured live at Dixon Place in June 2009.
Quite simply, in 2010, no-one does pure, raw, frayed-edge emotion like Martha Wainwright; 70 years ago, that was Piaf’s bailiwick. Most know the tiny, tragic French songbird for the accordion-drenched sound of La Vie en Rose or the dramatic bombast of Je Ne Regrette Rien, or for the part Marion Cotillard buzzed off her eyebrows to play. But Piaf’s less popular tunes are considerably darker and more jagged. This is where she and Wainwright—whose folk-rock output isn’t exactly cheery, as the excellent song Bloody Mother-F***ing A**hole suggests—meet, and it’s a sweet spot indeed.
And don’t worry: If your French isn’t fluent, Martha’s interpretation of the material is 99 percent feeling—like at the opera, you’ll be able to follow the stories just fine. Musette Explosion's Will Holshouser will be on deck with his accordion.
Martha’s cousins Lily and Sylvan Lanken, a.k.a. the Mittenstrings, do opening honors.
(Le) Poisson Rouge, Sunday 10/24 at 7PM; Monday 10/25 at 6PM; $25