This week on eTown, we have Part Two of our special on-the-road show from Macky Auditorium in Boulder, Colorado featuring Rufus Wainwright and Madison Cunningham! Madison and Rufus perform more wonderful songs on their own, and also a few magical tunes together! Nick also has a sit-down with author and climate activist Margaret Klein Salamon, Ph.D.
Praised by the New York Times for his “genuine originality,” Rufus Wainwright has established himself as one of the great male vocalists, songwriters, and composers of his generation. The New York-born, Montreal-raised singer-songwriter has released ten studio albums to date, three DVDs, and three live albums including the Grammy-nominated Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall. He has collaborated with artists such as Elton John, Burt Bacharach, Miley Cyrus, David Byrne, Boy George, Joni Mitchell, Pet Shop Boys, Heart, Carly Rae Jepsen, Robbie Williams, Jessye Norman, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Sting, and producer Mark Ronson, among many others. He has written two operas, numerous songs for movies and TV, and is currently working on his first musical for the West End and a Requiem. His latest GRAMMY® and JUNO nominated album of original songs, Unfollow the Rules, finds Wainwright at the peak of his powers, entering artistic maturity with passion, honesty, and a new-found fearlessness. His newly- released studio album Folkocracy features reinvented folk duets with artists like Chaka Khan, Brandi Carlile, John Legend and Anohni and many more.
Madison Cunningham is a 27-year-old GRAMMY award-winning artist and songwriter known for her “wonderfully tangled imagery and cutting self-awareness” (NPR). As a guitarist, Madison has pushed the boundaries of a conventional singer-songwriter as her “guitar work is both classic and wildly emotive, and her soaring vocals are pristine and inspired” (Consequence). Madison first picked up a guitar at age seven, and by age twelve was singing and performing alongside her five siblings in church. In her teenage years, she met Tyler Chester who would later go on to be a close collaborator and producer of several of Madison’s projects including Who Are You Now (2019) which Atwood Magazine described as “a guitar-driven record, full of twisting, meticulously arranged parts and interlocking melodies. It’s almost labyrinthine; you could get lost in her swirling words.” Cunningham’s latest effort, Revealer, won the GRAMMY for ‘Best Folk Album.’ Revealer finds her working once again with producer Tyler Chester along with Mike Elizondo and Tucker Martine. Written and recorded over all states of the pandemic, Madison says, “To me, ‘revealer’ is the binding theme of the album. The hand that slowly chips away at the mirror in which you see yourself and the world and replaces it with the reflection that is most true.” The album is “full of intricate musicianship, alongside forthright observations” (All Music), intimations and hard truths—a self-portrait of a young artist who is full of doubt and uncertainty yet bursting with exciting ideas about music and life.