Martha Wainwright is a working mother. Read that again. Indeed, the artist behind the 2005 hit “Bloody Mother F*cking Asshole” is a devoted mom who, she tells us, has found joy and peace in putting her sons first (she tells all in her breathtaking new memoir, but with a mama-bear heart for her kids). Thank you for joining us for this special, musical conversation with one of Canada’s most original singer-songwriters (and yes, that’s a major pantheon) and now, author. Thank you for joining us! Enjoy watching again here for a limited time. Or subscribe to Imagine On Air On Demand to access our growing library of past shows.




Let’s get this out of the way: Wainwright is, as we are fond of saying, “Canadian music royalty.” Her brother Rufus is, well, Rufus Wainwright. Her dad, Louden Wainwright III is a seminal American folk star (see below). Her mother is the late, great Kate McGarrigle. It’s an extraordinary but uneasy heritage that Martha has written and sung about in painful, brilliant depth. Here she is in 1999 with her brother and mother singing “Talk to Me of Mendocino,” written by McGarrigle and most famously performed with her sister, Anna.
Kate McGarrigle, Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright: Talk to Me of Mendocino (1999)


Wainwright’s aforementioned hit “Bloody Mother F*cking…” etc. was inspired by her father’s (shall we say) passive brand of parenting. In this clip from the show, Martha shouts out to the book All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews, which quotes a lyric from her dad’s song “Thanksgiving”, about his own dysfunctional family: “’Nothing bad has happened yet,’ a lyric from a Louden Wainwright song, knocked about in my head as I cruised past the house on Warsaw Avenue.”

Thanksgiving by Loudon Wainwright III


Martha’s cultural venue, The Ursa, opened in Montreal’s Mile End in 2019 and is known in the neighbourhood as simply, “the clubhouse.” The artist started the club to give local artists of all ages a place to perform and connect. Re-opening post-COVID restrictions next week, Martha invites anyone lucky enough to be in Outremont to attend Ursa’s free, in-person “spring affair,” Sweet Like Honey. Expect music, flirting tips and trivia questions.


Martha talking is a wonderful thing. Martha in writing is another extraordinary gift. But Martha singing? Swoon. The artist generously gave Wordfest viewers a live performance of “Love will be Reborn” from her new album of the same name. Here’s the official video. If you want to hear it live, watch our show. 

Martha Wainwright - "Love Will Be Reborn"


Martha likens her childhood to a circus — witness to the wild ups and downs of her musician-parents colourful careers; schlepping their instruments to gigs etc. — rather than to the image of generations gathered round a piano singing, a la the Von Trapp family. Remarkably, she’s met the Von Trapp grandchildren, who still sing together. Grab a tissue.
The von Trapps singing Edelweiss (great grandchildren)

The Book!

We are grateful to Penguin Random House Canada for making it possible for us to connect you with the always fascinating and multifaceted Martha Wainwright. The book is the t-shirt you desperately want after every show.

Indigo Books is the official bookseller — act quickly and you might be able to obtain one of a limited number of signed copies of Stories I Might Regret Telling You, available through this exclusive link.


This Thursday!

Don't miss this rare chance to eavesdrop on Colm Tóibín in conversation with the Rt. Honourable Adrienne Clarkson as these two literary friends share a soul-nourishing hour. (Thursday, Mar 31 @ 7 PM. ONLINE)

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