Lucy Wainwright Roche. Photo by Jess Griffin

Brooklyn, New York-based singer-songwriter Lucy Wainwright Roche was last in Maine in August, when she sang with Indigo Girls, who were opening for Brandi Carlile at Thompson’s Point.

This time around, she’ll be playing solo at One Longfellow Square on Saturday.

Wainwright Roche won’t, however, be driving here alone; she’ll have her daughter, Hazel, born on Oct. 22, along with her dog, Maybe, with her. Maybe is a seasoned touring dog, but so far, Hazel doesn’t love the car.

“I have not figured out a way to break it to her that most of my life is spent in the car. By the time we get to Maine, she’ll probably be expressing herself a lot about how she feels about driving,” Wainwright Roche said last week.

Wainwright Roche has three solo records, most recently 2018’s breathtaking “Little Beast.” She’s also recorded with her mother, including on the 2020 album “I Can Still Hear You” and last year’s bittersweet holiday single “Sugar Plums,” and with her half sister.

Wainwright Roche has music quite literally in her DNA. Her father is Loudon Wainwright III, and her mother, Suzzy Roche, was part of the sibling vocal group The Roches, along with her aunts, Terre and the late Maggie. Wainwright Roche’s half siblings are Rufus and Martha Wainwright, both well-established musicians. She herself has a bell-tone voice that is capable of emotionally dismantling listeners, especially on songs like “Soft Line” and “The Year Will End Again.”


As a child, Wainwright Roche would accompany her mother to rehearsals at Terre’s studio apartment, where she would sit on the bed with a book or a toy while the trio sang and played. Now as a mother herself, she’s wondering how Hazel will tolerate having to sit through the rehearsals that she and her mother will be delving into soon. “She’s going to have to learn, which I got very good at as a kid,” said Wainwright Roche.

Wainwright Roche likened motherhood to the pandemic in a deeply personal way. Despite how drastic and frightening lockdown was for her, Wainwright Roche said the pandemic didn’t result in a wild transformation, which she found similar to motherhood. “I haven’t sprung forth into another version of myself as like a character where I’m a parent; I’m just me, but with a baby,” she said.

She doesn’t see this as a negative thing but said, with a chuckle in her voice, that when major life events happen, sometimes shifts occur. “You have a secret hope that you’ll be transformed into a more functional, wonderful version of yourself, but I feel pretty much the same.”

Wainwright also gained perspective during the pandemic about several aspects of being a touring musician. “It’s a very difficult way to make a living, and it’s very expensive,” she said. Now with an infant daughter, she’s figuring out ways to proceed in a smarter way that involves shorter runs of shows. “It definitely opened up a lot of questions.”

The pandemic also allowed Wainwright Roche, who previously had toured almost constantly, the kind of time off she would have never taken had the world not shut down. But that wasn’t necessarily a good thing, she said. “Unfortunately, you don’t really imagine taking your break and being terrified through it.”

Wainwright Roche thinks that humanity hasn’t processed the pandemic yet, though a collective stamp has been left on all of us. “I feel like it’s written in our humanity tree rings that something happened.”


Wainright Roche, although reluctant at first, did perform about five streaming shows during the time when in-person performances weren’t an option.

“I was in an internal crisis about what was happening and also felt like people are having so much trouble they don’t want this, but then when I did them, it actually made me feel good,” she said.

Since she’s been back on the road, Wainwright Roche has heard from several fans how much they appreciated the streaming shows. “It meant so much to me to have had that connection from my apartment by myself,” she said, and added that the tips she received during those shows were crucial to getting through the pandemic financially.

That said, she’s thrilled to be back to in-person concerts. “There is a real beauty to the people that you meet, and there’s something real there, even though it can become grueling, it really means a lot, and I’m grateful that people still wanna come.”

Wainwright Roche has started to write new material and is hoping to make her next solo record when she has enough songs ready. For now, though, she’s happy to be back on stage.

Lucy Wainwright Roche
8 p.m. Saturday. One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland, $20.

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