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Rufus Wainwright on Shakespeare, Leonard Cohen, and protest songs / Charleston City Paper

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Rufus Wainwright is one of those artists who seemingly emerged with a fully formed, idiosyncratic sensibility that is uniquely his - a deep sense of song tied as much to cabaret, baroque pop, and glam rock as to the folk leanings of his parents, Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III. Wainwright's is an opera-tinged delivery with a rich, eclectic arrangement style that led the singer to critical acclaim by the late 1990s/early 2000s.

But unsurprisingly, for someone whose formula is also so varied, Wainwright has shown a penchant for artistic roving. Whether that means reprising a Judy Garland live album in its entirety (2007's Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall), composing and recording honest-to-goodness operas (Prima Donna in 2015), or adapting Shakespeare sonnets in a dramatic and varied fashion (last year's Take All My Loves – 9 Shakespeare Sonnets), he clearly follows his own muse down whatever side alley appears in front of him. "I always have five or six ideas I might follow," he admits of his left-field projects and digressions. "It's not really following down a rabbit hole - I'm more a monkey climbing up the jungle tree, leaping from branch to branch."

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