Rufus Wainwright Shares Glimpse Into New Star-Studded Album with Brandi Carlile Collab

Rufus Wainwright recently announced an album of folk re-imaginings that will see contributions from a roster of stars.

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Set for release on June 2, the album, titled Folkocracy, will feature collaborations with the like of Sheryl Crow, Chaka Khan, Andrew Bird, Susanna Hoffs, Madison Cunningham, and more. The project arrives just ahead of his 50th birthday.

“This album is almost like a recorded birthday party and birthday present to myself,” Wainwright shared in a statement. “I just invited all the singers that I greatly admire and always wanted to sing with.”

He has offered fans a glimpse into the upcoming release of “Down In the Willow Garden.” The lead single is a striking song in which he enlisted the help of superstar Brandi Carlile. Together, their vocals are show-stopping against the delicate melody.

“Singing with Rufus feels like watching birds swirl around together instinctively in flight,” Carlile said of her counterpart. “It’s anticipated but somehow as natural as can be. His voice is so special to me that I hear it sometimes when he’s not even singing with me. I loved every second of flying around in this music with him.”

“I chose us a cheery little number — not!,” Wainwright added of the single, a reinvention of the 19th-century murder ballad. “The song is so blatantly brutal and masochistic that I had to sing it with a woman. Sadly, we still live in a violent world. The amazing thing about so many folk songs is that content wise, they sound very contemporary. Think of the gun crime in the States right now.”

The traditional song tells a haunting story of a man facing judgment for the poisoning, stabbing, and eventual murder of his lover. While maybe not as morbid, the album will be home to several other renditions of traditional tunes, including “Shenandoah,” “Hush Little Baby,” “Cotton Eyed Joe,” and “Wild Mountain Thyme.”

Check out the stunning Carlile-Wainwright collaboration in “Down In the Willow Garden” below.

(Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)

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