Rufus Wainwright, “One Man Guy”
Rufus Wainwright is the son of famous troubadour Loudon Wainwright III and part of the storied Wainwright performing family. He’s also one of the most talented modern artists whose career we have the privilege of witnessing — and most of you probably hadn’t heard of him until the previous sentence. That said, Rufus has the type of voice that cuts right to the heart (his rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is truly haunting and merited co-Song of the Day recognition a few months back) and he has a knack for taking simple folk skeletons and often animating them with an orchestral flair.
“One Man Guy” is a fairly unanimated skeleton itself. Rufus and company hew pretty closely to the folk traditions of his father on the track, but that doesn’t make it any less wondrously infectious. To be frank, Wainwright is an openly gay man so if you simply cannot abide such a notion for three and a half minutes, then this may not be your cup of tea. (I suspect there are more of these folks in Provo than I would like to believe; However, this is the generation that was raised on their parents’ Elton John records, so perhaps hope remains.)
Nevertheless, this is a great song. Not a ton of bells and whistles, but none are needed. It’s just a great piece of songwriting performed by a great artist at the top of his creative game. If you’ve been lucky enough to catch Mudbison‘s Spencer Russell and his brother, newly minted Columbia recording artist Isaac Russell, perform “One Man Guy” live as a duet, then you already know how gripping the song can be. If not, you can start with Rufus’ original rendition at the link below.
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