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Suzzy And Lucy Wainwright Roche On Their Mother Daughter Bond, New Album


The title track from "I Can Still Hear You" begins with a clear, pure solo.


LUCY WAINWRIGHT ROCHE: (Singing) Remember the words or the parts that you saved or carousel horses or how the summer behaves.

SIMON: And then another voice joins, and a sweet harmony rings out.


LUCY WAINWRIGHT ROCHE AND SUZZY ROCHE: (Singing) Or off in the distance, remember me, too, because I can still hear you.

SIMON: Two voices from a beloved musical family - this is Suzzy Roche and her daughter, Lucy Wainwright Roche. "I Can Still Hear You" is the third album they've recorded together. And like a lot of things lately, it is born from troubled times.

Suzzy Roche, thanks so much for being with us from Manhattan.

SUZZY ROCHE: It's great to be here.

SIMON: And Lucy Wainwright Roche, thank you for joining us from Brooklyn.

L ROCHE: Thank you.

SIMON: Lucy, I gather this is your composition, written during these times of quarantine and concern. What can you tell us about it?

L ROCHE: I wrote it right in the middle of the darkest part of the shutdown in New York. Everything was totally quiet outside, except for sirens and then at 7:00 p.m., the clapping out the window for the essential workers. So I was just in my apartment by myself and thinking about the weird combination of everyone being separated. And yet, it brought out a lot of connection at the same time. People were reaching out to people they hadn't spoken to in a while. People were maybe Zooming with people that they would normally not see for many months. And it just - in the time of isolation, it was also connecting.


LUCY WAINWRIGHT ROCHE AND SUZZY ROCHE: (Singing) Between a few wild rides, surrounded on all sides. I can still hear you. I can still hear you.

SIMON: Suzzy Roche, let me ask you - some of this album is rooted in pain and loss that is beyond the pandemic. I gather your sister, Maggie, died just about four years ago. How did that influence the music you've given us here?

S ROCHE: I think it's really, for me, at the heart of the entire recording because it was devastating to lose her. You know, she's my sister. And also, I worked with her for my entire life. So it was a huge loss. And then my mother four months later - and also the world was in turmoil the entire time and has been for the last four years. So I was writing songs, but it was hard to really write because you want to put out something that has some hope in it, you know, and also to soothe people. At least at this point in my life that's what I feel like I'm doing.

SIMON: Of course, you, Maggie and your sister, Terry, were The Roches. And on this album, there's a new version of, I think, one of your best songs. Let's listen to a little bit of "Factory Girl."


LUCY WAINWRIGHT ROCHE AND SUZZY ROCHE: (Singing) As I went out walking one fine summer's morning, the birds in the branches they did gaily sing. The lad and the lasses together were sporting, going down to the factory, their work to begin.

SIMON: Why did you want to do the song for this album?

S ROCHE: Well, for me, it was had a lot to do with the #MeToo movement. A lot of the songs I felt spoke to that. I wanted to make a record that was unashamedly in praise of women - not only for women, but I wanted to celebrate women. And this song is a song about a working woman. Her suitor thinks she's beautiful, but she refuses him.


LUCY WAINWRIGHT ROCHE AND SUZZY ROCHE: (Singing) Saying stand off me, young man, and do not insult me. For although I am poor, sure, I think it no shame. It's not to insult you, fair maid. I adore thee.

L ROCHE: The song I heard over and over and over again on tour with The Roches, sitting backstage. They would be performing it, and I always loved it. And then as I got older, I love a lot of - this is a traditional song that's been adapted. And I love a lot of traditional songs, but it's very hard to find traditional songs where the women triumph in any way (laughter). Oftentimes they meet quite a sad end (laughter).

SIMON: Yeah. Suzzy Roche, what is it like to sing with your daughter?

S ROCHE: It's very deep. You know, I never would have imagined that we would have made these records together. I do love to sing in harmony, and I wouldn't really be doing is singing right now I don't think if it wasn't for Lucy.


LUCY WAINWRIGHT ROCHE AND SUZZY ROCHE: (Singing) I think I'm a soul. I think I am a soul.

S ROCHE: She has a beautiful voice, and she's very strong and fun. We have a lot of fun, I would say.

SIMON: I mean, that in and of itself - as I don't have to tell you, there are some mothers and daughters who love each other but could never work together.

L ROCHE: Yes. I think that sometimes people who watch our shows (laughter) are partially watching, thinking how happy they are they don't have to be on tour with their mother or their daughter.


L ROCHE: But we have a good time. We share hotel rooms. We sit next to each other in the car all day and then stand next to each other on the stage. This is, of course, before the pandemic.

SIMON: Yeah.

L ROCHE: Now we just kind of wave from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

SIMON: Suzzy Roche and Lucy Wainwright Roche - their new album, "I Can Still Hear You" - thank you both very much for being with us.

S ROCHE: Thank you.

L ROCHE: Thank you.


LUCY WAINWRIGHT ROCHE AND SUZZY ROCHE: (Singing) Shopping for tomatoes... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Corrected: November 14, 2020 at 12:00 AM EST
A previous headline and introduction on this file misspelled Lucy Wainwright Roche's name as Lucy Wainright Roche.
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