Rufus Wainwright–One Man Guy

It’s not uncommon for someone to do a cover as a laugh.  They take a song that another artist put their all into, then cover it ironically, either because of the style or the content. It’s much more rare for someone to take a song that was already a joke and to then imbue it with a heartfelt seriousness.  Loudon Wainwright III’s One Man Guy is a folk style sendup of macho culture and self-reliance.  But when son Rufus Wainwright takes the reins to it, the song transforms into a meditation on loneliness.  It’s a surprisingly different take given that Rufus does little to change the song.  In a shocking move for his own oeuvre, he sticks to the simple acoustic guitar instrumentation, choosing not to introduce his beloved piano.    His sister, Martha Wainwright does backup vocal duties, adding depth and texture to the song.  These small changes create a song that’s mournful and sincere, finding painful truth in a piece that was never meant to be taken seriously.


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