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The Wainwright stuff: Singer Lucy Wainwright Roche returns to Bell House

The Brooklyn Paper
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It’s becoming a Boxing Day tradition.

Local singer-songwriter Lucy Wainwright Roche will again showcase her penchant for melancholic folk when she opens for Dar Williams at the Bell House the day after Christmas — just like she did last year on that day. Roche has high hopes for her return to the Gowanus venue.

“Every time I’ve performed at the Bell House it’s been quite a lively enthusiastic audience,” said Roche, who lives in Clinton Hill. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

Roche says that she has looked up to Williams ever since she was a youngster, when her dad — well-known songwriter Loudon Wainwright III — gave her one of the folk singer’s albums as a gift.

Even aside from her father, Roche’s family is brimming with musical talent — she is also the daughter of singer Suzzy Roche and the half-sister of crooners Rufus and Martha Wainwright.

When she was kid, Lucy said she loved spending time on the road with her mother — then a member of folk trio The Roches — but her introverted personality kept her from pursuing music as a career.

“I loved that but I thought I didn’t want to do anything with it as a job,” she said. “I was pretty shy as a kid and as a younger adult.”

Roche had a brief stint as a New York City school teacher before realizing that she could not stay away from the stage.

“Once I got away from music I realized what an important part of my life it was and how much I missed it.,” she said

She released her first short album, “8 Songs” in 2007 and has since released five more works, including this year’s “Songs In The Dark,” with Martha Wainwright.

Roche tends to write songs about heartbreak and misery — the same subject matter she prefers to listen to, she said.

“I really like sad songs,” she said. “My favorite songs on anyone’s record are sort of the sad ones.”

But she lightens the mood of her live sets by sprinkling covers of songs like Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” or Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” among her more somber original material.

Despite the gloomy sound of her tunes, the 34-year-old is well aware of how fortunate she is to be taking the stage.

“I’m lucky to have gone along piecing together making a living as a musician,” she said.

Lucy Wainwright Roche opens for Dar Williams at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643–6510, www.thebellhouseny.com]. Dec. 26 at 8 pm. $30 ($25 in advance).

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511.

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