Listen to Rufus Wainwright's new memoir free.

This listen is free for everyone—no strings attached. Enjoy!

Listen free for 30 days

Audible Membership

$14.95 a month

1 credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
The Plus Catalogue—listen all you want to thousands of Audible Originals, podcasts, and audiobooks.
$14.95 a month plus applicable taxes after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy Now for $12.47

Buy Now for $12.47

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Tax where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

"It's very important that you go to college in music, but it's probably more important that you drop out." (Rufus' mother, Kate McGarrigle)

Celebrated singer, songwriter, and composer Rufus Wainwright knows exactly what to pack for his journey between St. Sauveur, Quebec, and New York City. He's intimately familiar with the route, from its topography to its emotional touchstones - each mile nearly etched into his psyche. The starting point, nestled in the Laurentian Mountains, is an hour northeast of Montreal and home to a large part of his fabled upbringing, with its rich maternal lineage and musical legacy. It's also loaded with some good ol' fashioned baggage. The end point, New York, like for so many before and after him, serves as a storied stomping ground for his rise as an artist and person, independent of his family. It's an ever-alluring but uneasy place, as it's dished out equal measures of validation and indifference throughout their testy relationship.

In Road Trip Elegies, Rufus sets out on the trek with his usual personal effects: a treasure trove of memories, a razor-sharp wit, and a big appetite for healthy self-reflection. But on this particular trip, he's packed two additional items to help navigate the experience: something to record himself with and someone to talk to. For the latter, Rufus has tapped his therapist. Yes, Mark the Analyst. (Hey, why not go for the best?) What ensues over the course of three one-hour episodes is a captivating, detailed, and candid coming of age story - an artist's awakening - shared by a man who uniquely understands from whence he came and how it's all played out ever since. As satisfying or soulful a premise that may be - Rufus is the consummate showman - Road Trip Elegies offers its listeners much, much more. 

If Elegies is anchored in Rufus' driving excavation as an artist and son (his beloved mother, Canadian folk icon Kate McGarrigle, is an essential and enduring force in his life), the title is truly lifted and made whole by its spectacular musical counterpart. Generously woven throughout the duration of the drive, each live cut (more than 20 tracks in total) is plucked from an exquisite, recent set of performances some 3,000 miles west. Captured at McCabe's Guitar Store, a music venue in Los Angeles, the three-night run was designed specifically to accompany and punctuate moments and themes derived from his Road Trip. Backed by a tight-knit four-piece band, including his sister, Lucy Wainwright Roche (vocals), and Petra Haden (vocals/violin), and featuring top-notch stage banter throughout, Rufus seamlessly moves between a sweeping breadth of songs that span generation, genre, and timbre. Many tunes were penned by his own notable family members, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, or his distinguished folk-writing father, Loudon Wainwright III; others are gorgeously Rufus-ized versions of standards from the stage, the Great American Songbook, or more modern classics. Cue: Dylan's "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" and Barry Gibb's always welcome "Islands in the Stream". Enveloped in the warmth of devoted fans and a host of admiring special attendees (Burt Bacharach, Jessica Chastain, Mike Stoller, Shirley MacLaine, Chris Guest, Darren Criss, Anjelica Huston, Jackson Browne, and Van Dyke Parks to name-drop a few), the performance, throughout, conveys a fantastic sense of both intimacy and electricity. 

By the time Rufus approaches the city, we've been richly serenaded with beautiful melodies courtesy of the West Coast and moving stories down the state thruway. Driving solo now (don't worry, his intrepid therapist was safely dropped off in Westchester), Rufus is admittedly fully loopy: emotionally drained but highly entertaining. The final leg has the remarkably palpable vibe of just Rufus and you, working in parallel, looking to land closure. Total catharsis is of course out of reach, but Rufus' Road Trip Elegies is a bold and beautiful testament to the power of not compartmentalizing our various parts or striving to disown our past, but rather, willfully embracing the full extent of us; seeking to grasp and contain even our most challenging of pieces to arrive, more completely, at peace of mind.

©2020 Rufus Wainwright (P)2020 Audible Originals LLC

About the Creator and Performer

Praised by The New York Times for his “genuine originality,” Rufus Wainwright has established himself as one of the great male vocalists, songwriters, and composers of his generation. The New York-born, Montreal-raised singer-songwriter has released seven studio albums to date with, three DVDs, and three live albums, including the fantastic Grammy nominated Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall. Musically, Rufus has collaborated with artists including Elton John, Burt Bacharach, Robert Wilson, David Byrne, Boy George, Joni Mitchell, Pet Shop Boys, Heart, Robbie Williams, Jessye Norman, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Sting, and producer Mark Ronson, among many others.

What listeners say about Road Trip Elegies: Montreal to New York

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    32
  • 4 Stars
    6
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    29
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    24
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

What a trip!

I’ve always enjoyed Rufus Wainwright’s music, and have often wondered about his life, especially considering his musical familiars. This was such a wonderful recording, a perfect mix of vehicular therapy (?), memoir, and live performance. Lovely, moving, and often laugh-out-loud funny.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

entertaining, as always!

To me it felt like I was listening to a podcast more than to an audio book which is in this case a very positive remark. There are a few live performances that get you out of Rufus's head and that are as always amazing. I'm glad I'll be able to listen to this again.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!

I always listen to audible books while going on my walks . This was my 56th book ! I loved Road Trip Elegies! Really interesting to get to know his thoughts at various moments of his life, hearing about his relationship with his family in such a candid frank way. This is coupled with fabulous songs which come up at various times in the narration . These songs are great to accompany my walk and add a spirited lift to my steps. Honestly, I listened to it twice.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great roadtrip!

Nice to be along for the ride and song selection.
Merci Rufus and team, Bravo!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I liked it

easy to listen to
enjoyed the moments
enjoyed the music
I want to hear more

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Thank you for inviting us into your life and music, Rufus

My wife and I listened to it in three parts....one chapter a night, by the fireplace in the evening with a glass of our favourite wine. Isn’t that great or what? Just like reading a book, our imagination makes up for the lack of visual display, and that was just perfect like that.

First of all, we loved the audio format, the variety on how Rufus presents Road Trip elegies, so it never gets boring. One moment, he narrates his life story, then we’re passengers in the car with him and his therapist, and all of a sudden we are transported to Los Angeles for an intimate live music show.

And second, the music is gorgeous, sometimes singing solo and sometimes singing incredible beautiful harmonies with a couple of very talented female singers, of course accompanied by great musicians. Could be just a piano, or added drums, guitars and violins. Always a surprise as we rode with him and weirdly, felt like we were actually with him, confiding to us, like we actually were his therapist...or even his friends.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A SPECIAL TREAT. DON'T MISS IT!

I admit I never heard of Rufus before. My loss! I was captured by his honesty, his humor, his ability to talk about very serious and gard topics in a way that we all feel and experience what he went through. What a blast to experience his story and his singing at the same time! And boy, he can sing! He can sing anything! He can slso write beautiful songs! His journey is my journey and your journey: the eternal search for beauty and meaning. Thank you!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Serenade with word and song

An insightful journey of song, personal reflections, legacy and conversation. I loved the musical interludes. More to come ?....One can hope.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Janet
  • 2020-11-06

A Keeper

A very different listen for me. Interesting perspective into a long, sometimes troubled life. Especially appreciated the music, both original and classic; it all fit me very well. I have very specific musical friends I’d enjoy sharing this with. Look forward to doing so. Really enjoyed the Rufus voice on the songs; wide talent range. A very brave story.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Townsend
  • 2020-11-14

Must listen!

If you are a Rufus Wainwright fan - which is everyone who has ever heard him sing - I don’t have to tell you that you need this audiobook.

If you aren’t familiar with Rufus Wainwright you owe it to yourself to get to know him by listening to his endearing memoir and getting a taste of his beautiful lush singing voice.

Pure genius told in his own voice.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mary Aalgaard
  • 2020-11-08

wonderful

Loved going on the road trip with Rufus and his therapist. Songs and stories come from the deep well of our being. I appreciate Rufus' honesty on his journey and relationships. I wish him continued success in his career and personal life.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Christopher Barghout
  • 2020-11-19

Rufus music fan. Not into a prolonged psychotherapy session

Mommy and Daddy issues from a person who is a great musician. This felt so much longer than 3.5 hours. Painful unless you get paid hundreds of dollars an hour like the psychotherapist who tags along for the Montreal to NYC trip this is. Avoid at all costs and just listen to his music.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Milton Carl
  • 2020-11-09

That was fun!

Don’t listen to this one if you are wanting to drift off to sleep. It will keep you awake. I am old enough that I knew his parents’ music first. I love that the story is sprinkled through with history, some of which I needed to look up. Always nice to be entertained and also learn something. What a lovely guy. It does kinda fall apart at the end... I would listen to another road trip in a heartbeat, tho.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • lk
  • 2020-11-15

Moved

I am so moved by the story and the music, the memories and the magic. Thank you for publishing this thank you for your love of the arts. God’s blessings today and always! Lucia

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • TripChocCook
  • 2020-11-13

Lovely

Just lovely and soft despite some of the stories. It’s family and figuring out how to make it through the good and not so good..and the backdrop of place that is always there

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • susan connors
  • 2020-11-12

Creative artistic intersection

Brilliant concept.
I listened to this on a NY road trip too.
So many great songs.
Loved Rufus’ musings on the intersection of opera & pop.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Susan L. Parmentier
  • 2020-11-14

Been on my radar for just some time

Amazing evening. Many thanks..
Why does Audible require twelve more words, my charming and lovely, friends?

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Harlan Fricke
  • 2020-11-12

Really enjoyed this!

I haven’t heard anything like this before. If you’re a fan, I think you’ll love this. I also think casual listeners will find it enjoyable as well. This would be an interesting way to make albums in the future. Instead of just the tracks, you get an all encompassing story and a ton of insight into the songs. Just a thought.

3 people found this helpful