Not all mothers and daughters could travel the country together, playing music every night and driving all day, and still remain civil to each other.
But Suzzy Roche and her daughter, Lucy Wainwright Roche, are proving it can be done.
“We get along extremely well,” Suzzy Roche said. “It’s kind of surprising, actually.”
Mother and daughter will be in Rochester to perform a concert Monday at Rochester Civic Theatre. Suzzy Roche was one-third of the Roches, a folk/vocal trio of sisters who enjoyed some popularity in the 1980s. Lucy Wainwright Roche, after initially avoiding a music career in favor of teaching elementary school, has now gained a following of her own with her witty, catchy tunes.
“I enjoy traveling with her,” Suzzy said. “Then I don’t have to worry about her. Normally she travels by herself.”
But, she added, “When I’m out with Lucy, she’s a taskmaster.”
Mother and daughter recorded an album together, “Fairytale and Myth,” in 2013, and are working on another.
“We have a whole bunch of songs that we do, some are hers, some are mine,” Suzzy said of their concert repertoire. “And we do some covers we like to sing.”
Besides working with her sisters and daughter, Roche recorded two well-received solo albums, “Holy Smokes” (1997) and “Songs from an Unmarried Housewife and Mother, Greenwich Village, USA” (2000). The extended musical family also includes Loudon Wainwright III, Rufus Wainwright and Martha Wainwright.
Suzzy Roche talked by phone from her home in New York:
You’ve performed with family members frequently for most of your career.
We all just got back from Alaska, doing a whole family tour up there. Everybody likes to come together for that.
Tell us about “Wayward Saint,” both a novel and a song written by you.
I wrote the novel, and after it was over, I decided to write the song. Then I realized that with the song, I understood what the novel was about.
Are there similarities in writing a novel and writing a song?
They’re different flowers in the same garden. Sometimes you can write a song when you’re walking along the street. The novel is so much longer. But the processes for me come from the same place.
I never thought I could write a novel. But I just sat and spent the whole day doing it, like a job. I was shocked it was published.
Will you write another one?
I already have, but I can’t get it published because my first one didn’t sell.
The changes in publishing today are somewhat like the changes in the music business. You can skip the middleman and go directly to the readers or listeners.
The new model is that you make your own recordings and you own them yourself. You have something to sell at concerts. Record companies aren’t necessary. I think that’s a good thing. Of all the records I ever made, I never made a penny from them.
But the best possible thing is to be able to go out and tour and perform live. I feel so humbled and blessed to be able to do that.