Martha Wainwright’s “Traveller”: A Tribute to Her Mother, Kate Mcgarrigle

This is essentially a Mother’s Day post, although I must admit that it is also a misinterpretation.  I discovered only yesterday (on a Stingray interview) that
“Traveller” (from 2016’s Goodnight City album) is a song Martha wrote in response to the death of Thomas Bartlett’s brother, Ezra, from cancer at the age of forty in 2014 (Thomas co-produced and played piano on Goodnight City). I’ll include the interview as the first comment. It certainly changed the way I looked at the song.  I had always thought “Traveller” was about her Mother, Kate Mcgarrigle, who died of cancer in 2009, and certainly many of the lyrics would seem to apply quite well to her tragically early passing.  So well, in fact, that I am going to put it up as it is (I made the video-slideshow a couple of weeks ago), while acknowledging that it is in fact built upon a false premise. To me it seems okay to do this simply because the song speaks so eloquently to anyone who has lost someone in an untimely manner, but especially to cancer (which the song mentions). Ultimately, it may not be the most appropriate Mother’s Day post, but it feels right, and seems a fitting tribute to both Ezra Bartlett and Kate..

Leave a Reply