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The McGarrigle Christmas Hour

The McGarrigle Christmas Hour cover art

Track Listing

Click tracks with speaker icon to listen
1Seven Joys of Mary (Trad., arr. Kate & Anna McGarrigle)4:50
2Old Waits Carol (Trad., arr. Kate & Anna McGarrigle)2:34
3O Little Town of Bethlehem (P. Brooks / L. H. Redner)3:58
4Il est né / Ça bergers (Trad., arr. Kate and Anna McGarrigle)4:35
5What Are You Doing New Year's Eve (Frank Loesser)3:03
6Rebel Jesus (Jackson Browne)4:08
7Some Children See Him (W. Hutson / A. Burt)3:56
8Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (Martha Wainwright)4:05
9Counting Stars (Kate & Anna McGarrigle with I.V. Dow)3:20
10Spotlight on Christmas (listen to full-length track) (Rufus Wainwright)3:21
11Wise Men (Kate & Anna McGarrigle)4:02
12Port Starboard Sox (Kate McGarrigle, Anna McGarrigle, Dane Lanken, Pat Donalson)3:26
13God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Trad., arr. Kate & Anna McGarrigle)3:26
14Blue Christmas (B. Hayes / J. Johnson)3:36

News & Reviews

  • Kate McGarrigle Foundation Receives $50,000 from Sales of "Sing Me the Songs: Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle"

    The Kate McGarrigle Foundation—a non-profit organization dedicated to raising money in the fight against sarcoma, a rare form of cancer from which Canadian singer/songwriter Kate McGarrigle died in 2010, and to preserving her artistic legacy—has been presented with an initial contribution of $50,000 from sales of the album Sing Me the Songs: Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle. Released in 2013 on Nonesuch Records, Sing Me the Songs features highlights from three concerts held in honor of McGarrigle led by her children—the acclaimed musicians Rufus and Martha Wainwright—and her sister and musical partner Anna McGarrigle in London, Toronto, and New York.

  • Watch: Rufus Wainwright Performs at Kate McGarrigle Tribute at Hammer Museum

    Rufus Wainwright offered a short performance at a screening of Sing Me the Songs That Say I Love You, the film documenting a 2011 NYC tribute concert for his mother, the late Kate McGarrigle, at the Hammer Museum in LA last month. The 22-minute set included two Kate McGarrigle songs—"The Work Song" and "(Talk to Me of) Mendocino"—and more. Watch the complete set here. Nonesuch Records released Sing Me the Songs: Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle, a two-CD set of songs from the concert in the film and two others held in honor of the late singer-songwriter.

About this Album

“… [T]hese intertwining creative lives offer a realism rarely found in pop."—New York Times

Kate and Anna McGarrigle have been performing their brand of folk, French Canadian ballads, waltzes, ragtime, and contemporary pop songs for more than three decades. In November 2005, Nonesuch Records released The McGarrigle Christmas Hour, a collection of traditional and contemporary holiday songs. It is a celebration of family and friends; among the many contributors are Emmylou Harris, Anna’s daughter Lilly Lanken, and Kate’s children Martha and Rufus Wainwright. 

The 15 tracks on the album comprise a wide variety of holiday songs—Emmylou Harris sings “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and Kate and Anna, with their respective daughters Martha and Lily, harmonize the traditional French song “Il est né.” More modern tracks include Rufus’s original “Spotlight on Christmas” and his version of “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve,” as well as Martha and Lily’s rendition of Jackson Browne’s “Rebel Jesus.”

Kate and Anna McGarrigle’s work first came to international recognition in 1974 when Linda Ronstadt recorded “Heart Like a Wheel” as the title song to her album. Signed to Warner Bros., the sisters released the widely hailed Kate & Anna McGarrigle. The duo has released eleven albums over the course of their career, including 1998’s The McGarrigle Hour, which Entertainment Weekly called “a poignant meditation on the meaning of family and the power of shared history” and Rolling Stone described as “a highlight of Kate and Anna McGarrigle's amazing Brönte-folk career.” Their songs have been recorded by a variety of artists including Emmylou Harris, Judy Collins, and Joan Baez.


Kate McGarrigle, lead vocal (11, 12), vocal (9), voices (4), choir (1-3, 7, 12, 13), guitar (6, 13), classical guitar (11), piano (9), synth (12), accordion (4, 6)
Anna McGarrigle, vocal (9), voices (4), choir (1-3, 7, 11-13), piano (11), accordion (4, 9, 14), banjar (13)
Rufus Wainwright, lead vocal (7, 10), vocal (5), choir (1-3, 7, 13), acoustic guitar (10), piano (10), bells (10)
Martha Wainwright, lead vocal (7, 8), harmony vocal (10), voices (4, 6), acoustic guitar (8), percussion (1), bells (10)
Ruben Mahr, Jane Adams, Jack McKeever, Beth Orton, choir (1)
Emmylou Harris, lead vocal (3), choir (1)
Lily Lanken, harmony vocal (8, 14), voices (4, 6), choir (1-3, 7, 11, 13)
Dane Lanken, choir (1-3, 7, 13), trumpets (1)
Tom Mennier, choir (13), piano (3-8), organ (1), synth (11)
Jody Golick, choir (13), pennywhistle (1, 4, 6, 11, 13), tenor saxophone (7)
Brad Albetta, percussion (1)
Joel Zifkin, choir (13), guitar (11), violin (1, 4-7, 13, 14)
Jordi Rosen, choir (13)
Chaim Tannenbaum, lead vocal (14), harmony vocal (3), choir (3), guitar (14), mandolin (14)
Patrice Richer, Michael Wilson, tenor bone (3)
Trevor Dix, bass bone (3)
Sylvan Lanken, choir (3, 7)
Danielle Blonduc, choir (3, 7)
Campbell Hendery, choir (3)
Jane McGarrigle, choir (3), piano (14)
John McColgan, drums (4, 6, 11, 13)
Andrew Hall, bass (8)
George Javon, drums and bells (8)
Duke McVinnie, David Mansfield, electric guitar (8)
Ian Vincenzo Dow, recitative (9)
Teddy Thompson, harmony vocal (10), electric guitar (10), bells (10)
Matt Johnson, drums (10)
Michel Pépin, bass (11), dobro (14), “premier” guitar (14)
Pat Donaldson, choir (12)
Eloi Painchaud, guitar (12)
Pierre Marchand, bass (12), drums (12), flutes (12)


Produced by Kate & Anna McGarrigle
The songs were recorded at these locations by the following people:
Maison Radio–Canada, Montréal, QC, by Frank Opolko and Pierre Plant
Globe Studio, New York, NY, by Tom Schick
Studio Frission, Montréal, QC, by Michel Pépin and Don Murnahan
Church of the Advent, Montréal, QC, by Rob Heaney
Natural Source Studio, St, Sauveur and Montréal, QC, by Borza Ghomeshi and Marc-André Bellefleur
Monkey Boy Studio, New York, NY, by Brad Albetta and Brian Fulk
Pierre Marchand’s studio in Mille-Isles, QC, by Pierre Marchand
Sorcerer Sound, New York, NY, by Tom Conklin
Sound Emporium, Nashville, TN, by Matt Andrews
Le beau coté, Alexandia, ON, by Pat Donaldson
Thorsten Laewe’s studio, Los Angeles, CA, by Thorsten Laewe and Greg Prestopino
Tracks 1, 14 mixed by Borza Ghomeshi
Tracks 2, 3, 6, 7, 12 mixed by Pierre Marchand
Tracks 5, 11, 13 mixed by Frank Opolko
Track 8 produced by Nicholas Hill
Track 9 vocal produced by Greg Prestopino, mixed by Thorsten Laewe and Greg Prestopino
Track 10 produced by Rufus Wainwright, mixed by Tom Schick
Horn and piano arrangement on track 3 by Tom Mennier
Mastered by Robert C. Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, ME
Rufus Wainwright appears courtesy of Geffen Records
Martha Wainwright appears courtesy of Zoë/Rounder Records
Beth Orton appears courtesy of EMI Records Ltd/Astralwerks

Design by Barbara deWilde
Cover photograph by Howard Kingsnorth / Getty Images

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