Anna McGarrigle to Appear on NPR's "Fresh Air"; "Tell My Sister" Earns Five Stars in Financial Times
Anna McGarrigle will be the guest on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross today. On the show, the Canadian singer/songwriter discusses her relationship with her sister Kate, who died of sarcoma last year at the age of 63, and the music they made together.
She tells Gross that it took some months after Kate's death before she could listen to the records they had made together. "And then I had to do a lot of listening to things and I thought, 'I'm just going to grit my teeth and do this.' But every now and then, I heard her sing something and sometimes it would be so unexpected ... I'd break out in tears." Read more about the interview and listen online later this afternoon at npr.org.
Nonesuch Records released Tell My Sister, a three-disc set comprising remastered versions of Kate & Anna McGarrigle's beloved 1976 self-titled debut; its equally praised 1977 follow-up, Dancer with Bruised Knees; and a collection of previously unreleased songs, including solo and duo demos, last week. Joe Boyd, who produced the McGarrigles’ first two albums, assembled the material for the third disc in addition to serving as producer for the whole set. The Financial Times gives the album a perfect five stars. Reviewer David Honigmann describes the first two albums as "indispensible" and the third disc "the real highlight" here. "Lovingly polished by Joe Boyd, these show Kate and Anna at their best: uncluttered, unaffected, rich harmonies and clear songwriting shining through." Read more at ft.com.
The release coincides with a two-night tribute to Kate McGarrigle at New York City’s Town Hall tomorrow and Friday night. Curated by Boyd, the concerts will feature performances by Kate’s children, Martha and Rufus Wainwright, and her sister Anna, as well as Emmylou Harris, Antony Hegarty, Norah Jones, and Teddy Thompson, among others. Profits from the concerts will go toward creating the Kate McGarrigle Sarcoma Research Fund.
New York Times music critic Nate Chinen, in a preview of the concerts, says Kate "was adept at a specific kind of translation: bending traditional folk styles, from her native Quebec and beyond, toward a contemporary and deeply personal expression." The New Yorker, in its concert preview, describes "Go Leave," off the debut album, as "as raw, honest, and beautiful a folk composition as has ever been recorded."
All Music describes Kate and Anna McGarrigle's relationship as "one of the more remarkable partnerships in contemporary music." The sisters, writes reviewer Mark Deming, "were both gifted songwriters who created gentle but emotionally powerful melodies and lyrics that were witty, clever, pithy, and honest without losing their awe for life's mysteries. But just as importantly, the McGarrigle Sisters harmonized with a rare beauty that added new colors to any song they sang; their sad songs drew an extra tear through their voices, and the jokes gained a new twist in their telling."
In a review of the new collection, Deming says the self-titled debut "comes remarkably close to being a perfect album" and that "the craft is every bit as strong" on Dancer with Bruised Kneeds, "a wonderful set of tunes that improves with repeated play."
Read more at allmusic.com.
MusicOMH gives the collection four stars. "Tell My Sister is a lovingly presented collection and a strong argument for raising the profile of the McGarrigles within the songwriting pantheon," says reviewer Daniel Paton. "It's a fantastic introduction to their work."
To pick up a copy of Tell My Sister, head to the Nonesuch Store, where orders include high-quality, 320 kbps MP3s of the complete set at checkout.