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NY Times: McGarrigle Christmas Hour "A Celebration of Extended Family, Intermingling of Musical Dynasties"

  • Friday, December 12, 2008
    NY Times: McGarrigle Christmas Hour "A Celebration of Extended Family, Intermingling of Musical Dynasties"

    The McGarrigle Christmas Hour brought more than a little holiday cheer and flair to Carnegie Hall's hallowed Stern Auditorium on Wednesday night. It was a family affair, with Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Kate's children Rufus and Martha Wainwright, their aunt Sloan Wainwright, and many other extended family members by marriage, birth, and longtime friendships, including Emmylou Harris, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Justin Bond, Jimmy Fallon, Teddy and Kami Thompson, and many others.

    The concert, now a regular holiday tradition, drew its repertoire from the 2005 Nonesuch release of the same name, along with a number of new additions and very different sorts of Christmas classics, from Kami Thompson's cover of Wham's "Last Christmas" to Martha's take on The Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping," and powerful new pieces from Rufus, Justin Bond, and Laurie Anderson.

    New York Times music critic Stephen Holden calls it "a celebration of extended family and the intermingling of musical dynasties" and further describes it this way:

    Although the program still includes the kind of pristine, ancient-sounding French carols performed by the sisters that used to dominate the show, the younger city folk have added a new flavor. An imaginary cabin in the Canadian woods on a frigid, snowy night, where the crackling of logs mingles with the sounds of homespun voices gathered around an old upright is no longer the only location to which you are transported.

    He goes on to describe some of his own favorites of the evening:

    Mr. Thompson, a great folk-pop singer, performing his original song “Christmas”; Mr. Reed droning a deadpan “Blue Christmas”; Mr. Wainwright and Mr. Bond giving “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” the full Judy Garland treatment; Martha Wainwright’s seriocomic take on “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”; Jimmy Fallon’s parodies of Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie singing “Jingle Bells”; Emmylou Harris leading “O Little Town of Bethlehem”; and Ms. Anderson’s monologue, which included her sardonic reflection on humanity’s relation to the stars: “We can’t hurt them.”

    You can read the full concert review along with video coverage of the show with behind-the-scenes chats with Emmylou, Rufus, Martha, Kate and Anna, and two rather well-known fans from the audience, Mark Ronson and Sean Lennon, at nytimes.com. Listen to clips from the album here.

on December 12, 2008 - 11:06am
Excerpt: 

The McGarrigle Christmas Hour brought more than a little holiday cheer and flair to Carnegie Hall's hallowed Stern Auditorium on Wednesday night. It was a family affair, with Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Kate's children Rufus and Martha Wainwright, their aunt Sloan Wainwright, and many other extended family members by marriage, birth, and longtime friendships, including Emmylou Harris, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Justin Bond, and Jimmy Fallon. The New York Times writes: "Although the program still includes the kind of pristine, ancient-sounding French carols performed by the sisters that used to dominate the show, the younger city folk have added a new flavor."

Copy: 

The McGarrigle Christmas Hour brought more than a little holiday cheer and flair to Carnegie Hall's hallowed Stern Auditorium on Wednesday night. It was a family affair, with Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Kate's children Rufus and Martha Wainwright, their aunt Sloan Wainwright, and many other extended family members by marriage, birth, and longtime friendships, including Emmylou Harris, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Justin Bond, Jimmy Fallon, Teddy and Kami Thompson, and many others.

The concert, now a regular holiday tradition, drew its repertoire from the 2005 Nonesuch release of the same name, along with a number of new additions and very different sorts of Christmas classics, from Kami Thompson's cover of Wham's "Last Christmas" to Martha's take on The Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping," and powerful new pieces from Rufus, Justin Bond, and Laurie Anderson.

New York Times music critic Stephen Holden calls it "a celebration of extended family and the intermingling of musical dynasties" and further describes it this way:

Although the program still includes the kind of pristine, ancient-sounding French carols performed by the sisters that used to dominate the show, the younger city folk have added a new flavor. An imaginary cabin in the Canadian woods on a frigid, snowy night, where the crackling of logs mingles with the sounds of homespun voices gathered around an old upright is no longer the only location to which you are transported.

He goes on to describe some of his own favorites of the evening:

Mr. Thompson, a great folk-pop singer, performing his original song “Christmas”; Mr. Reed droning a deadpan “Blue Christmas”; Mr. Wainwright and Mr. Bond giving “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” the full Judy Garland treatment; Martha Wainwright’s seriocomic take on “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”; Jimmy Fallon’s parodies of Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie singing “Jingle Bells”; Emmylou Harris leading “O Little Town of Bethlehem”; and Ms. Anderson’s monologue, which included her sardonic reflection on humanity’s relation to the stars: “We can’t hurt them.”

You can read the full concert review along with video coverage of the show with behind-the-scenes chats with Emmylou, Rufus, Martha, Kate and Anna, and two rather well-known fans from the audience, Mark Ronson and Sean Lennon, at nytimes.com. Listen to clips from the album here.

Publish date: 
Friday, December 12, 2008 - 10:00
Article Type: 
featuredimage: 
Kate & Anna McGarrigle, "The McGarrigle Christmas Hour" [cover]

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