The McGarrigle Christmas Hour

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Klinge
Imagine the McGarrigle household around Christmas: With veteran folkies Kate and Anna McGarrigle as the matriarchs of a clan that includes Kate's kids, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Anna's daughter, Lilly Lanken, and an extended family that includes Emmylou Harris, it must be a magical experience when they gather to sing carols and tell stories. The McGarrigle Family Christmas Hour allows us to become honorary guests at the family Christmas party. As in 1998's charming The McGarrigle Hour, family members trade leads and collaborate in varying permutations, this time singing traditional carols, original seasonal tunes, and other holiday fare. After the full-family ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Klinge
Imagine the McGarrigle household around Christmas: With veteran folkies Kate and Anna McGarrigle as the matriarchs of a clan that includes Kate's kids, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Anna's daughter, Lilly Lanken, and an extended family that includes Emmylou Harris, it must be a magical experience when they gather to sing carols and tell stories. The McGarrigle Family Christmas Hour allows us to become honorary guests at the family Christmas party. As in 1998's charming The McGarrigle Hour, family members trade leads and collaborate in varying permutations, this time singing traditional carols, original seasonal tunes, and other holiday fare. After the full-family chorales of “Seven Joys of Mary” and “Old Waits Carol,” Harris takes the lead for a haunting “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and from there, everyone takes turns in the spotlight. The elder McGarrigles anchor the proceedings, often providing backing on acoustic guitar, accordion, piano, and other instruments, and they helm the French carols “Il Est Né/Ça Bergers” and the originals “Port Starboard Sox” and “Wise Men.” Rufus sings his own satiric “Spotlight on Christmas” and the classic “What Are You Doing New Year's Eve,” and he duets with his sister Martha on “Some Children See Him.” Martha contributes a typically acerbic original, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” and duets with cousin Lilly on Jackson Browne's “Rebel Jesus.” Convivial, charming, and understated, The McGarrigle Family Christmas Hour lasts just over 52 minutes, but what's a few minutes among friends? It's a treat just to be invited.
All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Seven years after the release of their 1998 album The McGarrigle Hour, Kate & Anna McGarrigle have crafted a holiday album in much the same manner, which means they've brought together members of their family including Kate's children Rufus Wainwright and Martha Wainwright, both of whom have been enjoying successful solo careers, longtime collaborators such as Chaim Tannenbaum, and talented friends among them Emmylou Harris and Teddy Thompson for a collection of Christmas songs. Much like The McGarrigle Hour, The McGarrigle Christmas Hour is short on new compositions from Kate and Anna just three songs, though Rufus and Martha each bring in a new tune of their own, and given the wealth of guests, it seems curious that the McGarrigles, among the most gifted singers and songwriters extant, have chosen to make themselves mere supporting players on their own album. There are three selections on which they don't appear at all. But while certain passionate fans may quibble, this is still an ambitious and impressively diverse set of holiday songs, ranging from the pure-voiced piety of "Seven Joys of Mary" to the seductive yuletide romance of "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve" and a well-mannered but passionate cover of Jackson Browne's "The Rebel Jesus." Rufus and Martha's contributions rank with the better moments from their own records, Emmylou Harris's version of "O Little Town Of Bethlehem" is lovely as is Chaim Tannenbaum's "Blue Christmas", and on the rare moments when Kate & Anna McGarrigle do step to the forefront, their harmonies are as strikingly beautiful as ever and "Wise Men" and " Port Starboard Sox" show they're still superb songwriters. The McGarrigle Christmas Hour isn't the new McGarrigle sisters album we've been waiting for, but it isn't a holiday-themed throwaway either, and for that we can all be grateful.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/1/2005
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • UPC: 075597992526
  • Catalog Number: 79925

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Kate & Anna McGarrigle Primary Artist
Emmylou Harris Vocals, Choir, Chorus
Pat Donaldson Choir, Chorus
Dane Lanken Trumpet, Choir, Chorus
David Mansfield Violin
Pierre Marchand Bass, Flute, Drums
Janie McGarrigle Piano, Choir, Chorus
Anna McGarrigle Synthesizer, Piano, Accordion, Vocals, Voices, Choir, Chorus, Banjar
Duke McVinnie Electric Guitar
Chaim Tannenbaum Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals, Choir, Chorus, Vocal Harmony
Joel Zifkin Guitar, Violin, Choir, Chorus
Beth Orton Choir, Chorus
Kate McGarrigle Guitar, Piano, Accordion, Vocals, Voices, Choir, Chorus, Classical Guitar
Martha Wainwright Acoustic Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Voices, Choir, Chorus, Bells, Vocal Harmony
Rufus Wainwright Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Vocals, Choir, Chorus, Bells
Michel Pepin Bass, Dobro, Guitar
Jody Golick Tenor Saxophone, Choir, Chorus, Penny Whistle
Jacquelyn McKeever Choir, Chorus
Brad Albetta Percussion
Janel Adams Choir, Chorus
George Javori Drums, Bells
John McColgan Drums
Teddy Thompson Electric Guitar, Bells, Vocal Harmony
Andrew Hall Bass
Michael Wilson Tenor Trombone
Trevor Dix Bass Trombone
Lily Lanken Voices, Choir, Chorus, Vocal Harmony
Matt Johnson Drums
Tom Mennier Organ, Synthesizer, Piano, Choir, Chorus
Jordi Rosen Choir, Chorus
Danielle Bolduc Choir, Chorus
Ian Vincenzo Dow Recitation
Campbell Hendrey Choir, Chorus
Sylvan Lanken Choir, Chorus
Ruben Mahr Choir, Chorus
Éloi Painchaud Guitar
Partice Richer Tenor Trombone
Technical Credits
Jackson Browne Composer
Frank Loesser Composer
Pat Donaldson Composer, Engineer
Nicholas Hill Producer
Dane Lanken Composer
Pierre Marchand Engineer
Anna McGarrigle Arranger, Composer, Producer
Frank Opolko Engineer
Greg Prestopino Engineer, Vocal Producer
Kate McGarrigle Arranger, Composer, Producer
Martha Wainwright Composer
Rufus Wainwright Composer, Producer
Tom Schick Engineer
Michel Pepin Engineer
Robert C. Ludwig Mastering
Rob Heaney Engineer
Brian Fulk Engineer
Brad Albetta Engineer
Matt Andrews Engineer
Don Murnaghan Engineer
Pierre Plante Engineer
Traditional Composer
Borza Ghomeshi Engineer
Tom Mennier Horn Arrangements, Piano Arrangement
Robert Edridge Waks Editorial Coordinator
Vinnie Dow Contributor
Marc André Bellefluer Engineer
Ian Vincenzo Dow Composer
Howard Kingsnorth Cover Photo
Alfred S. Burt Composer
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