A Musical Tribute to Kate McGarrigle

Kate McGarrigle<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/peewubblewoo">Peewubblewoo</a>/Flickr

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Various Artists
Sing Me the Songs: Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle
Nonesuch

Drawn from concerts in New York, London, and Toronto, and produced by Joe Boyd (also recently responsible for a terrific Nick Drake tribute), this exhilarating two-disc set commemorates the beloved Canadian singer-songwriter Kate McGarrigle, who died in 2010. Participants include her longtime musical partner, sister Anna McGarrigle, plus kids Rufus and Martha Wainwright and a gaggle of friends and fans, among them Norah Jones, Jimmy Fallon, Emmylou Harris, Linda Thompson, Richard Thompson, and Broken Social Scene.

But McGarrigle’s compositions are the main reason to listen. Tender, funny and reliably clear-eyed in her portrayal of grown-up relationships, she never let heartache get in the way of a great melody or compelling narrative. If “Kiss and Say Goodbye” or “I Cried for Us” doesn’t strike a nerve, then “Tell My Sister” or “Go Leave” surely will. While the final track, Kate’s home demo of “I Just Want to Make It Last,” provides a suitably poignant coda, don’t stop there: If you’re unfamiliar with the McGarrigle sisters’ albums, there’s a host of fine songs waiting to be discovered.

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