Singers/songwriters Kate and Anna McGarrigle have performed to critical and popular acclaim throughout North America, Europe, and the Far East for three decades. Their albums have earned record of the year awards from Melody Maker, Stereo Review, and The New York Times, among others. Their songs have been widely recorded by other artists, including Linda Ronstadt, Judy Collins, Emmylou Harris, and Nana Mouskouri.
Kate and Anna were born in Montreal of mixed English- and French-Canadian background, and grew up in the Laurentian Mountains village of Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts, Québec. They took piano lessons from the village nuns, and family singing sessions around the living room piano were a regular occurrence.
In the 1960s, Kate studied engineering at McGill University, and Anna painting at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Montreal. At the same time, they became stars on the city's folk music scene, and soon began to compose their own songs. When some of these songs found their way into the repertoires of established artists, Kate and Anna were invited to record their own album, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, for Warner Bros. The elegance of their vocal harmonies, and the variety and originality of their music, delighted critics and fans alike, and the album earned international praise.
-Mark Deming, AMG
Debut albums simply aren't supposed to be as accomplished and beautifully crafted as Kate & Anna McGarrigle's first record, which is as lovely and superbly realized as folk-rock gets. While producers Joe Boyd and Greg Prestopino assembled an all-star crew to back up the McGarrigle sisters (including Lowell George, Tony Levin, Steve Gadd, and Bobby Keys), nothing steals the spotlight away from Kate and Anna, both of whom sing with a pure clarity that's never so pretty it fails to reflect the real world, harmonize with an uncanny grace, and write songs that are clever, witty, wise, and often deeply moving. Lots of folkies have written movingly about the troubling ties of home (as in "My Town" and "Talk to Me of Mendocino"), a good number have sung about the ache of a broken heart (like in "Heart Like a Wheel," famously covered by Linda Ronstadt), some can communicate bitter resignation or sly, sarcastic wit ("Go Leave" and "Jigsaw Puzzle of Life"), and no more than a few can express the joys of grown-up eros ("Kiss and Say Goodbye"). Kate & Anna McGarrigle is a record that manages to make all these emotions ring true, and never with one canceling out another. Quite simply a nearly perfect record, and if you're not a fan, repeated listenings to this album might make you one.
Produced by Greg Prestopino and Joe Boyd
Engineered by John Wood
Mixed by Dennis Dragon, John Wood, and Roger Mayer