Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kate McGarrigle 1946-2010

One of Janice's very favorite recording artists died this Monday. Although she and Janice never met formally, we did have the great pleasure of seeing her perform with her sister Anna at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. Linda Ronstadt describes what it was like to see the McGarrigle sisters in today's LA Times obituary, which you can read here:,0,2618111.story

I can not help but be struck by the similarities between Janice and Kate. The were the same age, they both died of rare forms of cancer, they were both highly regarded artists that never found huge widespread fame, nor cared to aggressively pursue it.

I can't say enough good things about Kate's music. I can tell you that from the time Heartbeats Accelerating came out in 1990 until the day she died, this album never was too far from Janice's CD player. I posted the following tribute to Kate on her website ( last night. My comment is number 281, and I reprise it here for you.

I am sure that Janice has already begun to show Kate the ropes in heaven, and that they two of them have an awful lot to catch up on.

Dear Anna and family-

I was very saddened to hear the news of Kate’s passing today. I have
followed your work since the 70’s, and my wife and I were both big fans.
Living in Southern California seemed to mean that live appearances by you
were few and far between in our neck of the woods, but I still remember very
fondly the night we saw you at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano back
in 1990. It still remains one of my very favorite concert experiences.

Kate’s passing has an additional personal significance for me. I lost my
beautiful wife of 27 years back in September, also from an uncommon form of
cancer. Like Kate, she was born in 1946, was a mother, a wife and a
grandmother. She was also an incredibly talented artist, although her chosen
field was painting and assemblage as opposed to music. Her journals (all 126
of them) reside in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution.
You can see her work out at

She and Kate were both taken from us far too soon, and leave large gaping
holes in two very remarkable families. My deepest sympathy and very best
wishes go out to all of you. I feel your pain very much.

A grateful fan,