MiG Music 2022
Folk-rock royalty’s traveling show brings the Old World musical lore to the Weser shores to remind the continent of its lost past and the upstart present of a New World song.
Kate and Anna McGarrigle didn’t have to move to Nashville to become Canadian princesses of their chosen genre: hailing from Quebec and feeling quite familiar with American melodies, the sisters were able to harness European tradition as singers-songwriters too and turn into an internationally renown institution whose family members expanded the siblings’ tuneful universe – only the ladies’ 2005 tour proved to be their last one. There were sporadic appearances afterwards, but Kate’s untimely passing less than five years later prevented Anna from further recordings as well; that’s why any new document from the past has an immense value to the connoisseurs, and – given the ratio of the McGarrigles’ studio to on-stage platters amounts to ten to zero, the importance of “Tant Le Monde” is impossible to overestimate.
It reflects the repertoire Anna and Kate took on the road in the wake of 2003’s “La vache qui pleure” – their second French offering, the jovial balladry of the album’s title track getting a fresh layer of poignancy due to their train having hit a cow two nights before, thus causing a concert’s delay – yet, of course, this live report contains such heart-gripping classics as “Heart Like A Wheel” and “Mendocino” alongside tasty rarities like “Red Rocking Chair” and fresh numbers. However, while there’s no denying the cheer-to-sorrow attractiveness of “Petite Annonce Amoureuse” or “Ce Matin” which shimmer so alluringly, the ensemble start their performance with the life-affirming epic “Love Is” that was omitted from the original Radio Bremen broadcast to send soft, if solid, ripples across the ether waves now and bring to the fore the sentiment of the “Heartbeats Accelerating” LP – whence two other pieces arrive here: the deep-cutting “I Eat Dinner” and piano-encrusted “D.J. Serenade” – via the tremulous weave of the sisters’ voices.
Almost intimately enveloping the listener’s ears when vocal lines require no words, they can sound soothing as the half-spoken velveteen tones of “Matapedia” demonstrate, tenderly intense as illustrated by the bluesy “On Your Bond” from Blind Willie Johnson’s repertoire, where Joel Zifkin’s fiddle shines, or infectiously feisty as in “The Swimming Song” where acoustics are brilliantly rustic – even though the pining of “Goin’ Back To Harlan” will distill the same sonic flow to the purest romantic strands. The band go for the genuine Appalachia in “Green Rocky Road” and this link to the Western lore should reveal all the soul-salving scope of their love of folk and make “Tant Le Monde” extra special. A thing of historic value.