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Emily Gordon writes:

I should have known Hendrik Hertzberg would be a Kate McGarrigle fan, and here is his heartfelt, ardent tribute to her. I heard about her death on Jonathan Schwartz’s timeless, dreamlike radio show last weekend and have had her songs caught in my head, even more than usual, since then. “And it’s only love, and it’s only love,/That can wreck a human being and turn him inside out.”

Hertzberg wrote this (and more—read all of it) as a Carnegie Hall program note for a McGarrigle Christmas show, and I think it’s just right:
The songs and singing of the McGarrigles have turned out to be a font of consolation: a pool of sweetness, a well of sadness, a geyser of exaltation. They have music to suit every stage of love and life. And they are the muses and matriarchs of an extraordinary family circle—a raffish orchestra of parents, siblings, offspring, exes, friends, and collaborators. We, their fans, are part of this circle, too. There are enough of us to assure our uncompromising heroines of a livelihood, but not so many that we risk the loneliness of a crowd.
Every stage of love and life—including this one, the unreal, suspended sadness of hearing one of your favorite voices on the radio and in your thoughts, and knowing the breath and mind behind that voice are gone.


Hertzberg also wrote movingly about Loudon Wainwright and fatherhood on newyorker.com some months ago.

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