Personnel: Kate & Anna McGarrigle; Kate McGarrigle (vocals, guitar, classical guitar, accordion, piano); Anna McGarrigle (vocals, accordion, piano, synthesizer); loi Painchaud (guitar); Teddy Thompson (electric guitar, bells); Duke McVinnie (electric guitar); David Mansfield (violin); Pierre Marchand (flute, drums); Michael Wilson , Partice Richer (tenor trombone); Trevor Dix (bass trombone); George Javori (drums, bells); Matt Johnson , John McColgan (drums); Brad Albetta (percussion); Chaim Tannenbaum (vocals, guitar, mandolin); Rufus Wainwright (vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, bells); Martha Wainwright (vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion, bells); Emmylou Harris (vocals); Michel Pepin (guitar, dobro); Joel Zifkin (guitar, violin); Jody Golick (pennywhistle, tenor saxophone); Dane Lanken (trumpet); Tom Mennier (piano, organ, synthesizer); Janie McGarrigle (piano); Greg Prestopino, Pat Donaldson, Beth Orton, Lily Lanken, Sylvan Lanken, Jordi Rosen, Vinnie Dow, Ruben Mahr, Jane Adams, Jack McKeever, Danielle Bolduc, Campbell Hendrey.
Audio Mixers: Greg Prestopino; Borza Ghomeshi; Frank Opolko; Pierre Marchand; Tom Schick.
Recording information: Church Of The Advent, Montreal, GC; Globe Studio, New York, NY; Le Beau Cote, Alexandra, Ontario, Canada; Maison Radio, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Monkey Boy Studio, New York, NY; Natural Source Studio, St. Sauveur, Montreal, GC; Pierre Marchand's Studio, Mille-Isles, Quebec, Canada; Sorcerer SOund, New York, NY; Sound Emporium, Nashville, TN; Studio Frisson, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Thorsten Laewe's Studio, Los Angeles, CA.
Unknown Contributor Role: Vinnie Dow.
Arrangers: Kate McGarrigle; Anna McGarrigle.
A jubilant, folk-tinged gathering of family and friends, Kate and Anna McGarrigle's CHRISTMAS HOUR finds the Canadian sisters performing with Rufus and Martha Wainwright (Kate's children), Lily and Dane Lanken (Anna's daughter and husband, respectively), and other notable guests, including Emmylou Harris and Beth Orton. Here the McGarrigles have created a relaxed, friendly holiday atmosphere, a setting where Harris sits in on a beautiful rendition of "O Little Town of Bethlehem," Rufus Wainwright leads his own charming "Spotlight on Christmas," and Martha Wainwright wishes everyone "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year." This festive set also features several sing-alongs, including stately versions of "Seven Joys of Mary" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen."
Entertainment Weekly (p.80) - "It's a family affair....The hushed chamber feel keeps up..." -- Grade: A-
Uncut (p.105) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Emmylou Harris contributes a solemn 'O Little Town Of Bethlehem' to a broad mix of classic and contemporary holiday songs."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.118) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Irish whistle and little drummer boy snare give 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' a rosy trad glow, but Martha's 'Merry Christmas And Happy New Year' is edgier, its stocking filled with homesickness and angst."