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Album: Hard BargainReleased: 2011
Two of the songs on American country-folk singer-songwriter Emmylou Harris' twenty second major label studio album, Hard Bargain, look back at her time with friends. Whilst "The Road" remembers her relationship with country rock legend Gram Parsons, "Darlin' Kate" is a tribute to Emmylou's friend, the late singer-songwriter Kate McGarrigle who died of a rare form of cancer in 2010. "Kate was such a force of nature, so bright, so funny," Harris recalled to UK newspaper The Independent. "I never had a sister and really that's how I thought of her. When she died, everyone was gathered around her at her bedside, and my song is just a farewell letter. I did hold her hand and I did kiss her brow..."
Kate McGarrigle's singer-songwriter son, Rufus Wainwright, has written several songs about his mother's tragic death including "Martha
" and "Zebulon
Harris penned the song in the aftermath of losing her friend. She told Spinner UK: "I didn't set out to write it. I was fresh off experiencing Kate's passing and her funeral, and I was just dealing with her absence. I was in a writing mode, when I picked up the guitar, the opening line just fell out. It's really just a farewell letter. We all miss her and we grieve in our own way."