Darlin' Kate

Album: Hard Bargain (2011)

Songfacts®:

  • Two of the songs on American country-folk singer-songwriter Emmylou Harris' 22nd 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."

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