Rufus and Martha Wainwright bring “Noel Nights” to The Ryman 12/18–12/19

PHOTOS: BENOIT ROUSSEAU | Rufus Wainwright and Martha Wainwright’s Christmas show, “Noel Nights” was inspired by Kate McGarrigle, Rufus and Martha’s late mother. It has been a family tradition since 2005 when Kate and Anna McGarrigle released their classic album, The McGarrigle Christmas Hour.

Kate turned the seasonal show into a benefit after she was diagnosed with sarcoma (a rare cancer with underfunded research) in 2006. After Kate’s death in 2010, the family revived the annual benefit Christmas show tradition. This year “Nashville Noel Nights” will benefit the Kate McGarrigle Foundation and the Epilepsy Foundation of Tennessee. Featuring three generations of the Wainwright and McGarrigle families along with Emmylou Harris and friends, this holiday masterpiece will bring the seasonal spirit to Ryman Auditorium, December 18 and 19, 2016.

Nashville and The Ryman Auditorium hold special memories for Rufus. “I have enjoyed playing Nashville for years because of my very personal relationship with Emmylou Harris who I have known since I was a child,” he reflects. “And certainly now that my mother Kate McGarrigle has passed away, going to sing with her in her beautiful city is kind of like going home a little bit.”

“I did have this strange vision the last time I played the Ryman that the Christmas shows had to come to that theater. It was sort of the first thought that struck me while I was doing my own concert. It was almost like the ghosts of country music beckoning me forward to sing Christmas songs on that stage. I believe it’s meant to be. It’s important to support the islands of blue and the seas of red.”

After taking the show to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Montreal, these concerts will mark the Nashville debut of “Noel Nights.” Along with the Wainwrights and Emmylou, Alison Krauss, Karen Elson, Kennedy Rose, and Jamey Johnson will perform, all backed by an ace Nashville band. It is certain to be a moving, memorable, and highly entertaining program.

On Friday, December 16th, at 11:30am CST, Rufus will appear on Acme Radio’s The Vinyl Lunch, Tim Hibbs’ weekday radio show dedicated to music and a passion for vinyl. Rufus will discuss “Noel Nights” and also spin selections from some of his favorite LPs. Expect the playlist to range from opera to jazz to new wave and beyond—all genres and all decades are fair game! You can listen to the show worldwide at or via the TuneIn app.

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