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Album Review

Hourglass, her 1998 debut, was a huge hit in her native Britain, and with good reason: her voice is a sweet but slightly rough mezzo, she sings and plays guitar with equal plainspoken skill, and she picks great songs. So you can't blame her for sticking with a winning strategy on her follow-up. With the help of young producer and fiddler John McCusker (of the Battlefield Band), Rusby serves up a generous program of minimally arranged traditional songs, as well as a few originals; there are more guest musicians this time out, including American folkies Tim O'Brien and Darrell Scott, but they never clutter the sound or pull the focus away from Rusby's gentle Yorkshire-tinted singing. There's also an Iris DeMent cover, a version of the sweetly affecting "Our Town"-a song whose distinctly middle American overtones don't necessarily ring completely true in this context. But "Botany Bay" certainly does, and so does "The Fairest of All Yarrow," and if on "The Cobbler's Daughter" Rusby drops grisly details with a disquietingly off-hand grace, well, welcome to the wonderful world of traditional music. Highly recommended.

Customer Reviews

A certain beauty

Folk music may not be everyone's cup of tea but this album really is a stand-out. Mercury Award nominated in its day, there is a refreshing simplicity and honesty to the presentation of the music. Kate Rusby's voice is clear and crisp, and truly sings to you. Highlights for me are "I wonder what is keeping my true love tonight" and "Our town". If you enjoy acoustic music in any form, I'd recommend giving this album a serious listen.

A 'must have'

This is British folk music at it's best. Kate Rusby sings with a depth and range that belies her age - her (strong) yorkshire accent allows the songs to arrive with an authenticity missing in these days of packaged folk and guitar performers. Whether you arrive here from her duet with Ronan Keating or not - this is essential listening - try The Cobbler's Daughter first - you'll be hooked!

Timeless not sleepless

Kate Rusby has almost single handedly popularised folk music with her supreme talent, song choice and hypnotic singing voice which is so lucid and pure that it stands head and shoulders above most female artists in all musical genres. This earlier album shows her comming of age using old ballads as the basis for songs of 'Olde England' and 'Life under the Mast'. Such as 'The Wild Goose' and 'The Fairest of all Yarrow'. A number of the songs feature in the Damien O'Donnell film 'Heartlands', which features Kate singing live and the principal character being left dumbstuck as I have been by this sublime talent. It grows on you like a contented smile. Go buy now before everyone finds out . Carry on Kate


Born: 01 December 1973 in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, Englan

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Folk singer/songwriter Kate Rusby has lived in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, since birth, and grew up in a musical family. Her parents had a ceilidh dance band and introduced her to British folk at an early age. Along with her sister, Emma, Rusby joined the band, singing backup and playing the fiddle. By the time she was 12, Rusby also sang lead and played guitar. At 15, she debuted at the Holmfirth Festival, and was introduced to another young folk singer, Kathryn Roberts; after playing together live...
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