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Awkward Annie

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Album Review

It's both more of the same and all change for Kate Rusby on her new album: more of the same because she brings the same intimacy and warm voice to the proceedings, and a clutch of good songs, superbly arranged and performed; all change because she produced the disc herself, following a split with husband John McCusker (who's here as a musician on some cuts), and because there's a slightly greater percentage of her own material in among the traditional fare. There's a definite sense of loss in her own songs, not only in the title track and "Bitter Boy" but also the gorgeous "Daughter of Heaven," that speaks of a tumultuous few years in her personal life. Her writing has improved, with a sharpness and reflection that suit her style well. But many come to Rusby for her interpretations of traditional songs, and she doesn't disappoint here: "John Barbury" is a lovely variant on "Willie O'Winsbury," and "Blooming Heather," "The Streams of Lovely Nancy," and "Andrew Lammie" don't disappoint. But everything is excellent, and even the air of melancholy that pervades much of the album doesn't alter the quality. However, it all ends on a much brighter note with a cover of the Kinks' "The Village Green Preservation Society," which was used as the theme for a British sitcom. It's a loving, sprightly homage, about the closest to rock that Rusby has ever come (and that isn't too close), as well as a reminder of how acute a writer Ray Davies could be. It's hard to tell if this is the closing of an old chapter or the beginning of a new one, but there's a definite sense of transition.

Biography

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...
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Awkward Annie, Kate Rusby
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