Live at Harrogate Theatre on Saturday, 21st July 2007
Kate Rusby is Yorkshire's best folk singer taking traditional songs making them her own as well as using them as inspirational points for writing evoking a Yorkshire folk spirit that is not likely to ever die. Tonight there is a magic in the air as Kate opens her book of folklore with the simplest gesture by raising her cup of tea and saying 'y'allright?' before playing the first chord. This may not seem much but it is artists like Kate who make you proud to be form Yorkshire and involve din the traditions of this great county.
Kate brings a simple backing band consisting of several multi-instrumentalist playing folk instruments like the tin whistle and the accordion. The band even themselves get a chance to showcase their talent with a number composed by the fiddle player. Kate is keen to make sure everyone enjoys the experience and insists that we all participate in a sing-a-long for 'Let me be' for which she explains the song is about a woman who refuses to court any man and turns down presents by throwing them back, and these presents were animals then she reassured us that no animals were harmed in the singing of this song.
Dowsed in tradition Kate does not hold back playing her favourite folk classics and songs like Mary Blaize which is based on a Yorkshire Nonsense Rhyme. She plays a variety of other traditional folk tunes which have been made famous by the likes of the Dubliners on a mainstream level.
Folk seems to be the under-appreciated genre of music that is merely seen as a traditionalist art and stuck in the Stone Age but it is too important to be seen in this light. The lack of youth in the audience is noticeable and those young people there seemed to have been bought under duress but eventually succumb to the relaxing tones of folk.
Playing the majority of classic folk songs over Kate's 5 or so albums the audience can map out her growth as a singer/songwriter/arranger. The new material is wheeled out as an apology as this concert was originally going to be in April but was cancelled due to Kate having a throat infection, and it does not disappoint with its triplet jig feel not a foot in the theatre can keep still and a mass clap along ensures at least 300 copies of her new album being sold.
Finishing the night with two encores first the beautiful 'Underneath the stars' accompanied by cheesy star lights on the backdrop and the finale 'Drowned Lovers' which even though sounds melancholy sets visions of sitting by the fire in your Yorkshire cottage drinking a cup of hot chocolate. So if you haven't heard Kate Rusby please do, forget the song with Ronan Keating which detracts the real sound of folk from her.