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In a world where pop music is so often filled with insincere lyrics and unoriginal melodies, Kate Rusby brings old music to life in the musical world. Characterized as a folk singer, Rusby melds her own original work with improved tunes and lyrics from olden times. Her unashamed respect for the traditional is displayed in the beautiful hummable melodies and simplistic yet heartfelt lyrics of her music. What Jane Austen is to literary lovers, Kate Rusby is to those who appreciate beautiful music. Her music is comfortable, old-fashioned, and calming. Guitar and fiddle music combine for a musical feast. There are sad, heartbreaking songs of lost love as well as upbeat, cheerful tunes. The music brings with it visions of English country meadows, a taste of the old renewed. Acoustic and mellow though this music may be, yet the diversities which are found in life are also found in these songs.

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Hourglass (1997) is Kate Rusby’s first solo album. The album starts off with “Sir Eglamore” (a story-song about a knight and a dragon) and finishes with “Bold Riley” (a sea shanty complete with accordion). Other notables are: “Radio Sweethearts” (a feel-good song about true love that lasts a lifetime), “I Am Stretched on Your Grave” (a heartbreaking song), and “Old Man Time” (a song that mourns the passing of time).

Sleepless (1999) carries all the variety of Kate Rusby. “The Cobbler’s Daughter” and “The Duke and the Tinker” are filled with all the humor and drama of English folk music. “The Sleepless Sailor” and “Botany Bay” (a bonus song) are sea songs that will put you to sleep. “I Wonder What Is Keeping My True Love This Night” and “All God’s Angels” are songs of tragedy. “Sweet Bride” is lovely fairy-tale song.

Little Lights (2001) was the first album of Kate Rusby’s that I fell in love with. This album almost evenly alternates between sad, tragic songs and upbeat, carefree songs. “Withered and Died” and “My Young Man” are two of Rusby’s most beautiful songs ever. “Playing of Ball” feels like the twilight, and “Who Will Sing Me Lullabies” is a lullaby in itself.

10 (2002) is the album created in celebration of the first ten years of Rusby’s musical career. This is a great collection of many of her old songs re-mastered and re-recorded.

Underneath the Stars (2003) proves that Kate Rusby stands the test of time. Album after album is consistently “hers.” The lyrics to “The Daughter of Megan” were written in the 1800s, and the words are old-fashioned yet beautiful. “Young James” and “Polly” are both songs about waiting for sailors. “Falling” and “Underneath the Stars” are perfect goodnight songs.

The Girl Who Couldn’t Fly (2005) was titled in reference to Rusby’s dislike of travelling by airplane. The album has an overall mellow summery feel to it. Rusby’s version of “You Belong to Me” is the best one I have ever heard. Roddy Woomble vocals are a soothing addition to “No Names”, “Wandering Soul”, and “Fare Thee Well.”

Awkward Annie (2007) is Rusby’s first album not produced by John McCusker, although his musical contributions are found on several tracks. Acting as her own producer has not stopped Rusby though. Her new songs still carry on the tradition of her past efforts. Notable songs are: “Farewell” (a sea ballad that finds hope in life after death), “Blooming Heather” (a song that starts out as a solo and ends up as a sing-along with John Hudson and Eddi Reader), and “The Village Green Preservation Society” (which was used as the theme song for Jam and Jerusalem on BBCTV).

Kate Rusby has also put out a duet album with Kathryn Roberts, acted in and contributed to the soundtrack for the movie Heartlands, and filmed a DVD of one of her concerts at Leeds. Her latest release is the Christmas album Sweet Bells.

Kate Rusby is growing into a legend in the folk music world. Her sweet natural voice is unique and recognizable. Her words are timeless and pure. Her music is softly lilting along from year to year. Kate Rusby is popular among her own kind and does not need superstardom to continue in making the pure music that is pleasing to the ears and warming to the heart. Kate Rusby laughs with us, weeps with us, but most of all, she sings to us.

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Comments 5 comments

Enigmatic Me profile image

Enigmatic Me 7 years ago from East Coast Canada

thanks for sharing. Never heard of Kate, however, the you tube video was a good sample... I think I'll check her out.

You mentioned English country... I could almost see the rolling hills of IReland behind her if I closed my eyes.


Rayalternately profile image

Rayalternately 6 years ago

Been a fan of Kate's for years. Your piece was a lovely reminder and if it encourages others to discover her talent that can only be a good thing I believe.


Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Enigmatic Me, glad I could introduce you to a wonderful artist!

Rayalternately, so another Rusby fan! Thank you for reading.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

Hi, I am so glad you wrote this, as I have been wondering what her name was. I often sit and watch folk music programmes on TV, and have seen her a few times, but forgot to write down her name. I will bookmark this so I can listen again, and maybe go out and buy her music cd. thanks Nell


Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Glad I could help you remember the name, Nell. Kate Rusby is one of my favorite singers! I wish she were on our television programs. All of her cds are worth buying. "Little Lights" was my first, and therefore will always be special to me, but "Ten" is a great compilation of songs as well.

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