FolkWorld Live Review 12/2000:

Kate Rusby Band

Live at De Monfort Hall, Leicester, August 3, 2000

By David Wardle

Kate Rusby; photo by The Mollis I suppose that we have all become so used to Kate Rusby's excellent performances, both on record and on stage, that there is a slight tendency to take her for granted. Even though she is at an early stage of her career (we hope), it sometimes seems as though she has been around for ages. In some respects, she has become a victim of her own success, by shooting to such dizzy heights within the folk world in a relatively short time, she has set herself such a difficult task in maintaining the momentum. But she does it, and does it very well indeed. Such is the mark of true talent.

From the moment she ambled on stage at the De Montfort Hall with a cheery "Ey oop then !", to the closing solo lullaby, she mesmerised the audience with her engaging chat and lovely singing. Her bubbly personality shines through everything she touches, and her self-deprecating Yorkshire humour is without a doubt one of her main assets.

But her voice must be the greatest asset. She sings with a crisp, clear voice which flows with a depth of feeling and emotion which defies her years. Although she is with a band tonight (and what a band - more of which later), she is in control. This is her gig, and everyone knows it. But this is not to say that she over-dominates proceedings, it is just by her sheer talent, presence and strength of personality that she manages to command respect from band and audience alike.

I promised more about the band. Whilst I don't always agree with everything that Mojo says, when they wrote that this was a band to die for, they certainly wern't kidding. Here comes a roll-call of some of the best musicians in the current folk-scene: John McCusker on fiddle and citern, Michael McGoldrick on flute and whistles, Andy Cutting on accordion, Ian Carr on guitar, and Andy Seward on bass. Phew !

Michael McGoldrick; photo by The Mollis The set comprised mainly material from Kate's Mercury-nominated Sleepless CD, and her previous offering, Hourglass. For good measure, she also included a delightful song called 'The Yorkshire Couple', which told the story of a novel way that a woman saved for her retirement - and that of the milk man! Kate left the stage on a couple of occasions to give the band a chance to shine in their own right, and they certainly didn't miss the opportunity. Tunes from John McCusker and Michael McGoldrick showed why they have achieved such critical acclaim.

Amongst Kate's songs, one of the highlights for me was 'Cowsong', which contains the wonderful warning for all young men - 'Never trust a girl with your mother's cow, and never let your trousers go falling down in the long grass'. If only we would listen to good advice before it is too late ! Another favourite of mine was the Iris Dement song 'Our Town' which appears on Sleepless, and which, according to Kate is definitely not about Barnsley. Others that stood out were delightful versions of 'The Unquiet Grave' and 'I Wonder What is Keeping My True Love This Night ?' - a question which Kate pointed out, is never answered in the song! Hmmmm....we wonder....

Kate is going on tour again later this year with John McCusker, before returning to the studio to record her next CD in Spring 2001. A further tour is promised with the same band as tonight to promote the new record. If that does happen, certainly one to look out for.

Further infos available at: Kate's homepage

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