Albums 2013 | Kate Rusby ’20’

A look at albums we have written about in 2013 – here’s Kate Rusby and her 2013 release ’20’ taken from Irish Music Magazine.



20, Island Records, 20 Tracks – Double CD

It’s a monumental milestone for the folk songstress who has, for twenty years, imparted her vocal talent to multitudes and what a way to mark her twenty year achievement than to release a compilation of twenty tracks on a Double CD, they are a timely testament to Kate Rusby’s rich talent. To make it all the more interesting, she is joined on each track by a complementary vocal artist, from Paul Weller, Dick Gaughan, Eddi Reader, Paul Brady and Declan O’Rourke. Funnily though it is the stirring duet with her husband and band member Damian O’Kane that hits home as the intro draws you into the gripping Bitter Boy which showcases Rusby’s vocal beautifully as she intertwines with a superb O’Kane accompaniment, which is further enhanced by a simple yet effective piano and string backing.
Whether it is deliberate or not, the guest artists are most definitely secondary to the central Rusby vocal on each track. Weller does dominate on Sun Grazers, as the two converse in ‘a blaze of glory’ through the powerful song with Rusby utilising her experience of many years to exhibit the track in its full potential. Gaughan and Reader emphasise the uplift of tone in Wandering Souls as the appealing song is treated with the vocal respect it deserves. The O’Rourke duet, Bring me a Boat, is given an empathetic treatment with both voices highlighting the harmonic beauty of the lyric perfectly. A fitting finale to twenty tracks of enchanting Rusby retrospective.
Whilst there is variation between each song, the emotion generated is consistent; that is a melancholic wistfulness emulated by the breathy Rusby tones that are tinged with a poignant sadness that can draw you into an abyss of pensive reflection. This is an album that perfectly befits the unique vocal sweetness of an iconic Folk treasure who’s not just Barnsley’s Nightingale anymore; the world of Folk claimed her a long time ago.
Eileen McCabe