Kate Rusby
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Kate Rusby
Pure Records (www.katerusby.com)

Still only in her twenties, it seems incredible that Kate Rusby can be celebrating ten years in the music business already. 10 is a record full of gems from Kate's career to date, familiar to those who have her previous albums in their collection, but reworked for this, the anniversary album. Several of the songs appear in a forthcoming British film by director Damien O'Donnell, entitled "Heartlands."

Kate is a rare talent, a great interpreter of the characters of the old songs, a writer so in tune with the tradition she has inherited that to distinguish between her own newly-composed works and the traditional songs is often virtually impossible. When singing the part of a spurned young woman in "The Fairest of All Yarrow" or "I Wonder What Is Keeping My True Love," she tangibily captures bruised innocence and suppressed longing. Combine that with the whistle or flute of Michael McGoldrick and it really is a case for the Kleenex. This is not to say that she can't get down with the best of them. Indeed, look no further than the live version of "Sir Eglamore," with the distinguished support of husband John McCusker, Andy Cutting, Ian Carr and McGoldrick.

Kate has critics who argue that she has not spent enough time evolving her sound, people who are probably more firmly placed in the Eliza Carthy camp. But the diversity of arrangement and interpretation on 10 does not comply with that view. It is also interesting to see the development in her vocals. Comparison of "Cowsong" (the only track on the set which could be considered weak) to other, more recent recordings, show a maturity that otherwise slips past unnoticed. Here's to the next ten years. - Jennifer Byrne

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