If walls have ears, those at Edgemount are filled with the sound of music. The Edwardian house and its adjoining converted barn are the headquarters, recording studio and former home of award-winning folk singer/songwriter Kate Rusby. The Barnsley Nightingale, whose fame has spread far beyond South Yorkshire, recorded almost all her albums there, including Sleepless, which was nominated for the 1999 Mercury Music Prize.
It is the hub of the family business and record label, Pure Records, and doubles as digs for Rusby’s band members when they are on tour. The property, which is in the sought-after village of Oxspring, near Penistone, is now on the market for £895,000 with Simon Blyth estate agents and there will be a few tears when the sold sign goes up. Kate, who bought the house 21 years ago, says: “ There’s a mixture of emotions. I’m sad to see it go after recording there for all these years but I am also very excited for what the future holds.
“I’ve recorded about 15 albums at Edgemount. It is such a special space, with the most gorgeous view down the valley. Most studios are in black basements with no windows but here, the studio is in the old barn so has a huge window. I’ve gazed through it all these years, contemplating lyrics and such like. In fact, it’s not just me, all the musicians who have passed through there have done the same, including Philip Selway from Radiohead, Eddi Reader, and countless others. It’s in such a beautiful spot and everyone who has stayed here has said it’s the best night’s sleep they’ve ever had.”
The sale of the property, which has quick and easy access to the M1 and M62, is largely due to new technology. There is now no need for large recording studios with hefty equipment. Nor is there any need to store vast numbers of CDs for distribution, thanks to music streaming services.
Kate’s sister, Emma Holling, who is now MD of the family business, Pure Records, says: “We’ll all be sad to leave here but we just don’t need all this space anymore. We can work from home and if we need somewhere bigger for recording we can hire a studio.”
One of Kate Rusby’s best memories is of living in the house while her dad Steve, a director of Pure Records, and her uncle Jonny Lowe, turned the barn into a recording studio. “I have so many happy memories of this place and all I do is smile when I think about them. I remember when I first bought it and we were making the Sleepless album. My dad, an electrician, and my Uncle Johnny, joiner extraordinaire, were in the barn through the day building the studio and come five o’clock, they would down tools and we would go in and record a bit more music, working well into the night. Then, in they came again the next morning. The album and the studio were created together in perfect harmony. We’ve had so much fun there over the years, from office chair racing down the hill to sledging in the winter and many legendary parties. It’s been such a sociable hub, it’s one of those ‘happy houses’.”
She will also miss the grounds. “One of the things I love about the house is that it is surrounded by nature. Woodpeckers bring their young to the bird feeders, larks nest in the fields around it, hares frequent the garden, a wren builds her home in the same bush every year, the apple trees are to die for, frogs come back to the trough every year to spawn. It’s the most peaceful place and very good for the soul.”
Kate’s sister Emma Holling agrees. A former teacher, she is now MD of Pure Records after taking over from dad Steve, who continues to book gigs. “We will all miss the house. It is so peaceful with amazing views and it’s very close to the Pennine Trail so there are lovely walks.”
Emma now helps oversee everything from music sales, accounts and merchandise to the Underneath the Stars music and arts festival, which runs every summer. Kate, who stars in the festival, is from a family of folk musicians and is married to the musician Damian O’Kane. Her career and the Pure Records label have always been a family business. Her parents encouraged and promoted her musical talent, as did her Emma and brother Joe. They all live in the same rural village, near Barnsley.
The first time Emma realised her sister had an exceptional talent was when she saw Kate perform at the Worsbrough Mystery plays. “She was a student at Barnsley College and her mentor persuaded her to sing. She performed Shay Fan Yan Ley and Lay me Low and it was just the most magical thing. Then a good friend booked her for Holmfirth Folk Festival and everything moved on from there.”
Kate is now working on her next album. “It could be the last one to be recorded at Edgemount,” says Emma.
*Edgemount house and barn, Oxspring, is on the market with Simon Blyth for £895,000. It sits in an elevated position with panoramic views and has 0.75 acres of grounds.
The house has four bedrooms with potential for creating an annexe in the converted barn. The house has an entrance hall, dining kitchen, dining room, sitting room, lounge, study/playroom, four bedrooms and a bathroom. The barn has a living kitchen and a WC.and on the top floor, there is a studio and office. Outside, there are gardens, parking areas and a garage. Oxspring has a pub, Post Office with shop and a community hall. For details visit www.simonblyth.co.yuk tel: 01226 762400.
*Kate Rusby’s career began with playing folk clubs and events and at the age of 26, she was named as one of the Top Ten Folk Voices of the Century and her album was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. She also won the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for Best Live Act. She is touring in April and May and will star along with Susanne Vega and Paul Carrack at the Underneath the Stars festival in Cawthorne, July 31 to August 2. www.katerusby.com