Review: Kate Rusby

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Sheffield City Hall

IT’S hard to believe that Kate Rusby has been on the professional folk scene for 20 years – although her feel for stories handed down through generations was nurtured from the womb. For her 20th anniversary tour and to promote the new double album 20, she’s appearing with a line-up that can only described as megastellar.

Favourite songs from throughout her career featured, given a new twist with tight harmonies, the odd playful interrupted rhythm and consummate string work by guitar, banjo, mandolin and double bass as well as a string quartet in places. Rusby herself was in fine voice, both the gentle and contemplative and more urgent tunes flowed out of her with equal ease and expertise.

Rusby’s two tiny daughters Daisy and Phoebe made a brief appearance with grandma and auntie, underlining the fact that the Kate Rusby Show is very much a family affair. In the second half the band, led by Damien O’Kane (Rusby’s multi-talented husband) on guitar, gave full vent to a show-stopping quartet of numbers with the superlative banjo of Ron Block at their core.

Other outstanding moments included Rubsy’s close harmonies on Planets with Texan singer and mandolin player Sarah Jarosz and 
the appearance of folk 
legend Dick Gaughan.

In all a night not easily forgotten.