wed 13/12/2017

CD: Kate Rusby - The Frost Is All Over | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Kate Rusby - The Frost Is All Over

CD: Kate Rusby - The Frost Is All Over

It ain't Christmas without Kate

Kate Rusby in Snow Queen mode

Kate’s no stranger to the Christmas collection – Sweet Bells from 2008, and While Mortals Sleep from 2011 both focused on South Yorkshire-inspired carols and seasonal songs, and the Kate Rusby at Christmas DVD from 2014, filmed at Harrogate Hall, put listeners firmly in the picture, with the Barnsley Nightingale supported by her excellent band, featuring partner and guitarist-singer Damien O’Kane, and a five-piece brass section.

That soft northern brass sound features again on “Bradfield”, the mellifluous opener for The Frost Is All Over, a plump, pillowy arrangement that fits her voice very well. There are three songs from Cornwall's vernacular traditions among the South Yorkshire tunes, and among them, “Cornish Wassail” is intimate and soothing, quite at odds with the shouty robustness of many a wassail recording or live rendition, while the banjo and accordion accompaniment on “Dilly Carol” (aka “Green Grow the Rushes, Oh”) is a perfect wrapping for the gift of her voice, one of the best-loved in the contemporary English tradition. Some critics may think her over-sweet, but there’s not any added sugar, just natural fruits.

"Mount Lyngham” features Damien O’Kane’s dynamic acoustic guitar riff propelling Kate through a new version (her fourth) of “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks”, while the album’s one nod to Christmas pop comes with a rather subdued, brass-lined "Winter Wonderland".

There’s nothing here to frighten to reindeer, or disturb the older relatives – A Kate Rusby Christmas album is a well-seasoned thing of beauty, and a thoroughly reliable way to sink deep into the season with the older, local spirits of a South Yorkshire Christmas, the closing title song a breathy beauty with soft brass tones and accordion as accompaniment.

A Kate Rusby Christmas album is a well-seasoned thing of beauty

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Average: 4 (1 vote)

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