Tonight (24 January), 7.30pm, £22-£25, Royal Concert Halls, Glasgow. Tel: 0141 353 8000.
VIDEO: Kate Rusby - Underneath the Stars on The Andrew Marr Show (BBC One, November 2012)
Underneath the Stars played on the radio as I lay on the bed with my then-girlfriend – spellbound, we were, in that dizzy excitement of a new relationship. Years later, I was alone on a bus in America. With the landscape of the Rocky Mountains rolling past the window, I listened to Fare Thee Well on my iPod, which made me feel homesick. Another time, a dinner party at a friend’s house kicked off with Awkward Annie, and I believe Withered & Died partly serenaded the subsequent hangover the next morning. On one of my first ever nights in a pub, a local female singer sang Let the Cold Wind Blow, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as she finished on those final few emotive chords. See, so many of this Yorkshire Rose’s songs have become reference points to various chapters in my life.
But this isn’t about me. It’s about an acoustic angel whose tender vocals and rootsy melodies work their way into your heart and remain there for when you really need them (and you will).
Kate Rusby’s two decades as a recording artist have seen her release 11 studio albums, embark on countless sell-out tours the length and breadth of the country, and become one of the only folk musicians not to be sneered at by the Mercury Music Prize panel. This side of the border, she’ll perhaps best be remembered as a staple of the Celtic Connections festival, which is coincidentally also celebrating its big 2-0 this month.
On Kate’s latest album 20, she re-recorded a number of old favourites such as I Courted a Sailor, The Goodman and Mocking Bird. While it serves as a fine introduction for those late to the party, and a novel ‘greatest hits’-type collection for ardent fans, the LP features banter between its various guests – including Paul Weller, Eddi Reader, Jerry Douglas, Chris Thile, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Radiohead’s Phil Selway. Some of these names will be appearing tonight at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall to perform at this very special anniversary concert.
If you don’t manage to make it along this evening, then you’ve truly missed out – but you can be sure the Barnsley Nightingale will be around for her next big milestone. Here’s to another 20 splendid years, Kate.
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