Make the Light
THE INDEPENDENT 19.11.10
Unlike her previous albums, Make the Light features no traditional material, just songs Kate Rusby penned herself. The shadows of tradition and rusticity do still fall across some songs, most notably ‘The Wising Wife’, a cautionary tale set to springy accordion and banjo about a wife wishing her husband was smaller, kinder and cheerier, then waking up to find him transformed into a dog. Elsewhere, ‘Only Hope’ posits a Biblical apportioning of just desserts for the meek and mean spirited, ‘Fair Weather Friend’ offers a lovely paean to hope and forgiveness, and ‘Let Them Fly’ presents Rusby’s first protest song, a tilt at self-serving clergy and politicians. Throughout, the wistful nobility of her voice is sensitively supported by string-band arrangements, augmented here and there by string quartet and a small brass ensemble.
THE SUN 19.11.2010
One of British folk music’s most compelling performers, Kate’s best known for her superlative reinterpretations of tradional songs.
What makes her return after having daughter Daisy so special is all the songs on her new album are self-penned.
It’s clear she’s learned the craft of a good song … pertinent lyrics and engaging tunes all performed in that clear, sweet voice with equal doses light and dark, sincerity and humour.
Songs like the ravishing opener ‘The Wishing Wife’, the gorgeous ‘Not Me’ and the wistful ‘GreenFields’ sound like timeless classics that could have been written yesterday or a century ago. SC.
THE GUITARIST – NOVEMBER 2010
Sublime self-penned folk melancholy.
It ain’t broke, don’t fix it seems to be the approach on Rusby albums. Rightly so – she’s been producing quality folk for nearly 20 years now. But changes are afoot – this is her first album of wholly self-penned songs. But fear not, this isn’t Jazz Odyssey.
The traditional upbeat opener is present and correct in ‘The WishingWife’, but elsewhere this is a sorrowful but uplifting album. Stirring melancholy is where Rusby excels – her voice beautiful and plaintive – a powerful thing, as is the ruse of strings for sensitive accompaniment.
While the gentle acoustic strumming of Rusby and new guitarist Damien O’Kane are high in the mix, there’s the right level of subtlety to let her voice shine: and the delay on ‘Green Fields’ and the gentle electric chime on ‘Only Hope’ are highly effective. RL.
SUNDAY EXPRESS 28.11.2010
Patronising cliche though it is family life, with fellow folk-singer Damien O’Kane and a new baby, has cheered up Rusby’s muse no end. Gone is the chilly austerity of her early work, replaced by warmth and a new maturity. The autobiographical ‘Only Hope’ is superb, as is ‘Lately’,a meditation built around O’Kane’s guitar and Julian Sutton’s accordion. Apparently it was Jennifer Saunders who persuaded Kate to write the album herself. Good advice, it’s absolutely fabulous. MT.