Underneath the Stars

Underneath the Stars

by Kate RusbyKate Rusby


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Few folk singers bring traditional song alive in the way Kate Rusby does. Her casual, intimate manner -- and the fact that she often adds her own tunes to the old words -- has a marvelous contemporary edge. There's not an ounce of affectation in her, which comes across more and more in each successive album. She's equally good on humorous pieces like "Goodman," sad songs like "Cruel," and those in between like "Let Me Be," where the chorus of "la la las" transforms it into a lovely pop song. Her performances are relaxed and unhurried, bringing out the melodic essence of each piece, and the arrangements for an acoustic band (all of whom are sensitive and sympathetic to the material) nothing less than spectacular in their simplicity. And when she takes on the sly con story of "The Blind Harper," recorded in a definitive version by the great Nic Jones, she really shows how skillful she is. The whistle part transforms everything, and the rhythmic sense is unerring. But while Rusby is best known as an interpreter of traditional songs, she's becoming a better and better writer, too. The second half of the disc comprises (all but one of) her originals -- a daring move, putting them together, rather than interspersing them. However, it works -- she's reached the level where the joints between her songs and the traditional tunes are seamless. "Young James" could easily be a couple of centuries old, and the same is true of "Polly." The stories she tells are timeless, and she finds the heart of truth and emotion that lie at the center of them. Excellent as all of this is, the centerpiece remains the title cut, which is firmly fixed at the end of the disc, a song of leaving that's gently touching, filled out by a brass band -- a gentle nod to Rusby's south Yorkshire roots. She defined what she did well on her first solo album. Since then she's been refining it, and herself, until this unquestionably stands as her best, and each new record becomes an event.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/13/2004
Label: Compass Records
UPC: 0766397437026
catalogNumber: 974370
Rank: 43430

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Kate Rusby   Primary Artist,Guitar
Ian Carr   Guitar,Mandolin
Eddi Reader   Vocals,Guest Appearance
Andy Cutting   Accordion (Diatonic)
Francis MacDonald   Snare Drums
James MacKintosh   Percussion,Bells
Richard Marshall   Cornet
John McCusker   Banjo,Fiddle,Mandolin,Ukulele,Viola,Human Whistle,Cittern
Ewen Vernal   Double Bass
Neil Yates   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Michael McGoldrick   Flute,Human Whistle
Olov Johansson   Nyckelharpa
Paul Burch   Guitar
Andy Seward   Banjo,Double Bass
Jim Fletcher   French Horn,E Flat Horn
Simon Fowler   Vocals,Guest Appearance

Technical Credits

Nic Jones   Composer
P.F. Sloan   Composer
Kurt Cobain   Composer
Dave Grohl   Composer
John McCusker   Arranger,Producer,Brass Arrangment
Krist Novoselic   Composer
Kate Rusby   Arranger,Composer
Andy Seward   Engineer
Traditional   Composer
Brian Ledgard   Digital Artwork
Joe Rusby   Engineer

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