I give this one 4 stars - not because it isn't brilliant, but because until now each new album has seen Kate progressing musically, but this album is only more of the same. All her other albums held me spellbound on the first playing, but this one left me mildly disappointed. Don't get me wrong, it's a very good album, but her best? - sorry, no. If you're buying your first Kate Rusby album then I recommend 'Little Lights'. Oh, and go see her perform live, you won't be disappointed.
This was my first Kate Rusby CD, I'd heard "Stars" on the Wogan Show and "The White Cockade" on a Radio Scotland show, these tracks whetted the appetite and I have to say I've had the Cd on the player ever since. It's excellent, the use of the Colliery brass section works very well when used. I would advise any first time buyer to try this album.
I heard Underneath the Stars played on the radio and loved it. Now I've bought the album and it's beautiful. Kate's voice is wonderful and the music is soulful and rich. To anyone who likes traditional folk music and songs, I can't recommend it enough.
I'm new to Kate Rusby, and bought this album after hearing her for the first time at new year on the TV. Incredible voice, went out and got her album as soon as possible. As a complete new comer, I was blown away. Stunning voice, brilliant lyrics, beautiful arrangements. What more can I say? Buy it and enjoy. Reading previous comments, I can't wait to compare it to previous efforts! Looking forward to seeing her in concert.
Rusby's stage persona is beautifully comfortable, authentic and unstarry. Despite now pushing 40, she comes across as unspoilt girl next door, having fun with music, as genuinely appreciative of her audience as they are of her. And then she opens her mouth to sing,and steps right in to a powerful female archetype - she sings like a personification of the maiden aspect of femininity; spirit of spring. Her voice is girlish, sweet, pure and open. Even when she sings of suffering - for example, her own illness in the song Falling, or the traditional tales of abandoned loves and abandoning lovers that is such a staple of the folk music tradition, she lets the music and the rapt listener feel their own response to heartbreak, rather than doing all the 'I'm really FEELING this DEEPLY' over emoting stuff which sometimes performers get into.
I love the effortless quality of her singing. No strain, the singing is a natural expressiveness. Sweet, pure, lyrical and tender, but absolutely without any cloying saccharine. If Rusby is 'the maiden', the light side of female vocals, she is a wonderful contrast with an equally honest chanteuse , the darkly wise and experienced womanly tones of June Tabor Ashore They are like different routes into a truthful musical heritage of the English folk tradition
Following on from the recent releases of 'Ten'(the ten year anniverary album) and 'Heartlands' (the film soundtrack) this is another must-have album for Kate fans and folk fans alike. The mix of new songs and Kate's interpretation of traditional folk songs set to her own tunes and an excellent Nic Jones cover make for an album which easily matches the quality of her previous work. The opening track 'The Good Man' is a song which was still playing in my head the next day. This is an excellent opener with a catchy tune graced with Kate's clear voice. The music is as always good, aided by husband John McCusker's production and fine playing of a number of instruments. Andy Cutting and Ewen Vernal (from Deacon Blue) play with their usual expertise. The music is never allowed to overpower Kate's voice. Guest vocals from Eddi Reader and Simon Fowler(Ocean Colour Scene)simmer behind Kate's clear and almost fragile voice. Tales of obstacles in the way of love(and many references to the sea!)abound.For me the standout tracks are 'The Good Man', 'Cruel' 'The Blind Harper', 'Polly' and the gentle title track 'Underneath the Stars' reminscent of 'Who Will Sing Me Lullabies' which completes another album of fine songs.Well worth adding to your collection.