Filmed live in December 2012 at Harrogate's Royal Hall, this DVD is a grand Christmas night out from the comfort of your own sofa with Kate, her excellent band (Ed Boyd, Duncan Lyall, Damien O'Kane and Julian Sutton) and the long-term collaborators affectionately referred to as 'the Brass Boys' - five superb players moonlighting from the Coldstream and Irish Guards bands.
Most of the 15 songs feature Kate's own take on a selection from the South Yorkshire pub carolling tradition, a unique body of locally-written carols and traditional words set to unusual tunes, which were thrown out of the churches in the 19th century for being too jolly. It's a tradition she grew up with and clearly loves, as you can tell from the typically warm, comical anecdotes both onstage and in the interwoven interview clips where, perched on a large Chesterfield surrounded by festive trappings, she recounts carol provenance and tales of Christmas in the Rusby household.
Starting with the version of While Shepherds Watched that's set to the tune of On Ilkley Moor Baht 'At, it's a lovely, varied set with Kate's pure, clear voice supported beautifully by combinations of strings, accordion and brass. Restrained and tasteful but never dull or predictable, arrangements include upbeat jazz chords in Kris Kringle, a cheekily syncopated Hail Chime On, and the brass quintet's sweet, soaring harmonies on the standard tune of Little Town of Bethlehem. Two of Kate's own songs, Home (inspired by husband Damien's marriage proposal one Christmas Day) and Walk the Road are reflective and heart-tugging and the final encore, a gorgeous, brass-wrapped version of The Wren is perfectly chosen to bring 'joy, health, love and peace' to the cheering audience before they set off for home.
There's an Extras section with two great bonuses: a grin-inducing seven-minute band romp around a couple of Sutton's tunes segued together with an Irish reel and snatches of popular Christmas melodies (watch for the eerie Walking In The Air); and a clip from the BBC/Zoo Films charming animation The Tale of Jack Frost overlaid by its title song, one of two composed and sung by Kate for the film's release in 2004.
Like Kate herself, this DVD's a heartwarming companion to the festive season. Put more logs on the fire, pour a cheering glass and enjoy!
I caught one of Kate's first series of Christmas concerts a few years ago in Norwich, with quite a different band. This is as good as, if not better. I love the choice of carols, there are eight from 'While Mortals Sleep,' six from 'Sweet Bells' and 'Walk The Road' from 'Make The Light' - not strictly a carol, but it fits in very well. Her current band are great, very low-key and sensitive, especially the accordion-player! Not sure about Damien's dress sense (he looks as if he's just got back from the office party) and I do wish they would give Kate a guitar to play while she's singing! She looks very awkward sometimes without one and is often reduced to playing air-acoustic guitar! There are some short interviews with Kate throughout the video, explaining the origin and use of South Yorkshire carols. Extras are a couple of very good instrumentals from the band and the 'Jack Frost' animation short Kate sang over a few years ago. The setting: Harrogate Royal Hall is suitably 'oop North' to make Kate feel perfectly at home and the concert is shot simply with crystal-clear sound. Recommended!
If you have been to one of Kate's Christmas Concerts this is a delightful reminder of the occasion. It is a concert filmed a couple of years ago, and she has released a third CD of Christmas themed songs since but don't let this put you off. On the whole well recorded and filmed and a good mix of songs from the first two Christmas themed CD's. A brilliant idea to have filmed Kate talking about her songs, her Christmas and some of the traditions behind the songs, the interview is interspersed in to the concert footage. This works well. Can be played anytime in the weeks leading up to Christmas or soon afterwards and is enjoyable and relaxing. The two 'extra's' - one of her band performing without Kate (as they did in that tour), are clearly recorded and most enjoyable, plus there is a cartoon with an unknown to me Kate song telling the story are worth having. Very satisfied with my souvenir. Just hope she comes my way again with her Christmas tour.
Perfect for getting into the Christmas spirit.great concert and a wonderful voice .sit down and watch this with a Christmas tipple or two .thoroughly recommended. Makes a change from the usual Christmas dross played in the shops...also great service from supplier
Beautiful voice, lovely choice of songs. Good to sing along to. Recommend to anyone who wants gentle, yorkshire carols. Anyone who knows Kate s music wil probably have bought this. For all those thst havent, go for it .