Kate Rusby

Kate Anna Rusby (born 4 December 1973)[1] is an English folk singer-songwriter from Penistone, Barnsley. Sometimes called the "Barnsley Nightingale", she has headlined various British national folk festivals, and is one of the best known contemporary English folk singers. In 2001 The Guardian described her as "a superstar of the British acoustic scene."[2] In 2007 the BBC website described her as "The first lady of young folkies". She is one of the few folk singers to have been nominated for the Mercury Prize.[3][4]

Kate Rusby
Kate Rusby live
Rusby at the 2005 Cambridge Folk Festival
Background information
Birth nameKate Anna Rusby
Born4 December 1973 (age 45)
Barnsley, England
OriginCawthorne, Barnsley, England
GenresEnglish folk music
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals, piano
Years active1992–present
LabelsPure Records
Associated actsDamien O'Kane, The Poozies


Rusby was born into a family of musicians in 1973 in Barnsley, West Riding of Yorkshire, England.[1] After learning to play the guitar, the fiddle and the piano, as well as to sing, she played in many local folk festivals as a child and adolescent, before joining (and becoming the lead vocalist of) the all-female Celtic folk band the Poozies. 1995 saw the release of her breakthrough album, Kate Rusby & Kathryn Roberts, a collaboration with her friend and fellow Barnsley folk singer Kathryn Roberts. In 1997, with the help of her family, Rusby recorded and released her first solo album, Hourglass. Since then she has gone on to receive acclaim in her home country and abroad and her family continues to help her with all aspects of her professional career.

Rusby was also a member of the folk group Equation, later to be replaced by Cara Dillon. The early line-up also featured Rusby's erstwhile performing partner Kathryn Roberts and Mercury-nominated artist Seth Lakeman. Their first EP, In Session, had a small commercial release and led to them signing a major record deal with WEA.

The previously unreleased song "Wandering Soul" was Rusby's contribution to the soundtrack for Billy Connolly's World Tour of New Zealand, an eight-part BBC television documentary series originally broadcast in November 2004.

KRusby Larmer08
Rusby at the Larmer Tree Festival 2008

A collaboration with Ronan Keating saw Rusby riding high in the UK Singles Chart; their duet "All Over Again" peaked at No. 6 in June 2006. She also made a vocal contribution to the successful debut solo album of Roddy Woomble, the lead singer of Idlewild. In the same year her cover of The Kinks' "The Village Green Preservation Society" was used as the theme tune to the BBC One television sitcom Jam & Jerusalem. Rusby has written several new songs for the latest series of Jam & Jerusalem, and is credited as being responsible for the show's music.

Launched at the 2007 Cambridge Folk Festival, the album Awkward Annie was released on 3 September 2007. "The Village Green Preservation Society" is included as a bonus track.

2008 saw the release of Sweet Bells, an album of traditional Christmas songs interpreted by Rusby. She has since released three more Christmas albums: While Mortals Sleep (2011), The Frost is All Over (2015) and Angels & Men (2017). Each December, Rusby embarks on a popular Christmas tour across the United Kingdom.

In 2010, Rusby released the album Make the Light, a collection of self-penned songs. In 2014, she released the album Ghost, which featured traditional songs and three Rusby originals. Rusby’s fourteenth solo album, Life in a Paper Boat, was released in 2016 with a fourth Christmas album Angels And Men, the following year.

Personal life

In August 2001, Rusby married Scottish fiddler and fellow band member John McCusker (formerly of the Battlefield Band), who produced most of her recordings up to The Girl Who Couldn't Fly, but they subsequently divorced. She subsequently married Irish musician Damien O'Kane, with whom she has two children.


Solo albums

Christmas albums


Mercury Music Prize

BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards


  1. ^ a b "KateRusby.com: Biography" KateRusby.com (Retrieved: 19 July 2009)
  2. ^ Denselow, Robin; "Kate Rusby – Queen Elizabeth Hall, London" Guardian.co.uk, 28 June 2001 (Retrieved: 19 July 2009)
  3. ^ Wilson, Sue; "Lost love and other heartbreaks" Independent.co.uk, 18 June 2001 (Retrieved: 19 July 2009)
  4. ^ a b "No sure bets for Mercury" news.BBC.co.uk, 7 September 1999 (Retrieved: 19 July 2009)
  5. ^ "Safe as Folk". BBC. 15 September 2005. Retrieved 19 July 2009.
  6. ^ "Kate Rusby New Album '20′ featuring Paul Weller and a host of Folk Giants". Folk Radio UK. 11 September 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
  7. ^ a b c "Radio 2 Folk Awards 2006: Previous Winners" BBC.co.uk (Retrieved: 19 July 2009)
  8. ^ "Radio 2 Folk Awards 2006: Winners" BBC.co.uk (Retrieved: 19 July 2009)
  9. ^ https://www.m-magazine.co.uk/news/sir-bob-geldof-honoured-gold-badge-awards/

External links

10 (Kate Rusby album)

10 is an album by English folk musician Kate Rusby, released in 2002. It is a collection of re-recorded and re-mastered songs with some new tracks and live cuts.

20 (Kate Rusby album)

20 is a studio album by English folk musician Kate Rusby, released on 22 October 2012 on Pure Records. Produced by Rusby and her husband Damien O'Kane, the album celebrates Rusby's twentieth year as a recording artist, and features re-recordings of previously released tracks each of which features guest vocals from the likes of Nic Jones, Paul Weller, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Eddi Reader, Sarah Jarosz and others.A similar album, 10, was released in 2002.

Upon its release, the album entered the UK Album Chart at #22.

Ghost (Kate Rusby album)

Ghost is the 13th album by English folk singer Kate Rusby, released in August 2014.

Heartlands (Kate Rusby album)

Heartlands is an album by British folk musicians Kate Rusby and John McCusker, released in 2003. It was the soundtrack to the film Heartlands.

Hourglass (Kate Rusby album)

Hourglass is the debut studio album by English contemporary folk musician Kate Rusby, released on 1 March 1997 on Pure Records.

John McCusker

John McCusker (born 15 May 1973) is a Scottish folk musician, record producer and composer. An accomplished fiddle player, he had a long association as a member of the Battlefield Band beginning in the 1990s and was later a band member and producer for folk singer Kate Rusby. He has served as producer and arranger for artists in a range of genres and also has several solo albums to his credit.

Kate Rusby discography

The discography of Kate Rusby, an English folk singer, consists of thirteen solo albums, four albums as part of a duo or group, four extended plays (EPs), two video albums, nine singles, and one music video. Rusby's debut was Intuition, an album recorded in collaboration with five other female singers from Yorkshire, which was released on a small label in 1993. Her breakthrough came with an eponymous album recorded with Kathryn Roberts, another of the singers featured on Intuition. This album, which was named as the best of the year by Folk Roots magazine, was the first release on Pure Records, a label set up by Rusby's father on which all her subsequent solo recordings have been released. Rusby and Roberts also formed the band The Equation in conjunction with The Lakeman Brothers, but Rusby left the group after their debut EP. In 1996 she joined the all-female folk group The Poozies, with whom she released one EP and one full-length album.In 1997 Rusby released her first solo album, Hourglass, and two years later followed it with Sleepless, which was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. Two years later, Little Lights became Rusby's first release to enter the Top 100 of the UK Albums Chart, peaking at number 75. Her highest placing on this chart came with 2007's Awkward Annie, which reached number 32. In 2006 she provided guest vocals on the single "All Over Again" by Irish pop singer Ronan Keating, which reached number six on the UK Singles Chart. Rusby has also made guest appearances on albums by artists such as Roddy Woomble, Ella Edmondson and John McCusker, to whom she was formerly married.

Life in a Paper Boat

Life in a Paper Boat is the fourteenth solo album by English folk singer Kate Rusby, released in October 2016. The album, while featuring Rusby’s signature mix of traditional and original songs, marked a sonic departure from previous releases: synthesizers and drum programming were used extensively throughout the record. Critics described the sonic change as "done in the best possible taste….any initial surprise or shock soon wears off as you get accustomed to the gentle opulence of the soundscape” and “[giving] a modern context while retaining all the elements…[of] the folk tradition." The album’s titular track, a Rusby composition, was inspired by the European migrant crisis. In "Hunter Moon," another original, the moon is in love with the sun—and longingly tracks the sun's progress every day, from dawn to sunset.

Little Lights

Little Lights is an album by British folk musician Kate Rusby, released in 2001.

Live from Leeds

Live from Leeds is a live concert DVD by English Folk musician Kate Rusby, released in 2003. The concert was filmed at the Leeds City Varieties.

Make the Light

Make the Light is the ninth studio album by folk musician Kate Rusby, released on 22 November 2010 on Pure Records. The album is the first to feature songs written solely by Rusby; this idea was suggested by actress Jennifer Saunders, with whom Rusby had previously worked on the show Jam & Jerusalem.Self-produced by Rusby with her brother, Joe Rusby, the album features a variety of different musicians, including Rusby's husband, Damien O'Kane. Prior to the album's release, Rusby remarked, "I feel this album is quite different from my others; some of it is gritty, some of it is pretty and some of it is a bit wacky! But what fun we had making it. I hope people enjoy it!"

Michael McGoldrick

Michael McGoldrick (born 26 November 1971, Manchester, England) is a folk musician who plays Irish flute, uilleann pipes, low whistle and bodhran. He also plays other instruments such as acoustic guitar cittern and mandolin on some of his tracks.

Sleepless (Kate Rusby album)

Sleepless is an album by English folk musician Kate Rusby, released in 1999. It was nominated for the Mercury Prize the same year.

Sweet Bells

Sweet Bells is the first Christmas album by English contemporary folk musician Kate Rusby, released on 15 December 2008 on Pure Records. In November 2011, Rusby released a follow-up, entitled While Mortals Sleep (2011).

The album was re-released on 9 November 2009 featuring new cover artwork by Marie Mills. Sweet Bells, the carol featured on the album, is a carol peculiar to Yorkshire, based on the carol While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night but with an alternative tune and extra lyrics.

The Frost Is All Over

The Frost Is All Over is the third Christmas album by English folk musician Kate Rusby, released on 27 November 2015 on Pure Records. Similar to Rusby's previous Christmas releases, Sweet Bells (2008) and While Mortals Sleep (2011), the album features South Yorkshire-based material.

The Girl Who Couldn't Fly

The Girl Who Couldn't Fly is an album by British folk musician Kate Rusby, released in 2005. The title refers to Rusby's fear of flying.The album cover features a painting by Blur guitarist Graham Coxon.

Underneath the Stars (album)

Underneath the Stars is the fourth studio album by English folk musician Kate Rusby, released on 11 August 2003 on Pure Records.

In a 2007 interview, Rusby noted that "The Blind Harper", which appears on this album, is her favourite traditional song.

While Mortals Sleep (album)

While Mortals Sleep is the second Christmas album by English folk musician Kate Rusby, released on 14 November 2011 on Pure Records. Similar to Rusby's previous Christmas release, Sweet Bells (2008), the album features South Yorkshire-based material, and features artwork by Marie Mills.

Kate Rusby
Studio albums
Christmas albums
Anniversary albums
Other albums

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