Kate Rusby – The Hawth, Crawley – 18 November 2012

As a bit of a music anorak, I view it as my responsibility to ensure that my child(ren) are exposed to “good” music, rather than the factory-style output that is typical of the charts. A parent can’t necessarily overcome the pressures of conformity on a child’s taste, but occasionally, a parent can temper poor taste in music by exposing a child to “good” music.

A case that I take particular pride in is the fact that one of my daughter’s favourite musicians is Kate Rusby. She has become a bit of a role model for my daughter, inspiring her to sing and write more (and it warms the cockles of my heart when I walk by her room and hear her singing.)

My daughter made me promise that next time she was on tour we would go see her. So go we did, last night in Crawley. It was my daughter’s first proper let’s-buy-tickets-and-go gig.

I explained in a previous post how I recently became a fan of Kate Rusby. And as an anorak, it’s annoying that I come to the party rather late, but I am glad I did, regardless.

Ms. Rusby has been singing for 20 years, and her latest album is a celebration of that, with new arrangements of old songs, joined by special guests (including the modfather, Paul Weller.) The tour, of course, is in support of the latest album.

Last night’s show was not disappointing, and it was everything one could expect. A rather intimate, quiet affair consisting of two very strong sets of tunes. Ms. Rusby was joined by an accomplished group of musicians (one of whom is her husband/co-producer, Damien O’Kane) whom she has recorded with over the years.

The musicianship was flawless. And the showmanship, although low-key, was entertaining. In between songs, Ms. Rusby would regale the audience with stories about the songs in question or about her children (she has a 3-year-old and a six-month-old, the six-month-old on tour with her.)

I was pleasantly surprised, as for some reason, I was expecting a more serious demeanour from Ms. Rusby. Instead, there was a good bit of banter on stage (her husband had a devilishly dry Northern Irish sense of humour), and she came across as being a down-to-earth Yorkshire lass. I was also surprised by her speaking voice, only because it was deeper than what I expected.

And her singing voice was amazing. A truly sublime show.

I could go on, but there is nothing I could fault in the show. And a good, wholesome, first gig for my daughter to attend. (She also walked out of there with a tee-shirt and a couple of songbooks. Daddy is such a sucker, but daughter was extremely grateful for the experience.)

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