Kate Rusby,
The Girl Who Couldn't Fly
(Pure, 2005)

Opening with "Game of All Fours," a traditional song that tells an intriguing story, Kate Rusby's new CD The Girl Who Couldn't Fly will have even the most cynical captivated. She delivers her lyrics with clarity and feeling, but is not afraid to experiment a little, even on traditional fare as with her repetition of "over and over."

With Rusby, the game is trying to listen to the album without looking at the liner notes to spot which songs are traditional and which are original. I would have sworn that "The Lark" was hundreds of years old, but I was wrong. This young lady composed it and gives a beautiful rendition here. For heartrending lyrics, have a listen to the beautiful "No Names," again written by Rusby.

From the lovely introductory instrumental its final words, "Mary Blaize" will have your attention -- this one is traditional and tells a lovely tale. Rusby has a knack for seeking out and interpreting traditional songs that are far from well known. This makes her albums into journeys of discovery; one byway on this road is "A Ballad," as is "Bonnie House of Airlie."

Just to knock you off your feet with surprise Rusby launches into a song from Pee Wee King, "You Belong to Me," and you're left sitting stunned. Is this a popular song given a folk treatment, or is it a folk song converted to pop? It is a revelation, and in many ways she makes it a completely new song.

"Moon Shadow" is another original song, not to be confused with the former pop hit.

The album contains some beautiful new songs including a bonus track, "Little Jack Frost," that she wrote for a BBC animation; it is a wonderful song to close an album that will keep you warm on cold winter nights if you allow yourself wallow in that voice and accent.

by Nicky Rossiter
17 December 2005

Buy it from Amazon.com.