Kate Rusby is a Holly Head. If you hadn’t already spotted from her other Christmas albums, Sweet Bells, While Mortals Sleep, The Frost Is All Over and Angels and Men, she is not only Santa’s biggest musical helper, but she is also an incurable Christmas nerd.
Obsession can lead an individual down many different paths, but in 2019, it drew Kate to her fifth festive long-playing offering. It’s one of the warmest Christmas albums you’ll ever encounter and that’s nowt to do with climate change!
Winter is supposed to be the season of barrenness, of Jack Frost nipping at your nose and of needing your big coat. It may get dark at four o’clock and you may become cynically sick of Slade, John Rutter albums and Merry, Merry Christmas by New Kids on The Block by the second week in December, but Holly Head will illuminate and kindle hearts and hearths. It’s the Christmas album you’ll still be compelled to play, guilt-free, at significant volume, in mid-May.
A Kate Rusby Christmas Concert perpetuates the tradition of Yorkshire carols, specific carols sung in the crowded pubs of South Yorkshire. Kate sat in the corner of those crowded pubs as a child, so the songs she brings to these shows are in her bones. For over two hundred years, from late-November to New Year’s Day, North Derbyshire and South Yorkshire communities would congregate on Sunday lunchtimes, in their local public house, to belt out their own versions of familiar carols, carols that were often frowned upon by the church in Victorian times as ‘too happy’.