Kate Rusby - 20

It's hard to believe Kate Rusby has been making music for 20 years when her voice still sounds so young. On this celebration double-album, Kate is teamed up with an array of well known names from folk and pop circles to rework some of her favourite songs from previous albums. Among names whom you would expect such as Richard Thompson and Dick Gaughan are Paul Weller and Phil Selway (Radiohead). Intriguing. 
Sadly, that's as groundbreaking as it gets. While there's no doubting that Kate Rusby has a magical voice, which conveys a fragility and passion helping to lend extra meaning to her well crafted songs, it's a just a shame that it treads such weary ground.

The highlights here are the touching, piano led and fairly similar tracks - Bitter Boy featuring her husband Damien O'Kane (sounding remarkably like Kris Drever) and Bring Me A Boat, featuring Declan O'Rourke. Both songs feel more natural for Kate than the artificial polish and gleam of the bigger tracks.

The new song on this collection, Sun Grazers is just rotten; Paul Weller's normally honest rasp sounded uncomfortable in this setting. It feels like a forced union and struggles to elicit any charm. On repeated listens it improves, but it still doesn't feel...right. The “blaze of glory” line irritates as well, with a vision of Bon Jovi instantly springing to mind from the Young Guns soundtrack.

Overall though, this is a collection of fine songwriting by one of our most cherished singers. It's just a shame that it feels a little unnecessary.


20 is out now on Island Records.

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