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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2010
Kate Rusby's previous albums have always featured a mix of traditional British folk songs (plus the occasional cover) and a selection of her own songs that, for most people, are virtually indistinguishable from the 'trad. arrs.' with which they rub shoulders. However, with 'Make the Light', all songs are written by Kate; moreover, she seems to be (temporarily?) redefining her metier as one of 'singer-songwriter' - albeit, one whose folk credentials still remain intact. You could hardly describe the music here as 'mainstream', but there is a slight shift in that direction. The music may not be authentic enough to appease some members of the 'meat and potatoes', open-toed sandals fraternity - but it is light-years away from the homogenized 'product' which regularly rolls off the conveyor belts of to-day's corporate music factories.

Kate doesn't disappoint with her vocals; she isn't a powerful singer, but her plaintive and fragile voice gradually permeates your consciousness - and there is always the added bonus of her Yorkshire accent. The album can be enjoyed also for its instrumental detail - and although she has changed her regular band members, these are top flight musicians and the playing is exemplary. There's the usual blend of acoustic guitars, double bass and diatonic accordion - other featured instruments include bouzouki and tenor banjo; there are string arrangements (1st./2nd. violins, viola, cello) on 4 tracks, and a few tracks have light percussion. Also, on 2 tracks, Kate has brought back musicians from the Grimethorpe Colliery Brass Band (first heard as an ensemble on her Christmas album,'Sweet Bells').

The songs are mainly slow to medium tempo - the only up-tempo one to speak of is 'The Wishing Wife'; some comments about my favourites :

THE WISHING WIFE - A wife who is less than enamoured with her husband's disposition. The wishing well duly grants her wishes - the outcome is unexpected, but more than acceptable; colourful lyrics with some dark humour. Up-tempo song with super accordion and banjo playing to the fore.

LET THEM FLY - Kate takes a not too subtle swipe at our politicians; basically, the song's message is that they lack credibilty, and 'you can't trust them as far as you can throw them' - although she conveys this message with far more eloquence. Mid-tempo song with a gentle lilt, includes a half minute bridge featuring the playing of various brass band instruments (cornet, flugelhorn, tenor horn, euphonium and tuba).

LATELY - Melancholic slow-tempo waltz which wouldn't sound too out of place on a Patty Griffin album. Rhythm is provided by double bass and very light percussion; accompaniment is from tenor guitar, bouzouki and stunning accordion from Julian Sutton. Spine-tingling vocals from Kate.

GREEN FIELDS - A slow tempo song which, lyrically, isn't one of the album's strongest. However, it is beautifully sung by Kate, and the playing (tenor guitar, bouzouki, double bass and accordion) gets as close to 'acoustic perfection' as you are likely get. It's a 5 minute song, and about half of this time is devoted to instrumentals only.

WALK THE ROAD - A medium tempo yet stirring song with an optimistic theme. It's the second song featuring the brass ensemble and the horn arrangement is quite lovely. Kate is joined by hubby Damien O'Kane who provides some fine harmony vocals (the album's only song with harmony vocals).

To sum up : Kate plays it safe with an album of music characterized by familiar sounds; but many music lovers, who appreciate those qualities often missing in much of to-day's popular music, will find it rewarding - Kate's palette is one of pastel shades rather than primary colours. The album has a preponderance of songs with subtle melodies and slow-ish tempos - a couple more up-tempo songs would have been welcomed. Nevertheless, there is much to enjoy about the music - be it the vocals, the playing or the songs.

If you like Kate Rusby, you might like this also : Threads by Ruth Notman
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2011
This is my fourth purchase of Kate's Music. If you already love Kate's music, there's more to love here. Like others have commented, the songs are mostly a slower pace but very well played and sung by Kate. I enjoyed the instrument quality in this release. I can tell with this one that Kate had more of a message in her lyrics but the delivery it top notch. Some songs are masterfully done and others are quite moving in their lyrics and delivery. Some of my favorites are:

Only Hope: My favorite. A slow melody but you can feel the passion in Kates voice especially when she sings "and you, you were my only hope...". The instrumentation here is very pleasant and excellent, just excellent. Also, a rarity in Kate's music, the use of an electric guitar played gently. I never tire of hearing it.

Lately: Reminds me of a British folk version of a county music song. Smooth and lazy like a warm summer day.

Walk the Road: A very spiritual and inspirational song. It reminds me of Canann's Land, also a very upbeat song. Nice use of the banjo on this song and others in this CD. A song that connects us all to each other and to our eternal lives.

Not Me: This song is creaping up on me. I love the flow of music and Kate's voice is special here.

Shout at the Devil: A very interesting song that grabs you every time you hear it. Again, there's a passion in Kate's voice and the driving beat keeps you interested.

One final note. I think as Kate put it, she wrote and composed all the songs on this one, so it's a bit of a departure from her normal format (traditional tunes) but somehow it sounds like all of her past music, which is just fine by me. Also, is it me or is the banjo becoming more prominent in her music?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2011
If you like British folk music (it's kin to celtic music), you probably already know about Kate. This set of songs is particularly nice, but then I say that about every Kate Rusby disk. She has a wonderful little waver in her voice (not vibrato exactly) that is contagious. If you're not familiar with her or the genre, think Nancy Griffith sings celtic. If that doesn't help, listen to the preview clips online. You might just love it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2011
Kate has released several albums containing covers of trad. songs mixed with her own. Here, the emphasis is on her songwriting and she absolutely delivers with an ability that transcends traditional and contemporary song. She is, really, one of the more important artists of our day. She carries on the legacy of Trad. British folk with the influence of modernity (in the best sense of the word). She is the Queen of the ballad.
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on March 2, 2013
I love Kate Rusby's voice, and her accompanists are usually top flight. The material on this album, though, is variable and tends toward the melancholic. Woe is me. I like the opening number, The Wishing Wife, with its uptempo beat and humor, but the lyrics leading up to the humorous ending are not very compelling. The protest song about politicians seems wimpy to anyone familiar with this genre. Compare Iris Dement's Wasteland of the Free, to take just one example from a singer/songwriter Rusby has covered (Our Town). The string arrangements on this Rusby album are lugubrious and tend to cover her voice on a few tracks. In short, if you have all the other albums and can't get enough of this fine singer, then you may be pleased with this album. If you are just getting acquainted with Kate Rusby, I'd recommend the outstanding Live from Leeds video and a couple of the following albums: 10, Sleepless (The Cobbler's Daughter is wonderful), Hourglass.
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on January 16, 2013
I really enjoy this album from Kate Rusby. It's a great addition to my music library. Her voice is amazing.
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on September 7, 2014
Kate is a shining light in the music world!
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