Kate Rusby performing at The Royal Concert Hall on Wednesday 21st December 2016

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

Audiences return year after year for Kate Rusby’s Christmas show and last night was no exception as a packed Concert Hall turned out to get themselves well and truly into the Christmas spirit. Delivering carols and traditional songs with emphasis on her native Yorkshire and some from deepest Cornwall, Rusby has an ethereal feel about her, as her voice captivates and grabs this audience for the whole of her set.

With an immense back catalogue, deciding upon a set list would without doubt have been a challenge, but all three of her albums of Christmas songs and carols and new material from her 14th studio album, Life In A Paper Boat were visited. With her pure, intimate and understated vocals she opened the evening with Wassailing before moving on to Bradfield and We’ll Sing Hallelujah.

With her infectious sense of humour, she made it all seem so easy as she radiated a genuine warmth. When she took a break between songs she entertained with her northern banter as she told stories about her two daughters and fellow band member husband, the very talented Damien O’Kane.

But it was that Rusby voice that resounded around the auditorium with the likes of Christmas Goose, a humorous and catchy story about a shaggy dog, the jazzy Winter Wonderland and Cornish Wassaling which is a jaunty drinking song that got us all in the mood. But it was the simplistic beauty of The Frost Is all Over that was the standout song as its soothing melodies conjured up pictures of snow and Christmas.

Ending the evening with a rousing encore of Big Brave Bill, a self penned ode to a Barnsley super hero who loves to drink Yorkshire tea, Rusby had managed to create an atmosphere of cold nights, warm fires, snowy Christmassy scenes and above all, friendship.