Folk singer Kate Rusby to play in Preston

Music was always in Kate Rusby's blood.

Monday, 10th April 2017, 1:47 pm
Kate Rusby - Life in a Paper Boat

Music was always in Kate Rusby’s blood.

Whilst she was growing up in Barnsley there was no escaping it, as her home was filled with melodic sounds and her parents took her and her siblings to music festivals up and down the country.

Now she is a critically acclaimed folk artist in her own rights and she still has the backing of her family, through her dad’s record company, Pure Records.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Kate Rusby

Her brother Joe is her sound engineer, her sister Emma works in the office, and her mum, Ann, used to do the accounts.

Strengthening the bond even further, they helped her to establish the Underneath The Stars Festival (named after her 2003 album) in South Yorkshire with her husband Damien O’Kane, and the Nicholson family.

The 43-year-old says: “I have been singing and playing music since I could speak.

“My dad, Steve, used to be a sound engineer and during the summer we were always at festivals, helping him out.

Kate Rusby

“My parents were in a Ceilidh band and my sister played the fiddle.

“I was six when I started to play the violin and that developed into the guitar when I was 14 and I taught myself the piano.

“I was immersed in music. We would all sing together, especially in the car as it was a long journey to the music festivals.”

It is no surprise Kate has launched a successful career as a folk singer, as she now celebrates 25 years as a solo artist.

Kate Rusby

She recalls: “When I was in my late teens I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I went to Barnsley Performing Arts School which was amazing. Acting and drama was my main passion back then.

“I never thought I would end up singing as a career and here I am 25 years later.

“My first gig on my own was at Holmfirth Folk Festival 25 years ago.

“A friend of the family was helping out and asked me to perform there. My head was saying no, but my voice suddenly said yes,

Kate Rusby

“It was very scary but I did it. Then other people asked me to do a spot at their festival and it grew from there,”

She released her breakthrough album, Kate Rusby & Kathryn Roberts, a collaboration with her friend and fellow Barnsley folk singer Kathryn Roberts in 1995.

The following year she joined all-female Celtic folk band the Poozies and soon became the lead vocalist.

Rusby was also a member of the folk group Equation, with Kathryn Roberts and Mercury-nominated artist Seth Lakeman.

In 1997, with the help of her family, Rusby released her first solo album, Hourglass. Since then she has gone on to receive acclaim in her home country and abroad and her family continues to help her with all aspects of her professional career.

Rusby’s previously unreleased song Wandering Soul was used in the soundtrack for Billy Connolly’s World Tour of New Zealand, which aired on BBC television in 2004.

Rusby also collaborated with Boyzone singer Ronan Keating with All Over Again, which peaked at No. 6 in June 2006 and has sung with Eddi Reader, Blur’s Graham Coxon, and Ella Edmondson.

The mother-of-two also made a vocal contribution to the successful debut solo album of Roddy Woomble, the lead singer of Idlewild. In the same year her cover of The Kinks’ The Village Green Preservation Society was used as the theme tune to the BBC One television sitcom Jam & Jerusalem.

Her other works include festive treats Sweet Bells, While Mortals Sleep and The Frost is All Over, as well as Make the Light, a collection of self-penned songs, and Ghost, which featured traditional songs and three originals.

Her 14th solo album, Life in a Paper Boat, was released last year.

To celebrate her work, Kate is embarking on a UK tour, which kicks off at Preston Charter Theatre on May 10.

Kate adds: “I love singing to people and telling stories in my songs and the songs of others.

“The themes are as relevant today as they were when they were first written.”

To book tickets for Kate call 01772 804 444 or visit are from £24.