Despite being her first release of entirely self penned tracks, Make The Light by no means marks any kind of reinvention for Kate Rusby. Already acclaimed for her ability to take original material and make it sound like traditional folk, she retains the pure and unadorned vocal, wistful and sometimes humourous lyrical turn, and solid musical collaborations which have previously won her so many accolades. In short, fans are not likely be disappointed.
Opener The Wishing Wife is a lively jig set to accordian and banjo which shows flickers of the humour characterising Rusby during her live shows. Though a shame that it’s the only up tempo track to be heard, there is still enough variation in both the lyric and instrumentation to keep up momentum through to Four Stars, itself a dreamy affair set to acoustic guitar. By contrast The Mocking Bird with its topical, albeit ambiguous, rhetoric exemplifies Rusby’s aptitude for bringing the content of her songs bang up to date.
Whilst critics have argued that she fails to do anything new, the inclusion of protest song Let Them Fly should go someway towards showing Kate Rusby is definitely not just stuck in the ‘Radio 2 rut’. Shout To The Devil is a similar highlight along with the achingly beautiful and possibly semi-autobiographical Only Hope, and with husband Damian O’Kane’s rich vocal on Walk The Road it’s clear that this album isn’t going to have any low points. Assured musicianship, gentle yet thoughtful lyrics and Rusby’s unmistakable vocal feature as ever, and whilst there is no one clear highlight as there may have been on previous releases her first set of original compositions is still a total triumph.