Sweet Bells - Kate Rusby (5 stars)

Sweet Bells - Kate Rusby

(Pure)

If you missed its under-promoted first release a year ago, this is a lovely Christmas tonic, drawing on the carol-singing traditions of South Yorkshire to make the familiar charmingly new.

The airy innocence of Kate Rusby’s girlish delivery belies its craft, buoyed by bubbling accordion, delicate guitar and warm washes of brass from the Grimethorpe Colliery Band. Without the Scots influence of Rusby’s former partner John McCusker, this is thoroughly English folk music, and a timely reminder – in the run-up to the Celtic maelstrom of Hogmanay – of the virtues of a statelier but equally beguiling seasonal indulgence.

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