01. The Goodman
02. The Daughter of Megan
03. Let Me Be
04. Cruel
05. The Blind Harper
06. The White Cockade
07. Young James
08. Falling
09. Bring Me A Boat
10. Polly
11. Sweet Williams Ghost
12. Underneath the Stars

Kate’s debut solo album ‘Hourglass’ is a superb album, striking in the simplicity of her beautiful vocals and the restrained acoustic backing; the two subsequent discs are more musically sophisticated and adventurous, and while they’re both strong albums they don’t have the same charm as the debut album.

‘Underneath the Stars’ is a welcome return to the more open ‘Hourglass’ sound, it’s acoustic guitar led with a wide range of other acoustic instruments across the disc – it’s still musically rich and detailed but there are fewer instruments in each song and this creates an openness to the mix which really benefits Kate’s vocals.

As with all the previous solo discs this is a mixture of traditional songs, her own material and traditional lyrics put to her own tunes, and as before the balance is excellent – the choice of trad sourced material and Kate’s 4 self-penned songs sit together well.

As this is a folk album you’d expect there to be a bloody mess with bodies liberally scattered throughout the 12 songs……surprisingly there are none (although there is a ghost), instead we get deception, girls pining for would-be partners out at sea, and sneaky tests of devotion.

It’s a consistent album from start to finish, but it has some spectacular highlights, ‘The Good Man’ is a wonderful trad song set to a Rusby tune – great lyrics and an infectious melody make for a truly memorable track; ‘Let Me Be’ is an excellent tale of a girl witheringly dismissing would be suitors only to be ignored by the one she wants; but the obvious stand-out is ‘The Blind Harper’ an outrageous story of successful Royal theft and deception – a superb track taken from Nic Jones’ sadly unavailable ‘From the Devil to A Stranger’.

‘Underneath the Stars’ is an exceptional disc, Kate’s voice is as beautiful as ever, the choice of material is strong and the instrumental accompaniment subtle but dynamic.  It’s easily her best yet, and along with ‘Hourglass’ is likely to become a folk classic over time.  Not to be missed.


CD (Cat No: 12789)

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