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28 October 2014

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Kate Rusby
Kate Rusby

Safe as Folk

If folk has modern superstars, Kate Rusby is one of them (despite what she says herself). As she brings her album, The Girl Who Couldn’t Fly, to the Lowry, we asked her about songwriting, Graham Coxon’s art and working with her husband John McCusker.

Kate Rusby at the Lowry
Start Date:02/10/2005
Start Time:19:30
Prices:adult £16.50
Genres:Live Music
Venue Name:The Lowry
Address:Salford Quays
M50 3AZ
Box Office:0870 787 5780
Fax:0161 876 2001
Venue website
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Disability Facilities:wheelchairdisabled toilethearing loopguide dogs
Other Facilities:baby changinggift shoptoilet

How did Graham Coxon come to do the cover art?

Graham Coxon's cover for The Girl Who Couldn't Fly
Graham Coxon's artwork for the album

"Well, we have met Graham a few times, the first time at the very first BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. I had won Best Folk Singer that year and Graham very kindly presented it to me; since he has been to gigs when I have played in London. When it was time to think about my cover for this record I decided to not have a photo of me ‘again’, so I thought about having a painting.

"I have always been a fan of Graham’s art, so we asked him if he’d be up for it and he said yes. I gave him the title and left him to it. He came up with so many beautiful drawings, and this was the one that I chose, and I adore it. If I had seen it in an art gallery, I would have bought it!"

You've written a lot more of the songs on this collection. How do you think your writing compares to the traditional tunes?

Kate Rusby
Kate Rusby

"My songwriting is of course heavily influenced by traditional song, it’s the music I grew up with and has remained my first love. Because of that, most of my songs are story based, and not really about me or my life; there have been a couple in the past, but in general I prefer to listen to story-based song so that’s the kind of songs I write mostly."

Your website says you make 'folk for people who don't like folk'. Do you feel a responsibility to spread the joy of folk, so to speak?

"One person cannot carry forward a tradition, and it doesn’t need any help, the scene is thriving."
Kate Rusby on how important she is to the folk scene

"Ha ha! I never claimed that! Oh, I’d be quite arrogant if I did! That thing comes from people coming to my concerts who don’t like folk music, and at the end of the night they come up and say things like that to me, like, ‘I don’t like folk music but my pal dragged me along and I really enjoyed it’, and I always say to them, ‘well you do actually like folk music then because that’s all I do, everything you have heard tonight is folk’. I like it when that happens though because lots of people then delve further into the folk world and discover loads of other musicians and singers that they like, so it’s a good thing.

"As for feeling a responsibility… not at all; again it would be very arrogant to think I was that important. One person cannot carry forward a tradition, and it doesn’t need any help, the scene is thriving, especially in Newcastle and Edinburgh at the moment, there are brilliant musicians at every turn, folk music is safe."

How much of your success would you attribute to your relationship with your husband, John McCusker?

John McCusker
John McCusker

"I think myself and John are a great team, we have the same ideas and goals where music is concerned. He is an incredible musician and producer and I am very lucky to have worked with him on my records. As for attributing success, I have not got a clue, sorry!"

You're playing the Lowry in Salford, a venue you've played before. What do you think of the place?

"I love the Lowry; the theatre has such a great atmosphere. Even though it holds about 1800 people, the theatre goes up rather that back, so no-one is ever that far away. It’s one of my favourite places to play. It’s a fantastic building too!"

last updated: 15/09/05
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