Jump to Content

Welcome! You’re browsing the No Depression Archives

No Depression has been the foremost journalistic authority on roots music for well over a decade, publishing 75 issues from 1995 to 2008. No Depression ceased publishing magazines in 2008 and took to the web. We have made the contents of those issues accessible online via this extensive archive and also feature a robust community website with blogs, photos, videos, music, news, discussion and more.

Close This

Waxed - Record Review from Issue #35 Sept-Oct 2001

Kate Rusby

Little Lights (Compass)

When a couple attends a Hollywood tearjerker on their first date, they run the risk of enduring an awkward silence following the film. Nobody wants to blubber and sniffle in front of a near-stranger. If tears are shed in the dark theater, somebody better make a lighthearted joke on the way out, to transform the mood from sadness to levity.

A similar transition occurs at the end of Kate Rusby’s third solo album, Little Lights. The devastatingly mournful “My Young Man” is followed by two minutes of silence. Then the gentle hidden track, “The Big Ship Sails”, rises up to wash those tears away. The jovial sounds of a group singalong are most welcome at that moment.

“My Young Man” is the lament of a wife who must say goodbye to a husband dying from a disease he developed while working as a collier. Rusby, a South Yorkshire native who comes from a family of coal miners and folksingers, was born to write and sing such tragic fare. The tune opens with two a cappella verses, and concludes with a forlorn brass arrangement by Sandy Smith. Rusby’s intimate, pristine soprano is backed by instrumentation that is subtle without being too spare.

Little Lights is a quintessential British folk album; if you’re looking for a rapier, a fair maiden, or a good white steed, you’ve come to the right place. The captivating opener, “Playing Of Ball”, exemplifies Rusby’s aesthetic. Backed by lilting acoustic guitars, she sings of a disapproving father who kills his daughter’s young lover: the anguished woman vows to travel to “some far country” where she will mourn and love no more.

Rusby operates squarely within the folk tradition, even when selecting modern pieces to cover, such as Richard Thompson’s “Withered And Died”. Old-school purists and folk newbies will both be impressed. O, ye could roam for twelve months and more, on both sides of the great wide sea, and not find a finer work of art with more pure beauty.

Enjoy the ND archives? Consider making a donation with PayPal or send a check to:
No Depression, 460 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108


Did you enjoy this article? Start a discussion about it, or find out what others are saying in the No Depression Community forum.

Join the Discussion »

Find out what's going on in roots music. Share concert photos and videos, learn about new artists, blog about the music you love.

Join the No Depression Community »

Originally Featured in Issue #35 Sept-Oct 2001

Buy our history before it’s gone!

Each issue is artfully designed and packed full of great photos that you don‘t get online. Visit the No Depression store to own a piece of history.

Visit the No Depression Store »

From the Blogs

  • No Depression Is Getting a Facelift: A Note About What's Around the Bend
    Ever since we announced that No Depression had been acquired by FreshGrass back in March, we’ve heard from many of you with questions, concerns, and ideas about the future of this website and the community that gathers here. We created a forum topic at that time so we could organize these comments and refer to them frequently, which we have done as we’ve dev […]
  • Getting to Know Ashley Sofia -- Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist
    Have you ever had the feeling that a musician may have traveled through space and time during a recording project?  Music critics and fans are hailing Ashley Sofia as a 21st century reincarnation of the Laurel Canyon folk-rock sound  on the early 1970s. Ashley’s songwriting and captivating voice make for a great combination; she’s definitely worth a… […]
  • Learning Songwriting at the Feet of Steve Earle
    Steve Earle has his eye on the history books. Not for himself, necessarily - though I doubt he’d object - but for his art form, “songwriting as literature.” With Camp Copperhead, Steve seemed to be trying to secure this form a place in history. “Four days of singing and songwriting,” the marketing materials promised. “Hard core.” I’m a non-professional songw […]
  • Jack Clement – For Once And For All (Album Review)
    Allen, Reynolds, and a laid-back, masterful collection of familiar Clement-penned country classics. A decade of Clement-penned originals plus a pair of co-writes grace this late music legend’s third solo collection, released just short of a year after his passing aged 82. Memphis-raised Jack Henderson Clement launched his career with the renowned imprint Sun […]
  • Wise Old Moon - The Patterns (Album Review)
    Wise Old Moon. Sounds like a tall tale from an old children’s story book. Perhaps the namesake of a tavern or bookstore in a New England town that hasn’t quite caught up with time yet? But in this case it’s the name of a young and truly gifted roots music outfit from the Connecticut area. Every so often a record comes along that makes you happy this kind of […]
  • Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin I, II & III 2014 Remasters (Album Review)
    Has any music reviewer ever missed the mark more than John Mendelsohn in his 1969 Rolling Stone critique of Led Zeppelin’s scorching, finely honed debut? After calling the album self-indulgent, he labeled Jimmy Page “a very limited producer and a writer of weak, unimaginative songs” and dismissed Robert Plant’s “strained and unconvincing shouting.” The album […]

Shop Amazon by clicking through this logo to support NoDepression.com. We get a percentage of every purchase you make!

Subscribe To the No Depression Newsletter

Subscribe to the No Depression Newsletter