Kate Rusby The Girl Who Couldn't Fly

Kate Rusby has quietly been making a name for herself in the realm of British folk music for the past decade and this record — her sixth — finds her true to form. Titled for her actual fear of flying, this lovely release lays bare some of the compositional excess of previous outings to showcase her clear, high alto voice to stunning effect. Thirteen songs (seven originals) underline her love of romantic balladry and the essence of British folk music with an eye to stripping things down to bare bones and a modicum of accompaniment. The songs are key and her own are fast becoming a benchmark for new traditional. "Moon Shadow” is as graceful a vehicle for her enchanting, angelic voice while the reworked traditional tune, "You Belong to Me” proves the album’s jaw-dropping showstopper. English folk imbued with the sensual serenity of youth? Cue up "Little Jack Frost,” a throwaway bonus originally written for a BBC cartoon, and discover the revitalisation, if not the future, of British folk — in five minutes or less. (Compass)