Monday, April 06, 2009

Ruth Notman

6 April 2009

'Threads', the debut CD by young Nottingham folk singer Ruth Notman, was one of my favourite discoveries of 2008. So I leapt at the chance to hear Ruth live at The Stables. The new 'Stage 2' performance space was absolutely packed: we got the last two seats on the front row and later arrivals were turned away. The music was wonderful - most of the songs from 'Threads' plus some from Ruth's second album (due to be released in July), impeccably performed. Ruth Notman has a great voice - distinctive and characterful - and plays guitar and piano impressively. Her repertoire is catchy and varied - including traditional tunes and modern songs drawing on the folk tradition. Her's is not precious or intense folk music: it's full of vitality and often rather jolly. Like that other young English folk singer (who actually sings backing vocals on 'Threads') Bella Hardy (reviewed here in March 2008), Ruth Notman benefits from a more experienced musician accompanying her and helping guide her through the challenge of developing her stage presence and between-song patter. In this case the older hand is Saul Rose on melodeon and Ruth was also joined by Hannah Edmonds on 'cello. Unfortunately, the number of times she filled the silences with "so" or "right" and the occasions when the performers ended up talking to each other and ignoring the audience were a bit distracting. I am sure her concert presentation will improve with experience. There was no sign of nerves or lack of confidence in Ruth Notman's singing, however. She did not disappoint and I'm really looking forward to her new album.

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