Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Ruth Notman

19 November 2019

I remain eternally grateful to our good friend Steve Heap for introducing me to the music of young Nottingham folk singer Ruth Notman. In 2008 Steve's label, Mrs Casey Music, released ‘Threads’ - the debut album by the 18-year-old Ruth Notman (reviewed here in February 2008) and in 2009 I saw her perform most of the songs from the album at The Stables in Wavendon (reviewed here in April 2009). Ruth took an extended break from music to complete a degree in Medical Science followed by postgraduate studies as a Physician Associate. Ten years after I saw her at The Stables she returned to the folk scene with a new album of duets with Sam Kelly, ‘Changeable Heart’ (reviewed here in March 2019). And last Friday we returned to The Stables to see the 30-year-old Ruth Notman. It was wonderful to hear her distinctive voice again, with its remarkable quivering vibrato making even solo unaccompanied songs sound like an ensemble. She sang songs from ‘Threads’ – still one of my favourite albums – and spoke about how it felt to revisit songs she had written as a teenager. It was great to see her really enjoying performing: she was relaxed, chatty and smiley – a more polished performer now. We had a lovely evening: my highlights included the jaunty story-song ‘Limbo’ (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlcM17Jc3Lw) and the beautiful ballad ‘The Lonely Day Dies’ (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4Tc7n0MPKE). And, with apologies to every Scottish singer who has recorded it, I think Ruth Notman’s version of Dougie Maclean’s ‘Caledonia’ is unbeatable: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4xREBu9-XE

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