Highlights include her singing with fiddle accompaniment, her old-style banjo-led songs, and her incorporation of Scottish ballads and tunes into her own style. The banjo tune John Lover’s Gone, to which banjo player John Whelan has added lyrics, has become a listeners’ favourite.
Instrumental and vocal accompaniments are provided by Joe Locker, Robin Gillan and Gail Williams.
” . . . the slow brooding numbers . . . allow Kate’s earthy, up-front vocals to shine against the backdrop of Gail Williams’ and Robin Gillan’s harmonies. The instrumentation is also top-notch, with Kate’s fleet-fingered fiddle and banjo work getting Sterling support from Joe Locker (guitar), Robin Gillan (banjo, mandolin, fiddle, harmonica and harmony vocals) and Gail Williams (harmony vocals).
Highlights include Bluejay/Piney Woods/Camp Chase, Hog Eyed man/Santa Anna’s Retreat, John Lover’s Gone, and the sheer instrumental brilliance of The Conundrum. But the real standouts are Ain’t No Grave, Coal Creek March/Payday at Coal Creek, Johnson Boys and the immaculate Teardrops Falling in the Snow. Be warned – this is genuine folk music, the real deal.”
Country Music International (awarded five stars)
“Ain’t No Grave is Kate’s first solo album, and it’s pure gold; a marvellous collection . . . An excellent line-up and a first class album . . . “
“For me, its two outstanding tracks are the title song – a rousing gospel piece from the repertoire of Estil C Ball – and the vibrant Coal Creek March / Payday at Coal Creek, recorded by Pete Steele in the 1930s for the Library of Congress, and popularised by Pete Seeger in the ’60s. Both pieces feature a good blend of voices and instruments, and are delivered with irresistible enthusiasm . . . Kate sounds at home with The Lady Gay – a West Virginia variant of The Wife of Usher’s Well. Her singing of this demanding ballad is relaxed and assured, with her fiddle providing a subtle contrast to the vocal line.”
Mustrad North American Music Reviews