Nottingham's 18 year old Ruth Notman has, with her debut album, Threads (released on Mrs Casey Music on 19/11/07), achieved a very lovely thing. The album contains a mix of skillful covers and original material; the former have obviously been chosen carefully and work very well. Notman opens proceedings by greeting us with a consummate version of Nic Jones' Billy Don't You Weep For Me, before moving swiftly on to the definitive stand-out track of Caledonia by Dougie MacLean. Her piano playing is delightful and understated and she is joined by some very capable musicians, including being accompanied with some vocal harmonies by none other than Bella Hardy.
Notman reached the finals of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award in 2006 and comes Kate Rusby approved - Rusby has been quoted as saying "Fantastic...really special" and "I was just totally blown away...absolutely brilliant" - which is high praise indeed for a girl who is still so wet behind the ears.
The praise is well deserved and this is a name that I have no doubt that you will be hearing, certainly in folky circles, with increasing frequency. On Threads she has achieved an accomplished and confident melding of the traditional and the modern. The only let down is the bonus track What's Going On? (nope, not a Marvin Gaye cover). This, according to the CD cover is "Ruth in a different style", i.e. pop in the vein of Kelly Clarkson or Avril Lavigne, where she comes off sounding entirely unremarkable.
This said, if Notman sticks to what she is (very) good at, and I have a feeling that she will (let's chalk this down to being a youthful experiment...we all make mistakes, don't we Kate Rusby? What were you thinking in agreeing to duet with Ronan Keating??), I am sure that she will become another superb example of the thriving young, British folk scene.
Visit Ruth on MySpace.