YORKSHIRE folk songstress Kate Rusby returned to the City Hall on Sunday night with her popular winter tour.

Famed for her rejuvenation of traditional Christmas songs, Rusby sang a selection of well known carols, or ‘pub songs’, along with some of her own compositions in her unmistakable raspy voice.

The accomplished folk singer has been performing for 26 years now with a festive tour for the past 11.

Kate has a huge following in Salisbury, indeed the city hall was near capacity, and it was easy to see why. With her trustee reindeer Ruby lit up on the corner of the stage, she was full of anecdotes as she introduced each song, taking us through its history, with a few digressions along the way.

Donning her festive shoes (a recent purchase while playing in Brighton, she told us), she opened the evening with traditional Yorkshire carol Hark Hark, before continuing with well known Deck the Halls, Let it Snow, Little Bilbury (Hark the Herald Angels Sing), Sunny Bank (a Cornish version of I Saw Three Ships), Cranbrook (While Shepherds), before moving onto a delightful Cornish Wassailing song, Little Town of Bethlehem and Paradise – a moody song, because, Kate said, there are always bad moods at Christmas.

Returning after the interval, Kate continued with a number of her own songs, including Santa Never Brings Me a Banjo (Kate’s husband plays the banjo), The Frost is all Over, which she wrote while walking her dogs at home in rural Yorkshire and pub song Bradfield (named after a little village outside Sheffield).

She then handed over to the boys in the band, including a five-piece brass ensemble, to play us a festive instrumental medley, which was hugely entertaining.

Kate applauded her band as she returned to the stage with Let the Bells Ring (A Cornish new year song) and Sweet Chiming Bells. Before finishing with a two-song encore, including Joy to the World (with an 80’s Christmas TV theme), she introduced and praised her whole crew also thanking the audience for coming out in the howling wind and rain.

Kate Rusby has not only a beautiful voice but a canny knack of engaging with her audience. It was an uplifting evening full of festive joy.