Ghost is your first studio album since your 20th anniversary; did you see it more as being a new beginning, the start of another decade, or as a continuation, Kate?

"I didn't see it as a new beginning as I didn't feel that the album 20 was the end of something! I saw it more of a celebration and marking a point in time. The album Ghost was a continuation of my work really. It's always a very nice thing to find and create new songs, and I was definitely ready for it after the re-visits on the 20 album.

"I'm often asked if I prefer to be on tour or in the studio, and I love both as one follows on from the other in a never-ending circle really. I love being in the studio creating new songs and while I'm there I can't wait to take the new songs out to play them live; then after a while, I can't wait to be in the studio creating again and on it flows!"

To quote you: “We had great fun in the studio creating all different sounds to enhance the songs; it's something we haven't really tried before”. What prompted you and Damien [husband and fellow musician Damien O'Kane] to experiment with effects and electric sounds, and what do they add to your music?

"We did have a great time! I suppose the sounds were a result of Damien taking a joint producer's seat. He has been experimenting with his own music and sounds, not to mention the hundreds of guitar pedals he has.

"I've been wanting to experiment a bit more with reverbs and delays etc, as we have always been quite cautious in that respect, but this time we piled it on, then reined it in to where we felt the noises and sounds complemented and enhanced the music rather than overtook it. We also have the pleasure of a great electric guitarist called Stevie Iveson, who has brought a whole new dimension to the album, and he's actually on tour with us at the moment too. It was a careful balancing act. I love how it all turned out though, it feels all fresh!"

Electric sounds, Kate. Is this your "Bob Dylan goes electric" moment?!!

"Ha ha ha, no one has shouted 'Judas' yet! And it's definitely not a midlife crisis 'cos I got that over and done with in my 20s. It's not a radical departure or anything. As my good friend Ron Block described it, 'You stretched and freshened the sounds and the roots are still all intact. In a tree that is called Growth'. He has a great way with words, but it is exactly the way I feel about the album; green growth but still with the roots."

On which songs are the effects and electric sounds most effective?

"Oh, that's a tough question. There are a few songs that some people may not even notice the effects running through it, but if you take them off and listen again, the difference in the depth would be astonishing. The two songs that I think one would notice the effects the most would be first track, The Outlandish Knight, and the last track, Ghost. Especially Ghost as it is very sparse and airy, just me playing piano and singing, so we were able to let things drift around and in and out to create quite a spooky, ethereal feel to it."

Are you and Damien tempted to take this experimentation further and, if so, how far might you push it?

"Oh yes! In fact Damien is in the studio at the moment working on his next solo album. It's quite a radical change from his first but it sounds so meaty and modern. The next album I make will be a Christmas album that we will start in the spring, I doubt that it will be an experimental punk album or anything like that, but lets wait and see."

What do you consider to be the signature song on Ghost and why?

"Again I would say Outlandish Knight and Ghost. The former has the full band and a string quartet with all the sounds and noises alongside it, so it's pretty full on. I feel it's a bit like opening the door on a cold windy day; there's a lot going on. Whereas the latter, Ghost, is more like opening the door to a still moonlight night with space for your mind to drift. These two songs are the extremes and have the most different soundscapes to my other albums; the songs in between on the album have some of the same qualities but not as apparent."

Why are we fascinated by ghosts, friendly or otherwise?

"Who wouldn't be! We have a ghost in a room in our house; we have seen it three times; we asked the previous owners about it and they had seen and felt it too. We feel it's not a threat and it's most welcome. It dwells in our music room, so it's nice to have the company when I am in there playing and writing. In fact I wrote the song Ghost for him in that very room.

"I've always been fascinated with songs about ghosts though, as they have such an intense passion and almost physical, painful longing for a true love that you just can't reach. The human heart is at both extremes in one go, bursting with joy to be seeing their true love again, yet in the depths of pain that they can't hold them. It's not something I think about every day, mind; I am a happy soul really!"

Which songs from the new album will you play at Scarborough Spa on Saturday?

"We'll be playing all but two from the new album, so lots of them. Of course including Ghost and Outlandish Knight."

Looking further ahead, the Kate Rusby At Christmas concerts are on the horizon. Will there be any new additions to the repertoire this winter, after the Cornish invasion of last winter?!

"Oh yes, the Cornish invasion will still be there as we all really loved playing that song last year. I have strong links to Cornwall and they have their own local carols that are sung in pubs, just like we do up here, so it's perfect really.

"It's nice to have another stash of carols to tap into, but don't tell them! I have just begun work on new songs for the Christmas tour, so I'm not sure how many brand new ones will be in there, but we will have to do some of the favourites too like Sweet Bells. I think there would be riots outside if we didn't! And that would be me starting it! I can't tell you just how lovely it is to hear audiences singing along to these South Yorkshire carols. It's such a special thing, I just adore it."

Lastly, Kate, Ghost is already available from your website, but there appears to be another launch on November 10. Please explain.

"Ha! Well, as ever we have ploughed our own furrow when it comes to making and releasing albums. Luckily we are our own bosses as we run our own record company [Pure Records], so we don't have to be in line with anyone else.

"We had the album finished in time to have a special launch at our first ever Underneath The Stars Festival in July; we just thought it would be really lovely to have that as the first place anyone could hear it or acquire it, so we did just that. It will be officially released in November to tie in with the Christmas tour, so we can promote it properly. Hopefully that will all be in full swing by the time we get to the York Barbican."

Kate Rusby plays Scarborough Spa, Saturday, 7.30pm; doors, 7pm. Box office: 01723 821888 or

Kate Rusby At Christmas, York Barbican, December 12, 7.30pm; Harrogate International Centre, December 19, 7.30pm; York, 0844 854 2757 or; Harrogate, 01423 502116 or