KATE Rusby was just put the finishing touches to her fourth Christmas album, a little tree decoration in the corner of the home studio lending a solitary winter’s touch to the out-of-season recording sessions.

Only a week away, Kate’s fourth Underneath The Stars festival is looming large at Cannon Hall Farm, but the ever busy Barnsley nightingale still found time to play Pocklington Arts Centre’s Platform Festival stage at The Old Station last Thursday.

It was a warm, almost balmy summer’s night, though the stoic security staff kept their jackets on, and meanwhile a persistent pigeon kept flying into the rafters, as if the dull grey bird with nature’s least musical birdsong was mesmerically drawn to hear the real deal.

Kate has been singing her siren songs on the folk circuit for 25 years now, picking up two honorary doctorates and a Freeman of Barnsley status on the way incidentally, and her 2017 setlist reflects her silver anniversary, cherry-picking from Rusby albums down the decades to reactivate such early favourites as William And Davy (wherein rival brothers clash over a mutual crush) and Sir Eglamore (the dragon song).

Yorkshire Tea mug her unfailing companion; homely, humorous banter her natural audience bond to counterpoint the songs’ mellifluous melancholia; there is a constancy to a Kate Rusby concert, but changes too, whether in personnel through the years, or now the increasing prog-folk insertions of the Moog keyboard, by both Duncan Lyall and Nick Cooke, and Damien O’Kane’s willingness to add electricity to his caressed guitar playing.

This welcome dip into experimental waters bore fruit on last year’s Life In A Paper Boat album, particularly on the title track, one of the night’s highlights, and the haunting Hunter Moon, while tradition still reins on Pace Egging Song and The Ardent Shepherdess. Only Desire What You Have, a song for our times, struck a chord too.

It was in Pocklington, at the Arts Centre many hunter moons ago, that your reviewer was first as enchanted as Wednesday’s pigeon intruder by Kate’s voice. Who Will Sing Me Lullabies? cast her spell once more.