Interview: Ruth Notman

Rob GarrattPerforming music since the age of 13 and tipped as a rising star of the folk scene, ROB GARRATT spoke to Ruth Notman ahead of her debut gig in Norwich.Further listening: Ruth NotmanRob Garratt

Performing music since the age of 13 and tipped as a rising star of the folk scene, ROB GARRATT spoke to Ruth Notman ahead of her debut gig in Norwich.

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Ruth Notman was a finalist in the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards 2007 and has since been gigging around the country at festivals and folk clubs and spending time in the studio recording her debut album.

Threads demonstrates her pure and powerful voice which stunningly conveys stories of love, loss, adventure and heartache, weaving through simple stripped down ballads and soaring above sweeping string arrangements.

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Notman's quirky piano melodies and catchy guitar riffs are augmented with cello from Hannah Edmonds, melodeon from Saul Rose, fiddle from Roger Wilson (Wood, Wilson, Carthy) and harmony singing from Bella Hardy.

It has already won much acclaim.

t How's the tour going?

We're half way through it and it's going brilliantly, we've played really well so far. It's the longest string of dates we're had so far.

t How did your career get going?

I started professionally just over a year ago. I started out on the folk scene when I was 13, but I didn't do it properly until I was 16 and 17 and I entered the BBC2 Young Folk Awards, which is a good opportunity for young folk musicians, you get to play the festivals if you win.

t You did pretty well from it.

Yeah, I didn't win but I did really well through that. I signed with the label who ran the awards and they put out my debut album Threads, which did really well and got four star reviews with the Independent and Mojo and other places I can't remember.

t How did that praise feel?

I was 18 or 19 at the time, it was a really good feeling, we're working on the follow up now.

t Is there a lot of pressure after the acclaim of the last one?

It's unbelievable to follow that one up now. We're recording now and we're just hoping it's as good as the last one. We've got some new musicians and it's all quite different.

t How?

I've matured since the last one. I've had the chance to do some more upbeat and more summery sounding sounds, there's less ballads the last one. I've had a bit more opportunity to do more arrangements with the songs.

t Ever been to Norwich before?

No, I don't think I have.

t How did you get into folk?

My music teacher was in a band called The Albion Band and they have a competition in the East Midlands for young musicians from 11 to 16 and he encouraged me to enter when I was 12 and I was runner up. I kept on entering every year but never won, but from there I got the basics.

t What appealed to you about the music?

It just appealed to me. My parents weren't folkies but that had they had CDs lying round. I like the whole history of the songs. I listened to a lot of traditional artists.

t How did you start writing songs?

I started song-writing for my GCSEs and realised I enjoyed it - until I had to write a song I didn't realise I could. I writr about life experiences and emotions, the same old same old.

t What can the audience expect on Thursday?

If they heard Threads they can hear a lot of those songs, some new songs, lots of audience participation and a good time.

t Looking further ahead what do you see?

I am aim to keep doing what I'm doing and see how it goes. I would love to do it all my life but I just want to keep going and push it as far as I can.

t The Ruth Notham Trio is at Norwich Arts Centre on March 26.

Further listening: Ruth Notman