Kate Rusby does not pass this way very often so any folk fan worth their salt would undoubtedly have been clamouring for tickets to see her at Lighthouse.

That said, the award-laden Barnsley Nightingale did not quite fill the Concert Hall although there was a quality crowd for this Singy Songy Session Tour gig – the name coming from her ‘at home’ sessions shown online during covid.

Rusby has long been a mainstay of the northern folk circuit – 32 years of touring and 22 albums – yet is very much a national figure, a folk icon who somehow flies under the general consciousness.

This is somewhat surprising since she has worked with the likes of Kathryn Roberts, Seth Lakeman, Roddy Woomble, Beth Neilsen Chapman, Richard Hawley, KT Tunstall, Sara Jarosz and Sam Kelly.

She also provided the music, including the theme tune, a version of The Kinks’ Village Green Preservation Society, for Jennifer Saunders’ anarchic west country comedy vehicle Jam & Jerusalem back in 2006.

Rusby, now 50, is from musical stock in the Penistone area of Barnsley and is perhaps best known nationally for her devotion to Christmas music. She has released seven festive albums, the most recent being Light Years in 2023, and her Christmas tour remains firmly on the December calendar.

Her latest album, the 16-track 30: Happy Returns features a few of the aforementioned guest artistes on re-recorded versions of favourite songs from her three decades on the road.

So this concert had the feel of being something special – and here was Rusby performing on a small rug, rather like Joan Baez on this very stage 14 years ago, with an experienced band surrounding her.

Rusby, a diminutive but loud presence, took her place on a simply set stage with the incomparable Sam Kelly (anything stringed) to her right and double bassist/keyboards player Duncan Lyall and her husband Damien O’Kane (guitars) on her left. All were dressed in black and four giant spotlights illuminated them from the rear.

Seemingly suffering from a cough, the constantly amusing Rusby, whose speaking voice to these southern ears sounded like a cross between Bubble on Ab Fab and Peggy from Hi-de-Hi, might have mentioned once or twice that she was from Yorkshire. And, in the tradition of all good folkies, spent as long talking as she did singing.

Appropriately, she began with Walk The Road, the first song performed at the pandemic Singy Songy Sessions, followed by William and Davy, a cautionary tale of twins in unrequited love with the same girl, then The Lark, an old song inspired by walks with her dog Doris.

The Duke And The Thinker preceded a well-trodden cover of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds - the first song played in the Rusby/O’Kane household every day for a two-and-a-half year stretch during lockdown to awake the family with joy.

The Fairest Of All, also known as Yazza because the words of The Only Way Is Up fit perfectly to the tune, was followed by I Wonder What Is Keeping My True Love.

Two atmospheric songs topped and tailed the second half – As The Lights Go Out and Underneath The Stars – both inspired by looking up. The Yorkshire Couple was a hilarious ‘wedding song’, and Who Will Sing Me Lullabies was a tribute to a late friend.

Rusby left the stage, declining to return to demonstrate her Irish dancing prowess, the band alone played a couple of O’Kane’s folk reels, before the uplifting set concluded with Village Green Preservation Society.

Oh, and did I mention that she’s from Yorkshire?