REVIEW: Paul Rhodes’s verdict on Katherine Priddy, The Crescent, York

Katherine Priddy at The Crescent: “You simply believe her and that’s a key part of the magic,” says revewer Paul Rhodes. Picture: Paul Rhodes

CERTAIN artists have ‘it’, an intangible something that allows their music to escape whatever genre they inhabit and reach a wider audience. Katherine Priddy is ostensibly a folk musician but her winning voice and modern takes on timeless themes of love, kin and connection see her poised for much greater success.

Performing as a trio, Priddy benefited from having two very talented performers on her side:  George Boomsma on guitars (from Northallerton, by way of Holland and Birmingham) and Harry Fausing Smith on violin and guitar.

Boomsma teed her set up perfectly with his winning opening set. Precise in appearance, style and delivery, his mostly melancholy songs were capped off with a dry sense of humour that we readily embraced. He’d already sold his stash of Promise Of Spring albums, so his warm reception was  clearly not a one-off. Something of a whistling wizard it turns out too.

Northallerton musician George Boomsma performing his solo set. Picture: Paul Rhodes

They have all known each other and played together for years, and this rapport was obvious. Boomsma was alongside Priddy when she last played in York at the National Centre for Early Music in 2022.

All three sang, between them creating an excellent version of the soundscapes crafted on Priddy’s sophomore album, The Pendulum Swing. While note perfect (as the tour nears its end), it never felt slick or rote.

The Pendulum Swing leaves behind the classical interests of her debut, rooting itself in home and family. First House On The Left memorialises a normal home while A Boat On The River takes her dream of living on a houseboat to elegiac heights. With her travelling lifestyle, you wonder if that boat is probably always around the next bend.

Katherine Priddy: “Winning voice and modern takes on timeless themes of love, kin and connection”

Priddy is careful not to get too sentimental. A highlight was her ode to tipsy 3AM calls to an ex- partner, Anyway, Always. Played as though leaving an answerphone message, her poise was as impeccable as ever, with no hint whatsoever of any slurring!

There was enough variation to keep us on our toes. Does She Hold You Like I Did and Letters From A Travelling Man kicked up the tempo, with lovely melodies to carry them.

The beating heart of the set was of course Priddy herself, a Warwickshire native with age-old preoccupations. Like Kate Rusby, she can connect with an audience, not so much with humour but with openness and sharing just enough to draw you in. You simply believe her and that’s a key part of the magic.

Harry Fausing Smith on violin, performing in Katherine Priddy’s trio at The Crescent. Picture: Paul Rhodes

The seated, sold-out Crescent audience were in her thrall from the beginning, each song met with loud applause and more polite exhales of “lovely”and “wonderful”.

As the trio left the stage, following the well-chosen Ready To Go, like the May blossom she was gone. Fortunately, there is no need for a 12-month wait, as Priddy is playing at July’s Deer Shed Festival where she should go down a storm (probably in a storm).

Review by Paul Rhodes, 15/5/2024

Katherine Priddy plays Deer Shed Festival, Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, near Thirsk, on July 26.  Box office:

Until next time: Katherine Priddy, George Boomsma and Harry Fausing Smith take a bow at the close of their gig at The Crescent, York. Deer Shed Festival awaits in July. Picture: Paul Rhodes

News just in….

KATHERINE Priddy will play Pocklington Arts Centre on Wednesday, February 26 2025 on her final run of The Pendulum Swing Tour. Tickets for the 8pm show are on sale at or on 01759 301 547.