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Kath Reade - Singer / Songwriter

Reviews / Press

Review of Kath’s CD “Where the Good Hearts Dwell”

R2 Magazine November 2015

“… its simplicity is just wonderful, and its attachment to a community – and real politics – is something Bono and his pals could only dream of.” – Boff Whalley

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Fatea online magazine November 2015

“…an excellent album that is poignant, uplifting and comes from the heart.” – David Chamberlain

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Fatea Magazine April 2015

Kath Reade has been making music now for more years than she probably cares to remember. She performed in the early days of the now renowned Herga Folk club, a club that retains its interest very much in singers. Her early years as a musician were partly curtailed by her father's insistence that she finish her education, so instead she went into the NHS, eventually rising to the post of Trust Chairman.

Outside of her day job, she retained her passion for music, meeting her husband in a folk club and as a couple going on to start their own. That passion also found a home in her politics and Kath has spent years working with and campaigning for the people that society has a tendency to try and leave behind.

The two big threads in her life were brought together as she became more involved in music therapy and sound as a healing force and this remains one wing of Kath as a musical tour de force and it really does provide a context for her most recent album "Let Your Heart Sing".

The twin themes of justice for all and music as a force for good intertwine as surely as the snakes interact with Hermes staff. Make no mistake, "Let Your Heart Sing" is an album that is as much about making a difference from the outside as it is about building up the inside and becoming more at home in the world.

Kath drafts in her son, jazz pianist Shaun, who, not coincidently, also works as a music therapist and is there, not only with the music of the album, but very much with the ideas that power it. "Let Your Heart Sing" is an album that feels like it's there to booster hope, make you stronger within yourself and does so without feeling like it's trying to push a philosophy down your throat.

There are moments of humour on the album, such as, "In The Jungle" which incorporates slices of "Wimoweh" into the composition and makes the song a lighter prospect than the early part of the song implies it might be.

"Let Your Heart Sing" is food for the spirit, every time I've heard the album, I've left it feeling happier than I went into it and that's never a bad thing. Music as a healing force absolutely, but more importantly, Kath Reade has an album that it entertaining and that encourages you back, time and time again.

Neil King


FolkWords magazine March 2015

The human compassion and implicit understanding that exudes from ‘Let Your Heart Sing’, the latest album from Kath Reade is enough to break through the hardened shell of a cynical journalist, well almost. It’s not often that you’re treated to a thoroughly uplifting, feel-good album, there’s always a catch. Often there’s a distinct feel that the benevolence is manufactured, alternatively, with certain ‘inspirational’ albums there’s that awful apprehension that any minute the album will break into totally artificial ‘happy-clappy’ joyousness. Not this one. Not a bit of it. Here’s a singer songwriter believing and living every word, and it comes through as wholly sincere.

With an earnest, amiable voice that makes its point without the need for anything to add other than calmly poignant lyrics, Kath’s songs prompt the art of attentive listening. Along with the lush vocals and some insistent electric fiddle cuts, there’s a highly addictive hook and luscious melody behind ‘Flash is in a Punk Band’, the tranquil involving narrative of ‘Singing as One’ and then there’s the sombre sorrow of ‘So Strange’ examining how love changes - “There’s a history between you that you're both dragging around” … so often true. Kath offers a perceptive scrutiny through ‘An Ordinary Man’ while the achingly mournful recounting of ‘Dozen Red Carnations’ is as potent as they come. And there’s the absolutely perfect ‘Life is like a Shakespeare Play’ … a personal tale, but if those a certain age don’t identify with its sentiment I’ll be amazed.

The next time you feel you’re swimming against the tide, this music will lift you above the waves. Some of the lyrics may ‘bring water to the eyes’ because their touch is perfect. Find Kath Reade here: www.kathreade.com

Playing on ‘Let Your Heart Sing’ are Kath Reade (vocals, guitar, spinning gong), Rob van Sante (backing vocal, acoustic and electric guitars, ebow, ukulele, percussion, drums, double bass, bodhran, shakuhachi, keyboards), Alan Reid (accordion, harpsichord), Ian Fairbairn (electric fiddle), Shaun Reade (piano, double bass), Tony Charnock (fiddle) and Rahel Guzelian (backing vocal).

Reviewer: Tim Carroll


Review of Kath Reade live performance – Bare Arts, Todmorden 29/09/2013

Tykes’ News Winter 2013/14

A live performance from Kath Reade is unmissable. She is an artist who is not afraid to expose her inner being as she touches yours. Her honest lyrics and compelling melodies enthral with a stunning delivery, deliciously infused with the warm spice of humour.

Kath performed songs from her past albums as well as the recently released and aptly titled 'Devotion to Song'. She started with the soothingly beautiful 'I am on a Journey', a song inspired by the simple joy of walking hand in hand with her husband on holiday abroad.

Each song's accompaniment expertly enhanced the listener's experience without being fussy or overbearing. The unobtrusive finger-style guitar in 'Gypsy Eyes', on which the lyrics rode comfortably: the driving beat, reflecting her rock'n'roll pedigree, in numbers such as 'Starting Now': the atmospheric plunking of the African thumb piano on the Maya Angelou poem 'Come and Be My Baby' which Kath set to music: the Indian Shruti Box drone in her traditionally styled 'The Cabin Boys Initiation', whereas 'Kathleen', introduced by Kath as perhaps a song for a daughter she never had, was sung a capella.

Kath Reade's multi-textured vocals dipped and soared, seemingly with ease, which, along with a relaxed and almost wicked sense of fun emerging between songs, ensured that her audience were fully engaged.

Many of her compositions invited audience participation, from the slightly flippant "Hey nonnie no, ho nonnie no...." in 'Life is Like a Shakespeare Play', to the gentle balladic chorus of her autobiographical 'Song of the Irish Exile', telling of her Irish roots with obvious affection.

While it was the wealth and variety of Kath's own songs which gave the concert its shape and character, towards the end she inserted an occasional old favourite: Dylan's 'Forever Young'......Paxton's 'Last Thing on My Mind', and convincingly rockin' onwards with 'Money Honey' and 'Whole Lotta Shakin', setting feet a-tapping and the shelves of bottled Todmorden-brewed ale a-jangling.

By the end of the performance it was plain to see that Kath had delighted  all present. The crafting of her songs, the warmth of her demeanour, and her unassuming manner ensured that by the end we felt we had spent quality time with a good friend.

Rahel Guzelian



Tykes’ News Winter 2013/14

‘Devotion to Song’              Kath Reade       Splid Records splidcd0011

With seven recordings under her belt since ‘Songs to be Sung’ at the turn of the millennium Kath is at the top of her game and this fine offering shows her at her lyrical best.

The second track, ‘Heart & Head’, is sounding Country as Kath bemoans growing up, leaving behind her childhood. It’s a-rite-of-passage song which will resonate with many of us. Hopefully she’s hung onto her inner child, mine is a constant comfort. Her lyrics are very personal and often elegant and the very different musical styles she employs keeps you interested. The unaccompanied ‘Kathleen’ best captures the feel of a traditional tune and her delivery is pleasingly without artifice. ‘Soul for a Soul’, a love song, is my favourite track of the twelve. It has Shaun Reade’s piano open and soaring giving space for Kath’s voice. A bare, vulnerable sound. Lovely.

Overall the album displays a production excellence bar none, and all became clear when I noticed it was recorded at Splid Studios. This means the Durbervilles’ David Crickmore has had a hand and, indeed, here he is, producing and playing mandolin, guitar, bass, organ, percussion, autoharp and backing vocals. Rebekah Findlay’s violin and Frank Wood’s harp are solid and David Hornberger’s cello and Shaun Reade’s piano are indispensable for the overall sound. It’s a lesson in how to get quality music out to a wider audience and have a great time playing music with your mates while doing it.

Jim Ellison                                    

Fatea Magazine October 2013

“… Celebratory … life-affirming … beautiful … imaginative … brilliantly conceived…. Truly outstanding supporting musicians Rebekah Findlay, Shaun Reade, and David Crickmore … Kath's status as a classy folk troubadour is assured.”

By David Kidman

Click Here for full review

Have a read and maybe even order a copy on my website or through Amazon or Proper, or get one from me personally at a gig.

Review of Kath's CD "Passionate Nature" from “Maverick” magazine September / October 2010

Kath Reade • “PASSIONATE NATURE” • Splid Records SPLIDCD008 • **** (4 out of 5)

This Lancashire based singer songwriter has successfully mixed British folk with Americana on this latest album. With a crack back-up band utilising acoustic guitars, Dobro, lap steel, mandolin, banjo, autoharp, accordion, piano, organ, recorders, concertina, the sound is rootsy but also quite eclectic. A well-travelled troubadour her songs are based on her travels, but also speak of heritage and injustice. “Katrina”, though connected with the storm that devastated New Orleans, is a biting criticism of the wide gap that has opened up between the poor and indecently rich of the world. “Coyote” is a western-styled mid-tempo song full of rich images and could be rightly termed classic Americana. This is an album well worth seeking out for its multi-layers that expose themselves with repeated playings.

By Alan Cackett (editor)


Review of Kath's CD "Passionate Nature" from “R2” magazine September / October 2010

Kath Reade • *** (3 stars) “PASSIONATE NATURE” • Splid Records •

“… an album that should see Kath Reade achieve wider recognition for her talents.”


“Lancashire Evening Telegraph” 1 July 2011:-

East Lancashire health chief leaves - to pursue music career

MUSIC Singer-songwriter Kathy Reade and, below, her latest album.       

KATHY Reade has left her post as chairman of NHS East Lancashire – to pursue a career as a guitar-playing singer-songwriter. The outgoing health chief was presented with a framed letter of thanks and flowers from The Prince of Wales during a leaving party last week. Prince Charles thanked Kathy for her “hard work and tireless commitment to the health and wellbeing of residents”.

But now Kathy, who was the first and so far only female leader of Burnley Council, is swapping a life of board meetings for a life treading the boards. She said: “I’ve been doing it since I was 20, and I’m 63 now, so the music has always been the core essence of me. "It is a not a decision I took lightly as I have always been, and will continue to be, a passionate supporter and advocate of the NHS, its staff and patients. However, I know that the trust is well placed to respond to the challenges of the NHS reforms.”

The mum-of-one, whose music is described on her website as having ‘both British folk and Americana stylings’ and ‘that magic something that evokes the mood of some lost timeless classic’, has already recorded three albums.


“Burnley Express” 29 June 2011:-

Prince of Wales thanks health champion on her retirement

Kathy Reade retires

A PERSONAL letter of thanks from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales was presented to health champion Kathy Reade as she retired as chairman of NHS East Lancashire.

Mrs. Reade was delighted with the letter in which Prince Charles thanked her for her hard work and commitment to the health and wellbeing of residents in the North West, East Lancashire, and particularly Burnley. She announced her plans to step down in February, but chose to continue until the end of June to oversee the transition from the PCT to the newly-established Lancashire cluster of PCTs. Mrs. Reade said: “It is a not a decision I took lightly as I have always been and will continue to be a passionate supporter and advocate of the NHS, its staff and patients. However, I know the PCT is well placed to respond to the challenges of the NHS reforms moving forward.”

Mrs. Reade has led the NHS locally and regionally for 14 years. In 1997, she was appointed as a non-executive director to the board of Burnley Healthcare Trust. Between 1999 and 2002, she was chairman of the East Lancashire Health Authority board. Mrs. Reade was appointed chairman of Cumbria and Lancashire Strategic Health Authority, a post she held until 2006 when she took on the role of chairman of NHS East Lancashire.

Mrs. Reade, along with other community leaders, met Prince Charles during one of his trips to Burnley and became involved in setting up The Fold, an integrated health and wellbeing centre next to Cherry Fold Primary School which opens in September. During Prince Charles’s 2010 visit, she signed a pledge on behalf of the NHS to encourage volunteering by NHS staff to support the community.

Last year, Mrs. Reade’s work was formally recognised when she won the NHS North West Leadership Academy Award for outstanding achievement. The award acknowledged her input as a non-executive director of the NHS East Lancashire board, especially her role in creating an environment in which innovation and creativity have been encouraged. And, earlier this year, Mrs. Reade received the High Sheriff of Lancashire’s Award in recognition of her contribution and support to the Empowerment Mentoring Scheme, which works with young people to promote career opportunities and development.

Having lived in Burnley for more than 30 years, Mrs. Reade is passionate about taking action to reduce health inequalities and improve the health of residents. She is also NHS East Lancashire’s patient safety champion and started the Tell Kathy campaign, which asks staff to relay concerns about patient safety directly to Mrs. Reade.

Mrs. Reade is a singer-songwriter and guitarist and has recorded three CDs. An experienced performer, she will play her songs at venues in area in the coming months.