Voted Best Live Act at the BBC Folk Awards 2006, and with six finely crafted albums to her name, the 32 year-old Barnsley nightingale has been gathering friends across Britain's musical battlelines for a decade.
The finest female folk singer to hit the scene in two decades.
It's not a title Kate feels at ease with. She says it doesn't need saving. She's made it OK to like folk music - but can she do the same for the planet?
Kate didn't think twice when invited to get involved in the Big Ask. On 1 May, Kate mixed it with Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, and Super Furry Animals' Gruff Rhys in an intimate Big Ask Live gig in London.
"It's something I feel quite passionate about. So I was dead chuffed to be asked."
On respect for the planet
"We've been brought up to respect and care for other people and the planet. It drives me nuts if someone puts something in the bin that needs recycling."
A few other things get her goat. The fact that companies are not legally obliged to produce eco-friendly nappies and sanitary products, for one. "If we all had to buy biodegradable they would get on with making a whole range of things. I don't understand why they don't make companies do it."
Down-to-earth, heartfelt and deceptively straightforward.
Ian Anderson, editor of Froots, on Kate's approach
"Living out in the sticks, it's more apparent what will be lost if we don't do anything. So it is something I feel strongly about. To not mess it up and try and look after it for future generations."
Listen to Kate sing and you hear strength and understanding of an art form that belongs to no one and everyone. But despite attracting offers from big record companies, Kate prefers to do her own thing.
She enjoys the independence, going "here and there doing my thing". Recently this has included a Kinks cover for a forthcoming Dawn French TV show and singing with Idlewild's Roddy Woomble. Her latest project is a duet called All over again with Ronan Keating for his new album.
"This is the music I make. Anyone who tells me I need to change direction or whatever can bog off."
© Kate Rusby