WISHING TREE - LITTLE SPARROW
LCM ALBUM OF THE MONTH - MAY 2014
Release date: 6th April, 2014
Record Label: Independent
Wishing Tree is the gorgeous debut album from Manchester based Little Sparrow (Katie Ware). There is something very magical about Katie's songwriting and vocal. She has an impressive beautiful wide range and tone and with it Katie captivates her listeners, resulting in at times pure enchantment. Themes of love, loss and longing are never out of date and the intimate delivery of these songs through Katie’s emotive vocals is beautiful.
The album received great reviews on it's release and it's not to hard to understand why. It is an album that with some more widespread exposure, could easily been mainstream. The popularity of Kate Bush's return last year, has proved there is a great demand for very talented and original female singer-songwriters.
But what is the the story behind the name? Katie adopted the name following a conversation with Elbow front man Guy Garvey who, having affectionately called her “Cockney Sparrow”, suggested she use it as her stage name. Katie adapting this to the warmer title of “Little Sparrow”. In many ways this fits Katie's style and music.
The album starts with the ethereal Polly which has hints of classic Kate Bush. Katie writes very clever metaphors and you really see it this song. Katie's vocal is almost operatic and classical at times. The song is about a house which is missing its owner who has died. "Please come home, these walls are so bare". The song was inspired by the book ‘Notes from an Exhibition’ by Patrick Gale.
The acoustic guitar led By My Side with it's sweet string section, perfectly complements Katie's vocal. The chorus "Please don't go far away, just stay here.....by my side" resonates throughout. ‘By My Side’ is a song about a woman missing her husband who goes out to sea. The wife longing to see her husband again. The chorus has the feel of a musical box and Graham's part on the violin is breath taking.
Acoustic guitar, cello, soaring vocals and harmonies combine once again in the beautiful The Flame. Katie's songwriting has almost the feel of a fairytale at time and is a great storyteller. You are really drawn into each song.
Wishing Tree the title track of the album is to be re-released at the end of July 2015 with a brand new video.
Sending the Message could quite easily be the title track on a major movie soundtrack with it's sweeping vocals and harmonies which are almost operatic at times, backed with simple military-style percussion.
With it's pedal steel and harmonies Stuck Gold could easier be a country song. One of our favourites on the album.
I Found A Way
The Hunted (A Bear's Tale) is a song is about a bear that falls in love with a human being. It was Katie's first release as Little Sparrow, which also appeared on the Bear Family Records 35th anniversary compilation.
Heart with it's delicate electric guitar and bass line plus Katie's floating vocals and harmonies could easily be a track from a Paper Aeroplanes album. Beautifully crafted
The album closes with another firm favourite The Swallow Flies. This perfectly crafted song really sticks with you and seeps slowly into your soul. It has a beautiful and sweeping melody with almost an Indian style pecussion and backing vocals. Totally addictive you will have this one on repeat.
With delicately crafted songs combining flawless vocals, angelic strings and tender harmonies, listeners are taken on a magical journey from heartbreaking sadness to uplifting joy. Simply put one of our favourite albums of the year.