Little Sparrow: Chorlton Nook And Cranny – live review

Little Sparrow

Chorlton Nook And Cranny

May 25th 2013

Little Sparrow’s headline set as part of the Chorlton Arts Festival was scheduled for the Nook And Cranny, a tiny little bar / restaurant bar by Chorlton Metrolink station.  It’s a beautifully intimate setting for an evening of music with a respectful audience there to listen to the music rather than chattering away as we’d experienced at her set at Dot To Dot the previous night.

Tonight’s line-up of Little Sparrow, which is officially just singer-songwriter Katie Ware, includes cellist and vocalist Sarah Dale and a gentleman called Mitch on a wide range of percussion instruments.  The line-up, which appears to be quite fluid, helps to turn a set of beautifully written songs into something that demands your attention.  These songs would feel equally at home in theatres and music halls a hundred times the size of The Nook And Cranny.  Katie already has the personality, confidence and infectious ability to engage with her audience to deal with that size of venue and crowd.

Katie’s vocal range is the first thing that strikes you.  The lyrics to her songs already betray a beautiful emotional depth, but when her voice swoops and soars often within the same line, the songs become something extremely special.  By My Side is a gorgeously simple, but incredibly evocative love song.  The Hunted is a different type of love song, written by the point of view of a bear that falls in love with a human.

The sound isn’t just about Katie though.  Whilst I’m not sure about the origins of the name rather than using her real name, the other musicians add so much to the sound and the feel of Katie’s songs, without ever drowning them.  There’s moments of pauses and silences which work perfectly with the mood and emotion of the songs.  There’s nowhere near enough cello in popular music in my opinion and Sarah Dale’s cello and haunting vocals provide a thrilling contrast and offset to Katie’s guitar and vocals.  Recent single Sending The Message is more of a duet with Sarah taking over the chorus.

Little Sparrow are like one of those secrets that once you discover them, you want to keep to yourselves to experience evenings like this, but like small birds, you know you’ll have to set them free at some point so they can grow and flourish.  With an album’s worth of songs in tonight’s set without even an average one in there and a live set-up that brings them to life in this way, hopefully by the end of the year she’ll get the proper recognition this deserves.

Little Sparrow played :

Rest Your Head

Polly

The Flame

Sending The Message

The Hunted (A Bear’s Tale)

By My Side

I Found A Way

Heart

The Swallow Flies

Tender

Little Sparrow play the following shows :

Wednesday June 12 – Manchester Scribble Festival (Friends Meeting House)

Sunday June 16 – Salford Kings Arms

Their website can be found here and they are also on Twitter and Facebook.

All words by David Brown. You can see more of David’s work on Louder Than War here

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