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Little Sparrow - Wishing Tree

  by Mary O'Meara

published: 11 / 5 / 2014

Little Sparrow - Wishing Tree
Label: Little Sparrow
Format: CD


Ethereal and captivating debut album from Little Sparrow, the project of Manchester-based singer-songwriter Katie Ware

When opening the card case that envelops Little Sparrow's 'Wishing Tree' album I could almost smell the bark of that magic tree, feel the crunch of leaves beneath my feet, and hear the fairy bells tinkling and chiming with each wish whispered under Katie Ware's tree. For those who aren't aware of Little Sparrow (Katie Ware and her band), welcome to some place you've never been - though possibly dreamt of - and prepare to be mesmerised. This record is pure enchantment. Having said that, Katie's wonderful voice manages to marry the ethereal with the earthy, weaving her way from dream states to the moment when her feet touch the ground and the beat demands we dance in a ring (on the title track), though we can just as easily soar skywards on a song such as 'The Swallow Flies'. These songs carry a purity and purpose that seems to be missing in much of the play-listed music bombarding us on mainstream media these days. At times, it feels almost medieval, at others even more ancient, like pagan love poems scratched on tree trunks or stones. Maybe part of the magic of this record is the fact that it arrives virtually untouched by the modern world, unpolluted by the noise and grime that surrounds most of 21st century living. Does this make the record somehow unreal or out of touch? Not in the slightest – because what it does beautifully is speak the language of the soul. Themes of love and longing are never out of date and the intimate delivery of these songs through Katie’s flawless, emotive vocals literally float across space like shimmering snowflakes that land on your tongue or in your eyes, waking you up to the pure delights of nature. The album feels very close to nature, which is very close to fairy tales, which are next door neighbours to our deepest loves and fears. I feel disinclined to single out particular tracks (even though I have) because truly, as a body of work, this procession of songs flow together seamlessly, each layer of sound and sensation only adding substance to the next. So much of the record seems to carry a desire for the return of a lover, a dream, a place, a time....I adore the opening track 'Polly' where the plea to "Come home, the walls are so bare" is enough to almost make me cry...the desolation, the loneliness, the missing of someone who has gone is acute - but here's hoping they will hear this message, as Little Sparrow sends it out plaintively, never knowing for sure if it will be heard but singing on bravely anyway. I'm reminded of one of my favourite quotes from Martin Luther King – “Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark.” 'Wishing Tree' may not have the certainty of dawn but it has a whole lot of hope and without those wishes hanging on the tree, without those twinkling stars that make us stop and pray, something inside us would die. This is exactly what the album delivers for me....hope - and the courage to keep on singing even when we're unsure if the sunrise is near or far.

Track Listing:-
1 Polly
2 By My Side
3 The Flame
4 Wishing Tree
5 Sending the Message
6 Struck Gold
7 I Found a Way
8 The Hunted (A Bear's Tale)
9 Heart
10 The Swallow Flies

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Interview (2014)
Little Sparrow - Interview
John Clarkson talks to Katie Ware, the front woman with Manchester folk act Little Sparrow, about her band's extraordinary forthcoming debut album

live reviews

Sacred Trinity Church, Salford, 12/9/2014
Little Sparrow - Sacred Trinity Church, Salford, 12/9/2014
Mary O'Meara enjoys the spirituality and intimacy of folk act Little Sparrow's gig at the Sacred Trinity Church in Salford



Just 3 EP (2018)
Thought-provoking and haunting EP and first release in four years from Little Sparrow, the project of Manchester-based singer-songwriter Katie Ware
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