When it comes to music I have been fortunate to hear this year, then I will think of 2019 as the year of the ladies. Thanks to the wonderful Elfin Bow I have been introduced to some amazing singers from the UK scene I would never have found on my own from the other side of the world, and to the list, I now must add the name of Katie Ware, otherwise known as Little Sparrow. Amazingly this debut album is from 2014, which yet again shows how dire the music industry is when something as powerful and glorious isn’t well known. This is all about Katie, her voice and songs, mixing and changing the arrangements so while she may have a full band behind her, at others, it may just be acoustic guitar, violin and or cello, whatever is needed to make it work. Many of the songs don’t feature percussion, and it is all about that wonderful beautiful voice front and center.
This is a singer-songwriter as opposed to folk, acoustic music which is inspired by the likes of Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell. Even the heavy use of pedal steel on “Struck Gold” doesn’t pull it into the country as the gently plucked guitar keeps it rooted, while the wonderful harmony and backing vocals throw all the focus onto the main. Some songs are upbeat, driving forward with a demand to grab your attention, pushing forward whereas others are far more languid, expecting you to come and discover on your own. There is a brightness and freshness within this which reminds me of a young Judy Dyble, as Katie has incredible control and a superb high range.
That this album and the name of Little Sparrow isn’t more widely known is nothing short of criminal as it is an absolute delight from beginning to end. If you enjoy this style of music then this is essential. I note it is also available on Bandcamp so why not search it out and give it a listen, this is an artist you need to support. Awesome.
9/10 Kev Rowland