Many people may associate the James track ‘Sit Down’ as a staple Manc anthem – and yet a delightful new cover version by Little Sparrow (aka Katie Ware) opens up even more possibilities in this profound song; merging tender vocals with emotive instrumentation.
Indeed, to choose to cover a track of such high regard could be considered a bold move – and yet, refreshingly, there is nothing overdone about the Little Sparrow version. Instead, an apt choice has been made to slow down the pace of the tune and to channel energy into an impressive vocal delivery from Katie, steeped with feeling, unlocking the expression behind each syllable. This James song is often seen as ‘anthemic’ but Little Sparrow also makes it inviting, the warmth of voice merging with intelligent instrumentation to evoke an intimacy, allowing for reflection.
For this track, Katie is joined by Robin Dewhurst on piano and Sarah Dale on cello – this combination of soft surges of keys and beautiful bursts of strings adding to the gravitas of the song. ‘Sit Down’ is after all a song of twists and turns, highs and lows… sensitively synchronised within this cover version.
Early in the piece, the lyrics lurch to ‘drawn by the undertow’, weighted with a lovely plunge on the cello and piano. Note of course must be given to the quality of Katie’s vocals, lengthening and opening up the emotive intensity of vowel sounds, carrying the chorus of ‘sit down’ in a lush crescendo of voice. Never have I listened to the lyrics of ‘Sit Down’ so closely. It is testament to the skilfully executed sound here – recorded, mixed and produced by Jonny Lexus and Katie also.
This is a cover version with its own distinct character, not attempting a intimation but instead embracing the emotion of song – and exploring new possibilities through artful choices in pacing and a particular minimalism that really works. This is matched with an equally profound video, charming in its simplicity; the focal choices on Katie as she sings the song in a darkened room really allowing the weight of the track to hit home. The use of black and white also fits well with the meaningful minimalism, accompanied by the symbolic light of a candle – all filmed with real sensitivity to detail and emotion. A track not just to listen to, but to savour, and an ideal one to share with the family this festive season.
Another track to keep in mind is Little Sparrow’s ‘Corner of the Room’, released earlier this year (our review here) – and there is a highly-anticipated album set for 2020 too.
Pictures: thanks to Shay Rowan