By Rob Dickens.
Little Wise @ Saint John Craft Beer Bar – Launceston, Tasmania – July 6, 2017
It was a warm and intimate night, a haven from the depths of a Tasmanian winter.
Saint John Craft Beer Bar provides an array of beers, ciders and wines. Walking through is a narrow hub-bub, a contrast from the silent streets nearby. It also hosts a live performance space at the back of the premises and tonight was one in the series ‘When She Believes’, dedicated to providing a spotlight for female musicians.
Locals Denni Proctor and Denni Sulzberger provided a fitting lead-in to Melbourne-based trio Little Wise.
Singer/songwriter Sophie Klein is the keystone of Little Wise. Inspired by Ani Difranco and The Waifs, Klein has been gaining currency and a place in the rootsy/alt. country scene in Australia. In 2013 she travelled across Australia in a tour van which would have been both a test of discipline and her passion for forging a music career.
The odyssey also would have provided her with life experiences both accelerated and vivid enabling her vision to be a songwriter to take flight. It showed in her performance tonight.
After two independent EPs, Silver Birch followed, Klein’s debut album which was released in November 2016. Here is a collection of carefully-assembled songs with profound stories. An impressive list of contributors adds to the gravitas of the album – Ben Franz, Paddy Montgomery, John Flanagan and Sal Kimber.
Tonight Little Wise comprised Pam Gaharis (drums) and Rosie Burgess (bass). Klein is the centre piece with her atmospheric Danelectro guitar and winning smile. The set was regrettably short due to the format of the evening and I counted only eight songs, many of which were lifted from Silver Birch – ‘Sometimes’, the meditative ‘Underwater’, the soft and engaging ‘Then Again’, the duet of ‘Favourite Song’ (co-written with Flanagan) and the wonderful stay-away-from-this-mining-town plea ‘Don’t Hurry Back’. A new song was also on show with a wonderful in-grained groove which proved to be another highlight.
An unabashed pleasure to see this talented performer.