Sparrow and the Workshop

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Sparrow and the Workshop
Sparrow pip hires 2011025 025.jpg
Sparrow and the Workshop
Background information
OriginGlasgow, Scotland
GenresIndie rock
Years active2008-present
LabelsSong, by Toad Records
MembersJill O'Sullivan
Nick Packer
Gregor Donaldson

Sparrow and the Workshop are a British three-piece based in Glasgow, consisting of the Belfast-born, Chicago-raised Jill O’Sullivan (vocals, acoustic guitar), Welshman Nick Packer (guitar, bass) and Scotsman Gregor Donaldson (drums, vocals). The band's debut album Crystals Fall was released by Distiller Records in 2010 to critical acclaim, with the likes of Drowned in Sound and Clash Magazine awarding the album 9/10.[1][2][3][3] The band is notable for their use of harmonies and bastardized instruments/FX pedals and they have been compared to bands as varied as Jefferson Airplane, Talking Heads and Black Sabbath.


Sparrow formed in early 2008 and soon after caught the attention of Distiller Records, who offered to put out a single and EP for them in 2009. They have toured with many bands including British Sea Power, Idlewild, Broken Records, Sivert Hoyem (ex-Madrugada) and supported the likes of The Lemonheads and Thee Oh Sees. They were invited to support American psych-rockers Brian Jonestown Massacre on their 2010 European tour after band leader Anton Newcombe saw their video of Devil Song on YouTube.[4] In May 2010 the band played a number of gigs in New York, one of which was again supporting Brian Jonestown Massacre in Williamsburg Music Hall. They were also invited by Spider Stacy to join The Pogues as main support (on Anton Newcombe's recommendation) on their 2010 Farewell Christmas Tour.

In 2008 the band played at Connect Festival and British Sea Power's Sing Ye from the Hillsides Festival in Tanhill, North Yorkshire. The following year they played the BBC Introducing tent at Glastonbury Festival in 2009, along with End of the Road Festival and Kendal Calling. They completed a string of festivals in 2010, including Green Man Festival, T in the Park, Bestival, Stag and Dagger, Pohoda, Hop Farm Festival, Moseley Folk Festival, Standon Calling, Y Not, 2000 Trees and the Insider festival in Aviemore.

The band released single Black to Red on 11 October 2010 through Distiller Records with an accompanying DIY 3D video.[5]

In April 2011, the band released their second album, Spitting Daggers. Produced by acclaimed producer Leo Abrahams, the album was again well received with, "Drowned in Sound" and the BBC giving the album 8/10 [6] and 7.5[7] respectively. Spitting Daggers was released in Europe in September 2011.


On 6 January 2013, the Scottish blog and label Song, by Toad Records[8] announced it will be releasing Sparrow's upcoming single, Shock Shock (produced by Aereogramme, The Unwinding Hours and Chvrches member Iain Cook and ex-delgados member Paul Savage).

Other projects[edit]

O'Sullivan has provided (backing) vocals on numerous Scottish bands releases:

Donaldson plays drums and provides backing vocals throughout Roddy Woomble's The Impossible Song & Other Songs album.


Studio albums[edit]

  • Crystals Fall (2010, Distiller Records)
  • Spitting Daggers (2011, Distiller Records)
  • Murderopolis (2013, Song, by Toad Records)


  • Sleight of Hand (2009, Distiller Records)
  • Into the Wild (2009, Distiller Records)


  • "Devil Song" (2009, Distiller Records)
  • "Horses Grin" (2009, Distiller Records)
  • "I Will Break You" (2010, Distiller Records)
  • "Black to Red" (2010, Distiller Records)
  • "Snakes in the Grass" (2011, Distiller Records)
  • "Shock Shock" (2013, Song, by Toad Records)
  • "The Faster You Spin" (2013, Song, by Toad Records)


  1. ^ Nicholls, Chris (2010-04-16). "Album Review: Sparrow and the Workshop - Crystals Fall / Releases / Releases // Drowned In Sound". Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  2. ^ "Sparrow & The Workshop - Crystals Fall | Reviews | Clash Magazine". 2010-10-09. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  3. ^ a b "Crystals Fall by Sparrow and the Workshop reviews". Any Decent Music. 2010-04-19. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  4. ^ [1] Archived 24 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Sparrow and The Workshop - Black To Red (Official Music Video)". YouTube. 2010-10-11. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  6. ^ Kennedy, Andrew (2011-05-17). "Album Review: Sparrow and the Workshop - Spitting Daggers / Releases / Releases // Drowned In Sound". Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  7. ^ [2] Archived 11 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Toadcast #255 – Song, by Toad Records 2013". Song, by Toad. 2012-12-15. Retrieved 2014-08-20.

External links[edit]