The Orphanage Sessions kicked off on Saturday 23 February with a simply stunning set by Caitlin Harnett. Caitlin is 17 years old and hails from Richmond, on the northern outskirts of Sydney. It is worth mentioning her age only because it’s almost impossible to believe that she hasn’t been alive longer than that – her songwriting and live skills would put many older singer-songwriters to shame.
Caitlin’s set was a mixture of original songs – several of which can be heard on her website and MySpace page – and nicely chosen covers; there was a gorgeous version of Patty Griffin’s ‘Oh Heavenly Day’. She’s a quietly confident performer – not showy, but already relaxed enough to get the audience laughing when she chats in between songs. She’s a star in the making, of the Kasey Chambers order.
The venue – upstairs at the Mars Hill Cafe in Parramatta – was an excellent setting for the songs: cosy, with tables and chairs and couches, coffee and food at hand and no real time pressures. Caitlin’s set came first and then The Orphans got up. Although I couldn’t stay for much of their set, I saw enough to know I’ll definitely hang around for the rest of it next time.