Very pleased to have a great excuse to post this. Tom Mouse Smith is a 12 year old singer, songwriter and performer from County Durham, who I first discovered via a performance of Bowie’s Lazarus at a Sage Gateshead performance day a couple of months ago which Wendy was live tweeting, and which rapidly found its way onto youtube.
Now there’s lots of allowances you can make when you see a cute kid doing a song, the sort of “aahhhhh” factor. But the interesting thing is that with Tom you don’t need to. He’s already a very accomplished performer and he really belts the songs out confidently and fearlessly. It’s his fearlessness that’s the most striking thing about him – it’s one thing playing a song in front of a camera, but he can do it with an audience there; he’s been picked up by Tim Burgess for the Tim Peaks section at Kendall calling, where I’m sure he’ll go down a storm and without the slightest trace of nerves.
And then you find out the rest of the backstory, which is astonishing and adds another dimension entirely.
Anyway the excuse is that he’s put a version of “Bonny” up, I think with his sister on backing vocals (Hannah). If there’s sacred Sprout canon, it’s “Bonny”, but he does it brilliantly, and it’s genuinely memorable. You could conjecture that Bonny is a cry of defiance in the darkness on the unfairness of fate, and maybe there’s something of that in this performance, maybe that’s projecting too far. But this is what music is all about when you’re young, grabbing a guitar and singing your heart out to the exclusion of everything else. And interestingly, that’s pretty much what Paddy did at Ushaw.
So two links – firstly to Bonny itself, and then to a version of Lazarus, not the Sage one but at the Cluny a little later. Well worth exploring the other material, and definitely keep an eye on this guy, he’s really got star quality.