Though Manchester’s musical glory days have passed into legend, the city still turns out its share of formidable acts. Tom Walker is among the latest (though he’s actually Scottish by heritage), a singularly talented, multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter. He’s been compared to Ed Sheeran, but his music is actually grittier, more raw and viscerally piercing.
His first two singles, “Fly Away With Me” and “Play Dead,” won him critical accolades and a devoted fan base (who write him letters about his lyrics getting them through their depression). He grew up on everything from Oasis to Ray Charles, but his songs exhibit a distinct Caribbean influence, setting Walker genuinely apart from his indie folk contemporaries.
His new single “Blessings” is a haunting meditation on being determined to see the positive whilst living on the skint “Got no money in our pockets / We’re too busy getting drunk / We’re counting our, just counting our blessings,” he philosophizes in his stirring, powerfully soulful voice.
“It’s the little things in life, that’s what I’m thankful for,” he says. ” I’d rather a have a few beers at home with my mates than in the back of some fancy VIP area. That’s what ‘Blessings’ is about, we make the most out of what we have, we don’t waste our time wishing we had more.”
A measure of sudden success means he’s probably living a bit less insolvently these days. He’s even made it to America, giving a triumphant performance on NBC’s Today Show. Now living in London, we asked him to take us through a very untrendy, quintessentially English day and night out in Blighty’s capital.
A five track EP also titled Blessings will be out May 21.
Tom Walker’s Fave Authentic London Hangs
The Greasy Spoon in Crouch End (breakfast)
This place is exactly how it sounds! Proper English breakfast where me and my housemates will always go to sort ourselves out after a heavy night. Cheap and cheerful and an amazing vibe.
The first of a couple mentions for this place in this list and if you go you’ll totally see why! As you sit in the outdoor seating area there’s a quotation across the wall saying “Best burger in London” and they’re not wrong. The decor is outrageous too, impression. There’s old film posters and just crazy music memorabilia everywhere. This place was my local whilst I was at uni so I’m something of a regular.
Where else would a musician / guitarist spend his money? I could spend hours in any guitar store, but this place has the most beautiful vintage relics. I haven’t been back in awhile just because I like to block out a good chunk of time to head down. I’d probably end up spending all my money, but if a couple of new songs came out of it then we’re on to a winner.
I’m not really the going out for dinner type of guy, but firstly Tootoomoo has a sick name – and they serve sushi and crispy duck pancakes that are awesome! Getting to Crouch End can be a bit of a task if you’re not a local but this place is definitely worth making the trip out for. Again I’m all about sick decor and this place absolutely delivers. I’m not going to go into detail because it’s something you’ve got to see for yourself.
Yes, the Nelson again and there’s a final ace up the sleeve… £2.80 a pint! If you’re not from London that offer only sounds okay, but this for me is the Nelson’s golden goose. You don’t even need to be lucky to catch me at this place, I’ll go every chance I get. I would hate to imagine the cash I’ve put into the jukebox there, but definitely don’t regret it.
Village Underground is amazing for live music. I supported Samm Henshaw there last year and the crowd just went crazy. I wasn’t expecting that reaction, so I instantly fell in love with the place. The crew there was amazing too. If you’re lucky you’ll catch me lurking around checking out some amazing new artists on the rare occasion I get an evening off.
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