Let’s get it on: Manchester musician Tom Barrow looking to draw inspiration from city’s rich musical heritage

Over the last two years few British singer-songwriters have been as successful as Jake Bugg.

He has had a UK number one album, received Brit award and Mercury Prize nominations and has even dated supermodel Cara Delevingne.

But around the bars and pubs of Manchester there is a young musician trying to emulate the Nottingham singer’s success, if not his style.

Sporting Bugg-like hair, rarely seen without his guitar and often sporting a casual polo-shirt, Manchester singer-songwriter Tom Barrow is frequently likened to the indie folk sensation.

Such comparisons are not something Tom, a singer since the age of four, gets too bogged down with.

A proud Mancunian, Tom’s identification with the city and its music is all too apparent as he cites Noel Gallagher of Oasis along with Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner as his two biggest musical influences.

“They’re both fantastic songwriters,” he told MM. “Both quite different lyrically and the style they write in, but both top quality.

“They’re the main men of my favourite bands. Although sibling rivalry means only one of those bands are likely to release new tunes.”

Tom’s recent EP, which is available on Soundcloud, is something he is extremely proud of and it is also something that frequently earns him praise from members of 16.9k-strong following on Twitter.

He admits to being  a huge fan of iconic Manchester bands such as The Smiths, The Stone Roses and Oasis, whose success ensured the city will forever be a part of British musical folklore.

Although following in the footsteps of such juggernauts of British music could be seen as a daunting task, Tom draws inspiration from some of Manchester’s finest musical exports.

“Good music’s always come out of Manchester,” he said. “The Stone Roses and The Smiths set the way for some mega bands, like Oasis.

“I can’t knock Manchester music, people here just like to have a good time and I think great music is something that just goes along with it.”

Tom played in his words a ‘top gig’ at the Wharf in Castlefield last Friday, a place where he feels the crowd is ‘always up for a good time’.

His shows are a mixture of original material and covers, with his favourite songs to cover being Dakota by Stereophonics and Let’s Get It On by Marvin Gaye.

Tom is no stranger to playing these songs and many others around Manchester and admits he has lost count of how many gigs he has played across the city.

He performs because he loves the adrenalin of being on stage and feeding off a crowd.

“There’s nothing better than people singing your tunes back to you or seeing people dancing along as you’re playing,” he told MM. “It connects you to people in a way I don’t think anything else can.

“Music can be very personal, but at the same time it’s something that’s shared. I think that’s what makes it special.”

Tom says his favourite places to play across the city which have been Night & Day on Oldham Street and Northern Quarter’s Ruby Lounge venues that provide him with, in his words ‘quality atmosphere and sound’.

The way Tom refers to his musical voyages around Manchester one would think he was the sort of musician that needed very little encouragement to perform.

However he admitted he was actually given a gentle nudge into performing before he could make the jump himself.

“My Mrs pushed me into going to an open mic night a few years ago,” he told MM. “That’s what got me gigging and showing people my tunes. I suppose she’s got a big part to play in why I do what I do.

“But I’ve been doing music since I was four when my mum and dad sent me for singing lessons, so I’ve always loved music.

“I started playing guitar when I was 16, my grandad bought me an Epiphone les Paul for when I started Music at college, it didn’t last long though as I dropped out after a month. But I’ve still got the guitar though.”

Now a seasoned performer on the Manchester circuit, Tom is hoping to ‘spread his wings’ in the future and play in different cities.

Refusing to let any plaudits go to his head and eagerly anticipating what the future could hold for him, Tom says that as long as people continue enjoying his music he will be happy.

“The plan is get the music heard,” he said. “If people are listening and enjoying the tunes, then my job is done.”

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