Carus Crusoe

• Thompson has found a new talent helping to empower the disadvantaged – particularly kids – through songwriting.

FREMANTLE troubadour Carus Thompson knows a fair bit about loneliness.

Having toured the eastern states and Europe extensively over the last few years, he’s penned more than his share of tunes while thinking of loved ones far away.

But while his isolation might have provided some useful insight for his latest album Island, it’s the plight of others that’s more on his mind.

Thompson told the Herald he wanted to really hone in on telling an Australian story for his latest “light concept” album, but he feels not all is well in the land down under.

“When you have a government that does not care about refugees, the homeless, the marginalised or the mentally ill, you see how that cruelty and apathy at the top trickles down,” says Thompson.

“And at the end of that chain is the children.”

• Carus Thompson’s latest album Island is his darkest to date, reflecting on how Australia treats its most disadvantaged.

• Carus Thompson’s latest album Island is his darkest to date, reflecting on how Australia treats its most disadvantaged.

Thompson’s learned a lot about young people dealing with adversity since settling back in Australia.

A while back he was approached to fill in at a song-writing workshop at Headspace, a youth mental health organisation, after the organiser pulled out at the last minute.

“I almost turned it down,” says Thompson, who didn’t think he had the necessary skills.

But the workshop was a huge success and Headspace kept booking him. Soon other groups such as Canteen were getting him on board.

Thompson says there’s an empowerment for young people when an idea or a fragment they’ve bought to a workshop gets crafted into a complete song. He says it gives them hope that they can be heard, while the process can also get people talking about issues they’d otherwise never touch.

He’s currently working at St Pat’s in Fremantle and says homelessness struck a chord with him while he was in Melbourne.

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“There was a rough sleeper from Melbourne called Mouse, who was murdered. At Flinders Street station where he used to sleep there’s a memorial to him that says ‘gone but not forgotten’ and I felt really strongly that I wanted to write about this.”

Thompson, who’s best known for tunes that get a room stomping, says Island is definitely his darkest work, but it’s not all gloom and doom.

“It’s actually quite uplifting, because while much of it is about isolation, as the name suggests, there is also an element of escape.

“There a song called Postcode which is about moving further out as the house prices go up.

“But with escape there is release and a sense of joy.”

Thompson is launching the album on Friday, February 17 at Mojos. Tickets from http://www.carusthompson.com

by STEVE GRANT

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