Gig preview Jon Gomm at Aire Do, Keighley and Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Jon Gomm
Jon Gomm
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The last time Wow247 caught up with Jon Gomm, the Leeds-based guitarist was in the midst of launching a pay what you want initiative to download his single Passionflower.

Since then Blackpool-born virtuoso, who studied jazz at Leeds College of Music, has been invited to perform all over the world.

Now, as he gears up to launch his third album, he admits: “It’s been a crazy couple of years.”

The songs on Secrets Nobody Keeps reflect the “strange new life and strange new places” he has experienced since 2011.

“I wrote a piece specifically for playing in China and a piece specifically for playing in South Africa,” he says. He also re-recorded the three singles he first released as downloads, this time “using proper equipment and a proper producer”.

“Everything I’d done on a shoe string does not really work any more.”

Although grateful for the helping hand from Fry, Gomm believes his career was at a tipping point in the autumn of 2011, thanks to years of hard gigging and word of mouth.

“When something goes viral all that means is lots of people are sharing something on the internet, like a snowball, really, it grows exponentially,” he says. “Stephen Fry was just one of those people doing that. When he does that it has more of an impact than when anybody else does it but it’s hard to measure.

“It did make a difference to the number of people who watched [the video for Passionflower] on YouTube but it was creeping up to one million people who watched it before that.”

Nevetheless it is, he says, “great to have backing from people who are know like that, who are prepared to stand up and say this is really good.”

Yet the pair have never met. “He’s done his bit as far as I’m concerned,” Gomm says.

The guitarist is now organising an internet campaign via the website Pledge Music to raise money to release Secrets Nobody Keeps.

“It seemed to make sense for me to do,” he says. “The new audience I have reached has been online via social media and YouTube. It made sense to do things this way.

“I don’t have a record deal or financial backing from the industry. In the past I would record the album myself and sell as many as I could. The problem was I couldn’t use the money I earned to go back in time and spend money making the album better. With Pledge, people order the album in advance. I don’t like to think of them as my record label [but effectively they are].”

One upshot of Gomm’s raised profile has been the invitations he has had to perform with “various well-known names”.

“I can’t really say who any of them are except for Rod Stewart,” he says. “But we had all these shows lined up. We would have had to cancel a whole tour of Canada and go to Los Angeles to play on his album. People had bought tickets and I did not want to cancel that trip.”

There will be other opportunities, he says. “There are a couple of other things in the pipeline where I might be working with other well-known musicians.”

August 3, Aire Do Festival, Cliffe Castle Park and Gardens, Keighley, from 11am, £5, and September 13, Brudenell Social Club, Queens Road, Leeds, 7.30pm, £10,

Scott Caizley.

Scott Caizley: From Leeds couuncil estate to classical pianist