Since moving to Leeds just over a decade ago to study jazz at the city’s College of Music, Jon Gomm has acquired an international reputation as a virtuoso acoustic guitarist.
Initially fuelled by word of mouth then by social media – when a video of him performing his song Passionflower was enthusiastically tweeted about by broadcaster, actor and writer Stephen Fry – he recently fulfilled an ambition to have played gigs on all five continents.
“Every country seems a little but far-fetched, I don’t know if anybody has ever managed that, but yes, I’ve played in a lot of places,” he says, adding that his globetrotting days are not over yet. “I’ve got places that I still really want to go to but I haven’t been that we keep trying to set up. It’s difficult being an independent artist setting up all of these tours all over the world, you rely on a lot of people helping you.”
Travelling by himself or with his wife, does however have its plus sides.
“When you spend two or three weeks travelling around Brazil as a musician, especially because I’m such a small entity, it’s not like there’s a band and roadies and management and guitar techs, you really get a feel for the country in a way that you don’t as a tourist going to see the sights.
“Because you’re working there and you’re living there you realise the problems that exist within the country and the great things about the country it’s really fascinating but it’s also completely exhausting, you need a lot of rest after each tour.”
Tonight Gomm is closer to home – performing at the Brudenell Social Club in Hyde Park – then spending two days at the London Acoustic Guitar Show before jetting off to Canada to tour with fellow guitarist Don Ross. “He’s not a household name but he’s one of my guitar heroes,” Gomm says.
Further UK dates follow in October. In November plays in Hong Kong, South Korea and mainland China.
The flurry of activity accompanies the release of his fourth album, Live in the Acoustic Asylum, which features re-recordings of nine songs from Gomm’s back catalogue.
“The idea behind it was that I find there’s two kinds of Jon Gomm fans,” he says. “I notice it particularly at gigs in the UK where there’s people who’ve been coming to see me for ten years and they know loads of my songs and they request a lot of older songs then there’s only people who’ve known me since I had a viral video. When I play those older songs the new people have often never heard them so it’s like new material to them and I suddenly realised that I’ve got loads of old songs that most people who listen to me haven’t really heard unless I give them that online exposure and make a video for them.”
Choosing nine songs, he went into a “secret little place” and filmed videos for each one over two-and-a-half days. Neatening the audio up in the studio later with producer Ed Heaton, he says: “We found this sounds better than my old recordings. Even though these are live recordings they sound much nicer and also I play now so much better than I did 12 years ago when I first recorded that. It’s really nice to have those new recordings, we thought I might as well release it as a new album.
“It’s had a few reviews already and they’re the best reviews I’ve ever had so the trick is to make an album of songs in two days, that’s what everybody should be doing,” he chuckles.
Hear more of this interview – plus Jon Gomm’s song What’s Left For You – at www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/what-s-on/arts-entertainment/music-and-gigs
For more information visit http://www.jongomm.com/