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Jon Gomm

+ Thomas And The Empty Orchestra + Brendan Dooney

Jon Gomm, based in Leeds, West Yorkshire in the UK, is an acoustic singer-songwriter with a revolutionary virtuoso guitar style, where he uses one acoustic guitar to create drum sounds, basslines and twisting melodies all at the same time. The emphasis is still on the soulful vocals and songwriting, and his original material is influenced by everything from Robert Johnson to Radiohead.

His live shows combine deeply personal performances and a natural wit, with a once seen, never forgotten two-handed guitar style, both physical and complex, producing sounds people can barely believe are coming from a humble acoustic guitar.

Jon first laid his hands on a guitar at the age of two (actually it was a ukulele - his parents couldn’t find a guitar small enough). He wrote his first song at the age of six, and was soon accompanying his father, a music critic, to gigs in his hometown of Blackpool. Touring musicians would often stay at the Gomm household on the understanding Jon would get a guitar lesson, meaning he had one-to-one instruction from such blues legends as BB King and Jack Bruce of Cream.

Nowadays, Jon tours worldwide. In January 2012 his song Passionflower went viral online, with the video passing 6 million hits, resulting in national TV appearances in the UK, Portugal, Holland, Brazil and Turkey, and plaudits from new celebrity fans, such as:
“Wonderful to watch. Genius.” - Stephen Fry
“I love your work and style so much. You are very special” – Jon Anderson (Yes)
“Wonderful playing and singing” - David Crosby (Crosby, Stills and Nash)
“Hands down the most amazing guitarist I have ever seen!” - Tommy Lee (Motley Crue)

Suddenly being catapulted from cult obscurity to mainstream acceptance has been a strange experience for someone so devoted to his craft, and Jon is an unlikely star and remains very much true to his roots in the acoustic circuit of the North of England.

Jon is a truly and fiercely independent artist, with his own label and no mainstream industry support, but using mostly online social networks for promotion, he has defied the odds with a huge, truly supportive fanbase resulting in headline tours on all 5 continents, from Australia, Canada and Europe to China and South Africa and South America. His debut CD Hypertension has sold over 50,000 copies at the time of writing, and his second CD Don’t Panic sold out within 3 days of appearing on Amazon. His videos are watched tens of thousands of times within minutes of appearing on Youtube.

Jon Gomm released his latest album Secrets Nobody Keeps on 25th November 2013, on his own label Performing Chimp Records.

Produced by Whiskas, whose expertise at painting sonic landscapes in the studio and his background (as founder of the legendary DIY label Dance To The Radio and the band Forward Russia), made him the perfect fit musically and business-ethic-wise for the project; Secrets Nobody Keeps was 100% crowd funded in the short space of 4 weeks in a whirlwind PledgeMusic campaign that drew on the power of Jon’s millions of fans and viewers worldwide.

“The success of the PledgeMusic campaign has been so gratifying” enthuses the ever humble Gomm “People tell me I’m too open on social networks, but I lived through all these overwhelming life-changes online, taking support from my friends and fans.”

“The last 18 months have been a genuine headf**k. I’d gotten used to my life playing little DIY venues then ‘Passionflower’ went crazy and suddenly I’m on TV, or flying off all over the world, or playing at Union Chapel in London and it’s actually sold out.”

The album title itself, ‘Secrets Nobody Keeps’ is a nod to Jon’s gratitude for the power of social networks. Ever since the day a simple one word Tweet from Stephen Fry linking to Jon’s Passionflower video (6 million views and counting) started the snowball rolling on his career, he’s been an advocate of, in his own words, “having that private little moment of discovery on Youtube, then sharing the music everywhere.”

Gomm’s list of high profile fans also includes the legendary Eric Clapton, Chaka Khan, Jon Anderson, David Crosby, Tommy Lee, Rod Stewart and Devin Townsend.

The record is a thrilling and evocative collection of music without boundaries, an attribute which Jon is keen to emphasise came from the lack of record label involvement, with fan funding giving him complete creative control. Across 10 tracks the album captures the thrilling live energy that comes from his unique combination of haunting, angelic vocals and exquisitely complex and rhythmic finger-style guitar playing. The music is entirely created with Jon's acoustic guitar affectionately known as Wilma, with no other bass, percussion, loops or overdubs used to produce the unique sound of this album.

Stand-out tracks include an instrumental tune called ‘Wukan Motorcycle Kid’ written especially for, and debuted in, Beijing on Jon’s recent China tour:

“Every night in China I would explain to the audience about the Wukan Uprising of 2011 (when a little town rebelled against the state) and about this brave kid I saw on TV who was riding his scooter around the streets at night, hunting for secret police so he could warn the locals” explains Gomm “It was never reported on Chinese media, so it was kind of awe inspiring to use music to convey such powerful information. Luckily I still got out of the country OK!”

Towards the end of 2012, Gomm found himself on the road constantly, hopping from continent to continent, living in an electrified state of new discoveries and coping with the trappings of fame. A constant theme on the album portrays him struggling with bouts of insomnia and feeling like he was losing his grip on reality. Having battled anxiety and depression himself, one song in particular on the album, ‘There’s No Need To Be Afraid’, is dedicated to anyone else who’s been there too.

“I just hit a wall - I was physically and emotionally exhausted. The last 6 weeks of touring were so hard. Hopefully the good that came out of that is the music I was able to find there. Hopefully there’s a communicative force in amongst the catharsis.”

The enormous reach of Jon’s music online and his deep personal connection with his fans stands as a testament to the healing, unifying power of music – something which he is keen to share with as many people as possible, and long may it continue.

Doors 6:30PM, age 14+


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