Jon Gomm, the UK based acoustic guitar virtuoso, follows the recent release of his latest album ‘The Faintest Idea’ with news on the reissue of his 2013 record ‘Secrets Nobody Keeps’. The ‘Passionflower 10 year anniversary edition’ marks a decade since the release of his single ‘Passionflower’ that went on to change everything for Jon. A live video of the single racked up millions of views on YouTube and other media platforms in 2012 – with British legend Stephen Fry describing him on mainstream television as someone “playing the guitar in a way I’d never seen it played before” and “an all-round genius”.
Follow up album ‘Secrets Nobody Keeps’ arrived in 2013, further cementing his status as one of the driving forces behind an acoustic revolution. Jon comments,
“I remember recording Secrets Nobody Keeps, in my spare bedroom studio space in one of the most notorious inner city suburbs of Leeds – My home, familiar, every dog bark, every shout. The passionflower in the yard which had inspired the song, having long since won the battle with the concrete, was still tangling itself around my house. The tempest of the previous couple of years of my life, since my little zero-budget friend-made videos had gone viral (the secrets nobody kept), and sent me on tour all over the planet: It had somehow wrenched me from my home, my sense of safety, even after I went back. Everything the same, but unsteady now. Maybe it was me that had been altered.
I was clinging on to my sense of self through these songs.”
Released on 24th September via Kscope ‘Secrets Nobody Keeps – Passionflower 10 year anniversary edition’ features the original 10 songs alongside a bonus track of the 2020 version of ‘Passionflower’.
Despite the success of the track Jon never recorded a version of Passionflower that he’d been 100% happy with. So he called up an old friend, Australia based producer Andy Sorenson, who took Jon’s raw, intimate solo acoustic performance, and placed it in an expanded landscape which went on to form the sound of last year’s album ‘The Faintest Idea’
Jon adds, “I’m proud of this album. It was difficult to make, but I don’t like music to feel easy, to be purely soft, to offer only comfort and nothing more. I hope you enjoy it the second time around.”
It’s that time again, that time when we supposed musical journalists put together a (subjective) list of our favourite albums that were released in 2020.
This list is very subjective and may have been different a few weeks ago, it is a list of ten albums that have touched me in any way in the previous 12 months and ones that I go back and listen to often.
There have been some that have been very close to my top ten, ‘Breaking Point’ by Jump, ‘Foxholesque’ by The Foxholes, ‘Brave New World’ by Built For The Future, ‘Dreaming City’ by Glass Hammer and ‘Beyond’ by Hibernal are just a few that were knocking on the door of my top ten and would definitely be included in a top twenty but just where do you stop!
So, here it is, my list of my top ten albums for 2020, they are in no particular order, apart from my number one and I’m sure most of you can guess what that is…
Pendragon – Love Over Fear
Intelligent and insightful lyrics and four musicians at the very top of their game are great ingredients to have when you create a new album, however Pendragon have added a dash of magic that is rarely seen in modern music nowadays. There is no such thing as the perfect record, musicians are always striving to concoct something better than has gone before but “Love Over Fear” is as close to perfection that you can get, the best album of the last twenty years in fact and, in my humble opinion, and that is a very rare beast indeed!
Released 14th February 2020
The Tangent – Auto-reconnaissance
The Tangent are a British progressive rock institution and every new album is eagerly awaited by the fans and, while every fan will have their own opinion, ‘Auto Reconnaissance’ is my favourite album from the band yet. Andy is on top form, his song writing is as sharp and clever as ever and he has gathered around him a group of musicians who seriously have no peers. A superb release and one which cements The Tangent’s already exalted reputation.
Released 21st August 2020
Blue Rose Code – With Healings Of The Deepest Kind
When it comes to music that salves the soul and gives joy to the heart, this album has few peers. An utter musical joy and one that everyone should listen to at least once, it has an honesty and innocence that is rare in the music industry these days.
Released July 17th 2020
Jon Gomm – The Faintest Idea
When most people look at an acoustic guitar, they see exactly that – a wooden box with strings. As one of the pioneers of the modern fingerstyle sound, however, Jon Gomm has a rare gift for turning one instrument into what feels like an entire orchestra, with this new album he has found new emotional depths in immense melodic pop landscapes.
Released 16th October 2020.
Lunatic Soul – Through Shaded Woods
On album number seven Mariusz Duda, the multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and mastermind behind Lunatic Soul is extending his musical explorations to include dark Scandinavian and Slavic folk referencing bands like Heilung or Wardruna. Following the heavily electronic sound of previous albums Fractured and Under the Fragmented Sky, Through Shaded Woods is completely devoid of electronics and is the first album in Duda’s discography, on which he plays all instruments.
Duda appears to have put the personal darkness that inspired his previous albums behind him, as more optimistic elements shine through in his new music. The album becoming musically “brighter” as it progresses – from the atmospheric introduction of “Navvie” through to the title track, which leads the listener to a melodious, trance like “Oblivion”, echoing the style of Dead Can Dance.
Released 13th November
Airbag – A Day At The Beach
Airbag have returned with a complex release, musically and emotionally. A serious album and one that is seriously impressive, combining ethereal soundscapes with their signature guitar driven progressive rock. They have created a mature, powerful sound that inspires on many levels, delivering one of the most sophisticated releases of the year.
Released June 19th 2020
Dyble/Longdon – Between A Breath And A Breath
This is an album that you must listen to or you miss it at your peril. I cannot recommend this highly enough, I think it is one of my albums of the year. Indeed the beautiful music and the grace that the album offers make this worthy of a place in any albums of the year listing. Yes, it is that good, truly remarkable in fact!
(Words by John Wenlock-Smith)
Released 25th September 2020
Fish – Weltschmerz
The legendary Scottish singer’s last studio release is one of his finest and his best since ’13th Star’ (in my opinion). Grandiose in scale and delivery, the music has a maturity and melodrama missing in most of what you will hear nowadays. Fish’s songwriting abilities are as strong as they have ever been and the unique dulcet tones of his Scot’s brogue herald some of his mightiest compositions yet. A highlight of a very stellar career.
Released 25th September 2020
Silent Skies – Satellites
In this year where we have all been touched by the horrific effects of the pandemic, Vikram and Tom have given us something quite magical, an ultimately uplifting collection of beautiful songs that leave a lasting touch on our hearts and souls. ‘Satellites’ gives a feeling of hope and calm reflection that we can take into 2021 and will leave you with a smile on your face and love in your heart.
This release has jumped straight into my top 5 of the year, in fact, I love it that much I have just bought the vinyl…
Released 11th December 2020
So, here it is, my number one album of 2020 and I’m sure it will come as no surprise…
Abel Ganz – The Life Of The Honey Bee And Other Moments Of Clarity
How to sum up my feelings? I have a very close connection with Abel Ganz but that has not made any difference to how I have reviewed this album. Put simply, it is not just the best album I have heard this year, it is one of the best albums I have ever heard in my 52 years. More than just a collection of songs or even stories, it is part of the band member’s very souls and when they put all of that into making a record, you are going to get something very special indeed.
Jon Gomm, the UK based acoustic guitar virtuoso, who recently released his new album The Faintest Idea on Kscope has announced a run of social distance shows for later this year. Jon states,
‘It’s not unexpected, but I’m still crushed to announce that I’m having to reschedule The Faintest Idea UK/Eire Tour – New dates are all set up for Autumn/Winter 2021, and tickets on sale (if you already have a ticket for one of the gigs, it’s transferable).
However, I am desperate to play these new songs. They don’t feel completely born until I’ve physically felt a human reaction to them. So I’m doing a short run of very limited Social Distance Gigs in the coming weeks (there were more booked, but some have fallen to new lockdowns before we could even announce them), and an Online Album Launch Gig on November 15th.
I can’t help but feel angry with those governments who have let their ideological obsession with the free-market overrule public health, and so ruined both. It’s a macro version of the exact same heedless dollar-chasing which unlocked a vault of rainforest pathogens and spilled it into a city street.’
Online Album Launch Gig Exclusively at jongomm.com – 15 Nov 2020
The Faintest Idea is out now on CD, double LP, digital and as a stunning limited edition deluxe 3 disc hardback book edition. The beautiful book features Lee Zimmerman illustrations, song descriptions, hand written lyrics and full track tablature for the song “Check You’re Still Breathing”. Jon’s reaction to the deluxe edition can be see in this latest unboxing video here.
UK HEADLINE TOUR FOR 2020 / 2021 CONFIRMED 1st Single – Cocoon released – video here
Jon Gomm, the UK based acoustic guitar virtuoso, has announced the details of his new album The Faintest Idea, due for release on Kscope on 16th October 2020, with this new album he has found new emotional depths in immense melodic pop landscapes.
When most people look at an acoustic guitar, they see exactly that – a wooden box with strings. As one of the pioneers of the modern fingerstyle sound, however, Jon Gomm has a rare gift for turning one instrument into what feels like an entire orchestra…
The Blackpool-born singer-songwriter’s 2003 home-recorded debut, Hypertension, was nothing short of a musical revelation: drumming beats, tapping chords and striking harmonics on his acoustic underneath that warm, soulful voice. Things changed for Jon with landmark single Passionflower racking up 17 million plus views on YouTube and other media platforms in 2012 – with British legend Stephen Fry describing him on mainstream television as someone “playing the guitar in a way I’d never seen it played before” and “an all-round genius”. Follow up album Secrets Nobody Keeps arrived in 2013, further cementing his stature as one of the driving forces behind an acoustic revolution – but now, having signed a label deal for the very first time in his career, he’s managed to truly refine the pop sensibilities and emotive expression within that unmistakable wall of sound. Latest full-length The Faintest Idea is set for release this October.
“I didn’t realise that my songs were worth anything beyond the crazy guitar playing,” shrugs the songwriter reborn, who originally started out on ukulele at the age of two. “When people started getting my lyrics tattooed on them, I had to accept that they’re not doing that because they’re fans of percussive guitar”
Perhaps one of the greatest surprises with The Faintest Idea is how it contrasts the incredible human warmth of Gomm’s acoustic articulation with more icy affairs, thanks to the synth parts and production work from Australian musician Andy Sorenson. Instead of a war between man and machine, the collaboration delicately cross-pollinates simple honesty with more forward-thinking atmospheres. It is a contemporary masterpiece – rich in its sense of paths travelled and roads taken, while also daring to gaze into the unexpected future.
“Andy has taken my raw, intimate solo acoustic performances, and placed them in an artificially expanded landscape of his own creation. I feel like I’m playing a gig, but the venue is a synthetic reality dreamworld. I strum a chord, and it bounces off a cyan cloud releasing a shower of notes, I hit another, and it echoes through a crystal chamber” Gomm muses.
The album earned its title through the notion that all of us, to some extent, are just The Faintest Idea. The singer/guitarist notes how that everything is made out of vibrating strings of probability, and it’s this scientific and spiritual meaning – as well as the more literal translation of total guesswork – that felt like the perfect summation of album number four… “It’s an enigmatic title,” smiles Gomm. “There’s a fine line between a metaphor and a pun, so I guess it dances on that.”
The album is complemented by the delicate hand drawn pen and ink cover art created by Lee Zimmerman.
Often cited as one of the most naturally gifted acoustic artists of the modern age, a one-man band with seemingly no limit to expression, it’s little surprise that the new music drew from the musician’s own experiences over the last five or so years. And while there have been moments of joyous celebration, by his own admission there has also been plenty of personal upheaval “This album has been a long time coming,” he reflects. “I tend to write in a really painstaking way. The last few years of my life have involved a lot of personal trauma – from me and my wife losing a pregnancy, through to losing other people in my life.”
There’s a sense of reinvention that arrives in The Faintest Idea’s 11 tracks – documenting a musician coming to terms with the talents that got him recognised and choosing to evolve into the unexpected. Despite having already gone viral and established himself as one of the modern-day masters of acoustic, this could very well be the release that sees the virtuoso transition to a mainstream audience far removed from the guitar community he’s long been revered by… “People knew I could play, I didn’t need to write an album to make that point anymore,” summarises Gomm. “And being aware of that brought out my music in a better way. The technique side can feed into the ego after a while. This is still acoustic guitar music, but the sound, approach and experiences behind it are totally different. I didn’t need to force myself to follow any musical philosophy when I could just make a beautiful-sounding album that was totally immersive and more emotional.”
Indeed, it’s as immersive and emotional as music gets. And while these are the most expansive recordings of JonGomm’s career so far, it still really just boils down to the magic of one man with his guitar and voice. And what a powerful magic it is.
The Faintest Idea is due to be released on 16th October on the following formats: *CD *Double gatefold LP with D-side artwork etching * Digitally *As a stunning limited edition deluxe 3 disc hardback book edition which will feature: CD1 – The Faintest Idea album CD 2 – The Naked Artist Mix – a stripped back version of the album a DVD containing6 exclusive performances filmed in a medieval church Guitar technique presentations A 35 minute Jon Gomm interview Song description videos The Faintest Idea in high resolution stereo audio. The beautiful book will feature Lee Zimmerman illustrations, song descriptions, handwritten lyrics and full guitar tablature for the song “Check You’re Still Breathing”.
The Faintest Idea – UK & Eire headline tour – tickets on sale now December 2020 Sat 5 – Huddersfield – Parish Pub Sun 6 – York – The Crescent Thu 10 – Trowbridge – Emmanuels Yard Fri 11 – Cheltenham – Frog And Fiddle Sat 12 – Swansea – Sin City
Jan 2021 Mon 4 – Southampton – Joiners Tue 5 – Brighton – Komedia Wed 6 – Bury St Edmunds – Apex Fri 15 – Nottingham – Rescue Rooms Sat 16 – Bristol – Thekla Sun 17 – Birmingham – Hare & Hounds Fri 22 – Manchester – The Bread Shed Sat 23 – Liverpool – Leaf Fri 29 – Leeds – Brudenell
Feb 2021 Wed 3 – Runcorn – Brindley Theatre Fri 5 – Milton Keynes – Craufurd Arms Sat 6 – Haverhill – Haverhill Arts Centre Sun 7 – Reading – Sub 89 Thu 11 – Cardiff – The Globe Fri 12 – Blackpool – Bootleg Social Thu 18 – Preston – The Ferret Fri 19 – Newcastle – Cluny Sat 20 – Glasgow – Oran Mor Sat 27 – Dublin – Academy 2
March 2021 Fri 5 – London – Bush Hall Sat 6 – Guildford – Boileroom