I may have spent the best part of the day in A&E for an acute ear problem, but listening to guitarist extraordinaire Jon Gomm's new album Live in the Acoustic Asylum exclusively this evening has been a veritable treat. And I don't tend to be very liberal with my star ratings.
'Anything but thrash or rap-metal today...' I was thinking.
Released on the 8th September, this live album is a laid-back, intricate, and refined set of works. A real cover-to-cover listen.
And by laid-back I don't mean tame, lounge, ambient, or background, or anything like that. The music is highly engaging and interesting.
Gomm is a superbly talented songwriter who deviates poignantly from standard track-structures, with Live in the Acoustic Asylum, a hot-list of experimental numbers which jazz it up and down the neck.
Like a virtuosic odyssey, body-drumming, harmonics, scrapes, off-beats, echoes and any other conceivable bits of acoustic wizardary are all present.
The songs, all specially selected fan favourites, are Gomm's self-described "hidden gems". They showcase a stylistic ability paralleled by very few, and are skilful yet accessible.
It's a very personable work in this way. Bookending songs, Gomm can be heard saying from time-to time: "I think I was pretty happy with that," or, "I think we'll keep that one." The entire LP, as well as being musically excellent, has a gentle and intimate feel to it.
It's no wonder Gomm is increasingly popular with a wide audience, and in demand across the globe to play large live shows.
It's now time to do the part of the review where we make comparisons, and I'm going to say Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Jose' Gonzalez, Tommy Emmanuel and possibly some of John Mayer. Track Hey Child is a wonderful cascade of reverberating fretplay which hits in at the nice experimental blues track-length of just over 7 minutes, as you might expect from material by Stevie ray Vaughan or Joe Bonamassa. But with more silence and more space.
Track Temporary shows more heartfelt facets to Gomm's repertoire, and is a touching lullaby-esque piece of music which hangs on every lilting note perfectly. It's as if Gomm is playing in a lofty museum or silent art gallery - every small sound produced is amplified, rich, and finely-tuned.
Letting the guitar do most of the talking through the album, vocals are sparsely placed, but by no means lacking. The Weather Machine shows off delicately impressive vocals which rise like curls of air and match the windings and meanderings of the strings.
The final track is a sterling cover of Radiohead's High and Dry, and tackling a Thom Yorke piece, as we know, is no easy feat.
If I was having people round to dinner, unwinding in an indulgent bath like Lady Macbeth, or planning a little afternoon delight, I'd be inclined to put this record on.
"Oh this is nice, what is it?" That's what my imaginary dinner guests would say.
"It's John Gomm's new album, Live in the Acoustic Asylum', I would reply. "Lovely, isn't it?"
As the host on this occasion I would be awarded many compliments for my good taste in food and music.
Jon Gomm 2015 Live Dates:
September 10th 2015 - Leeds, UK
September 12th 2015 - London Acoustic Guitar Show, UK
September 13th 2015 - Masterclass - London Acoustic Guitar Show, UK
September 19th 2015 - Port Hope, CANADA
September 20th 2015 - Toronto, CANADA
September 22nd 2015 - Quebec, CANADA
September 24th 2015 - London, CANADA
September 25th 2015 - Kitchener, CANADA
September 26th 2015 - Calgary, CANADA
September 27th 2015 - Vancouver, CANADA
October 15th 2015 - Huddersfield, UK
October 17th 2015 - Devizes, UK
October 18th 2015 - Bristol, UK
October 20th 2015 - Milton Keynes, UK
October 21st 2015 - London, UK
October 24th 2015 - Cardiff, UK
October 25th 2015 - Newton Abbot, Devon, UK
October 27th 2015 - Southampton, UK
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