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A Magazine for Sheffield

Live at the Acoustic Asylum

British guitarist Jon Gomm was catapulted into the limelight in 2012, when a tweet from Stephen Fry sent one of his videos viral. Fry’s message consisted of a single word: “Wow”. Little more needed saying. Three years later, Gomm has released Live at the Acoustic Asylum - his fourth album and ample proof, should more be needed, that he is far more than a one-hit wonder.

From the moment his guitar bursts into life in the opening seconds of ‘Stupid Blues’, his talent is undeniable. Artists hitting their guitars is not a new phenomenon, but few are quite as versatile as Gomm, whose unassisted efforts make Walk Off The Earth look like amateurs.

Once the initial shock of hearing him for the first time wears off, Gomm proves an able singer, too. Like his fingers, his voice wanders, strictly uncontrolled, from a falsetto to a deep growl. It’s most effective on ‘Gloria’, a breathless song about breathless love and the ugly turns it can take.

But, as undeniably pleasing as Gomm is to listen to, the album truly comes alive when he lets his guitar do the talking. There is seemingly no sound he cannot emulate, from the harp-like trills of ‘What’s Left For You?’ or the primal drumbeats of ‘Hey Child’ to the Newton Faulkner-esque arpeggios of the wonderfully titled ‘Orville (The Secret of Learning to Fly is Forgetting To Hit The Ground)’. You can almost hear the little green bastard chirping away on that last one.

Jon Gomm is a supreme talent, but there’s a raw intimacy to Live from the Acoustic Asylum. The little asides at the end of each track are proof that those magic fingers really do belong to a human being.