I’m sure that many of you have heard of the likes of Andy McKee, who became something of a YouTube sensation after posting a video of him performing his original song “Drifting.” He utilized a number of techniques, previously unknown to most of the world, that work to use the guitar to its full potential as a multi-purpose instrument. Popularized by guitarists such as Preston Reed and Michael Hedges, such a technique, often referred to as “percussive fingerstyle,” uses both hands to draw out percussive sounds from the instrument through sharp hits on the strings and the body of the guitar itself. Songs written in this style often use alternate tunings, giving the musician virtually limitless possibilities for note placement, along with the use of harmonic overtones to create higher pitches.
Similar to Andy McKee in style is the lesser-known but equally-talented Jon Gomm. Originally hailing from Lancashire, England, he has released two full studio albums to date and has been touring since 2004. Although it is definitely easy to see the influences from McKee and other virtuoso guitarists, Gomm sets himself apart from his contemporaries with his incredibly diverse and unique blend of musical styles. Described as a “one man melting pot,” he exhibits a mastery of a wide range of styles on Don’t Panic, his latest studio album. Folk, jazz, rock, blues, country, and even metal – they’re all represented on the album. And did I mention that the second verse on the opening track, “Waterfall,” is sung entirely in Urdu?