Tommy Emmanuel, C.G.P.
Jim & Morning Nichols
Sunday, December 8, 2019
Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm
$35-$55 | $5 increase DOS
Tommy Emmanuel, C.G.P.
Give a listen to “Old Photographs,” the closing track on Tommy Emmanuel’s It’s Never Too Late(2015), and you’ll hear the distinctive squeak of finger noise as he runs his hands across the frets of his Maton Signature TE guitar. It’s an imperfection in the performance that players typically try to eliminate in practice, and in the hands of a less-secure musician, that sound could easily be edited from the recording with Pro Tools recording technology.
But in their own way, those imperfections are perfect. For all of the masterful technique and flashy ability that’s brought Emmanuel recognition among the world’s greatest guitarists, that finger noise lets the audience know he is one of them. The same approach was taken with Tommy Emmanuel’s latest offering, the 15-track LIVE! At The Ryman(2017), a “genuine ‘had to be there,’ no fix ups, no frills recording,”says Emmanuel. “Each of my guitars has pickups and microphones included when you buy them, so the sound you hear from this recording is exactly as it sounds in the hall.”
LIVE! At The Ryman—recorded in front of a sold-out audience at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium in February 2016—highlights Emmanuel’s fervor as a master guitarist and also encapsulates a landmark moment for the musician as he is joined on stage by Steve Wariner and John Knowles, the only other two living CGPs (Certified Guitar Players: the honor and moniker Chet Atkins assigned not only to himself but four other guitarists he admire dand felt contributed to the legacy of guitar playing) for a performance of “San Antonio Stroll.”An accomplished fingerstyle player, Emmanuel frequently threads three different parts simultaneously into his material, operating as a one-man band who handles the melody, the supporting chords and the bass all at once.That expert layering is exemplified during LIVE! At The Ryman, notably on“Eva Waits,” a new song from Emmanuel that has not been released on a previous album.
Given his first guitar at age four, he started working professionally just two years laterin a family band, the Emmanuel Quartet.He never learned to read and write music, but he and his brother Philwere dedicated students of the instrument, creating games that helped them identify chords and patterns. They became adept at picking out the nuances of complex chords, a talent that takes most musicians years to develop.
Emmanuel pursued it with a passion and after graduating, Emmanuel became one of Australia’s most in-demand rock musicians, playing guitar in a succession of bands, including one of Australia’s best-known acts, Dragon. He supplemented that with a side job as a studio musician, playing on albums by the likes of Air Supply and Men At Work,and on commercial jingles. Eventually Emmanuel ventured out on his own and began to treat his shows like a jazz musician would, eschewing set lists, improvising his way through many of his songs to capture and shape the mood of the room.He could certainly sense the support. In addition to the standing ovations from his audiences, the recognitions rolled in, including two Grammy nominations, two ARIA Awards from the Australian Recording Industry Association (the Aussie equivalent of the Recording Academy)and repeated honors in the Guitar Player magazine reader’s poll.He’s also been named a Kentucky Colonel, received several honorary degrees and shared a key moment with brother Phil on the world stage, performing during the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in Sydney.Emmanuel also earned the opportunity to work with the likes of Eric Clapton, Doc Watson, John Denver and the incomparable Atkins. Emmanuel teamed with Chet on a 1997 project, The Day Finger Pickers Took Over the World, which proved to be Atkins’ final project. Atkins practically handpicked Emmanuel as his creative heir, though he never intended for Tommy to be a simple clone