• Christmas Memories

    christmasmemoriescoverChristmas Memories
    Tommy Emmanuel
    Label: Thirty Tigers
    Release Date: October 28, 2016
    Review Date: November 1, 2016

    Boomerocity friend and world-renowned Australian “fingerstyle” guitar legend Tommy Emmanuel will release a new album of holiday music, Christmas Memories (CGP Sounds), showcasing new arrangements of favorites such as “Jingle Bells,” “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!,” and “White Christmas.” In addition, the album includes three original tunes that are sure to become instant Christmas classics, including “Christmas Time,” “Let’s Make a Christmas Memory” and “Christmas Memories.”

    With Emmanuel on guitar and vocals, the album features long-time friend and collaborator John Knowles CGP on guitar, Pat Bergeson on guitar and harmonica, and Annie Sellick on vocals. The album serves as a follow up to 2011’s “All I Want For Christmas”, his first-ever holiday album.

    “Making this new album was such a joy for us,” said Emmanuel. “We had just finished our last Christmas Tour, and we were ready to go in and play the songs LIVE in the studio. Every performance is how it went down…no studio tricks or fix-ups, just honest singing and playing. This brings a feeling to the music that can't be manufactured. It sizzles with fun and spontaneity. I hope the listener will get some of that. I also can’t wait to take some of these new Christmas tunes to the stage.”

    In support of the new album, Emmanuel will embark on a U.S. Christmas tour in the fall of 2016, kicking off on November 29 at the Paramount in Denver, CO. The Classic & Christmas Tour will feature one solo set of some of Emmanuel’s classic acoustic material, and one set of Christmas favorites where he’ll be accompanied by Knowles, Bergeson, and Sellick. Tickets will go on sale on July 15 and can be purchased at www.tommyemmanuel.com. Why don’t you check and see if they’re going to be performing near you? I guarantee you that you’ll be in for an amazing evening of incredible guitar talent.

  • It's Never Too Late


    It’s Never Too Late
    Tommy Emmanuel
    Label: Thirty Tigers
    Release Date: September 18, 2015
    Review Date: September 13, 2015


    Boomerocity is a huge fan of Tommy Emmanuel – both as a recording artist as well as an astounding and entertaining performer. So, when Tommy has a new CD rolling out, we’re pogo stick excited to get our hands on it.  Tommy’s new CD, “It’s Never Too Late”, is not exception.

    A musical treasure chest loaded with fourteen great tunes (including the flight inspiring title cut), “It’s Never Too Late” will definitely delight Tommy Emmanuel fans and make new fans out of those hearing him for the first time.

    If you want to turn a friend on to Tommy for the first time, have them listen to “Old Photographs,” (the closing track) and they’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. That click conveys warmth and humanity. And it demonstrates an honesty in the sound. It’s that integrity that makes “It’s Never Too Late” a guitar album that’s believable to both studied guitarists and everyday music fans.

    “It’s all about the feeling of the music,” Emmanuel says. “And it has to make me feel something. I’m still playing for myself, you know, because I figure if I please me, then I’m pretty sure I’m gonna please you. And that’s not an arrogant statement, it’s just quality control.”

    Quality is laced throughout “It’s Never Too Late,” the first regular studio album featuring Emmanuel completely solo without guests since 2000. A friend and follower of the late Chet Atkins – who christened Emmanuel a Certified Guitar Player, making him one of only five musicians to receive the C.G.P. distinction from the master – Emmanuel easily skates between musical styles, playing with blues in “One Mint Julep,” infusing Spanish tradition in “El Vaquero” and exploring folk in “The Duke.” 

    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 evident in “It’s Never Too Late” on the quixotic “Only Elliott,” the calming title track and the gorgeous “Hellos And Goodbyes.” 

    When I last saw Emmanuel in concert, he introduced “Blood Brothers” as a song from this upcoming album. It brought the house down and instilled in me an increased, heightened sense of anticipation for the album. 

    It was well worth the wait.

    There’s a science to assembling the parts of his songs, and Emmanuel’s technical gift has earned him multiple awards from Guitar Player magazine and made him a Member of the Order of Australia, an honor bestowed by the Queen in his homeland. But the average fan could listen without even considering the precision behind the work, focusing instead on the artful tension and release of Emmanuel’s melodies. That’s how he intends it.

    Playing instrumental music that works in any language and travelling nimbly with a small tour group of three – Emmanuel, a sound engineer and a merchandiser – he was able to build a global audience that encompasses not only Australia, but the U.S., the United Kingdom, Europe and Asia.

    And he 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.

    “The things he respected about me were the things that I respected in myself, which is I stole as much as I possibly could from him, but then I made everything my own,” Emmanuel says. “I totally went in my own direction, and he really admired that about me. I told him, ‘I can’t be you, and I don’t want to be you. I’m me, and I’m gonna get on and do what I do.’ And he said, ‘That’s right.’ He said, ‘There’s enough people out there doing the worst job of trying to play like me.’”

    The “me” that Emmanuel has established is one with a can-do spirit. The message behind his work is optimism, and that’s a clear part of the ethos in It’s Never Too Late, a title inspired by the birth of a daughter, Rachel, just months before he turned 60.

    “When you have a child at my age, boy, do you have a reason to get going,” he says with a laugh. “You have a lot to live for.”

    He channeled that inspiration into the album, half of it recorded in a spurt of energy in Nashville, his current home. When he did a benefit in Los Angeles, Emmanuel found extra time to work with recording engineer Marc DeSisto on the remaining tracks, and the atmosphere was so great that he revisited several of the songs he’s already put down. 

    “I loved the sound, so I re-recorded some of the earlier stuff that I’d done because I was playing it better,” Emmanuel says. “There was more bounce, and there was more joy in the music.”

    So it is that Emmanuel is moving cheerily forward, trusting that the optimism in his work will provide the same inspiration for the audience that the process provides for him. The frenzy in “The Bug,” the upbeat buzz of “Hope Street” and the serenity that blankets “Miyazaki’s Dream” all link into some form of positivity and possibility. 

    It inspires Emmanuel, and it’s his hope that the indefinable spirit in those songs in turn inspires the audience.

    “I know why I’m here,” he says. “I know it’s not brain surgery, I know I’m not saving someone’s life. I’m just a musician trying to do his best, but each one of us has to do that, and that’s what makes the whole thing work.”

    Emmanuel embraced his individuality when he set out on his own as a musician. It required a change in his thinking and a belief in his unique destiny. Accepting that change at every stage of life is the point behind It’s Never Too Late. And that includes accepting the imperfections – the finger noise – along with the obvious accomplishments.

    “We are all creatures of habit, and 99% of people play the same tapes over and over in their subconscious,” Emmanuel says. “We see things that way because that’s who we are, it’s coming through our filter, so let’s change the filter. It’s never too late to make your life better.”

  • Live And Solo In Pensacola, Florida


    Live and Solo In Pensacola, Florida
    Tommy Emmanuel
    Label: Tommy Emmanuel
    Release Date: October, 2014
    Review Date: September 28, 2014

    Tommy Emmanuel is an amazing guitarist. This is evidenced on his many studio recordings. It becomes profoundly obvious when one has the privilege of watching this man perform live and in person.  Emmanuel offers a new live CD/DVD package, “Live and Solo in Pensacola, Florida,” that gives us fans another great opportunity to see him at his best: in front of a crowd.

    Recorded early 2013 at the Jean & Paul Amos Performance Studio in Pensacola, Florida, this CD/DVD set contains 17 tracks of Tommy exactly how you want him:  live, solo and acoustic! This self-produced title includes old and new favorites on one CD and one DVD (formatted in PAL and NTSC for all regions).  Bonus "hands only" angle for select tracks on the DVD.

    During a recent interview with Boomerocity, Tommy said of this package, “I just recorded the studio album – the new solo studio album that is being mixed at the moment – and that has a lot of those songs on it. I was wanting to get out and play those songs to an audience and film it. That’s how that all came about. It was a PBS driven project. So, in the middle of the show, I pick up my Larrivee guitar and just used a mic on it. That was something I wanted to do. I wanted to have a part of the show where I just played on the mic and played a different guitar, as well. It brought another dynamic to the show. The audience loved it and it was one of those TV shows with a live audience where there was no stopping, there was no fixing up. There was no two or three shows and pick the best. There was just one show straight through.

    “It all worked very well and everybody left feeling like, ‘Whoa! We did it! We kept that feeling – that moment.’”

    This incredible performance set can only be purchased at Tommy’s shows or by clicking here.

  • The Guitar Mastery of Tommy Emmanuel


    The Guitar Mastery of Tommy Emmanuel
    Tommy Emmanuel
    Release Date: September 02, 2014
    Review Date: September 28, 2014

    Ever since I was turned on to Tommy Emmanuel by a high school friend during a class reunion three years ago, I have been an avid (even rabid) fan of the “guitar thunder from down under.” In turn, I’ve introduced countless people to this amazing master of the guitar. I would often play a cut from one of my CDs or post a video onto Facebook in order to provide an example of the phenomenal talent of this man.

    Now, for fans and the clueless, alike, there is “The Guitar Mastery of Tommy Emmanuel” – a two disc package containing an eye-popping twenty-eight of some of Tommy’s best songs and performances.  Included in that count are three live cuts and two previously unreleased bonus tracks. This collection will serve as a greatest hits compilation for fans and an excellent sampler of Emmanuel’s work to the uninitiated. Both classes of listeners will come away with a greater appreciation the stunning talent known as Tommy Emmanuel.

    I’m sure that there will be fans who will say that certain of Emmanuel’s work should have been included over others. That’s their opinion and they’re entitled to it. I prefer to think that this serves as further proof of the immense breadth and depth of this man’s incredible body of work that pleases people literally the world over.

  • Tommy Emmanuel

    Posted January, 2011


    tommyemmanuelWhile attending my “30-something” class reunion last fall, a classmate and I were exchanging names of various artist who we had become fans of but others might not have heard about.  In the course of the conversation, she mentions the name, Tommy Emmanuel, whom I haven’t heard of until then. She raved about how great this guy was on the guitar and strongly encouraged me to check him out. She assured me that my feeble mind would be blown.

    I did and it was.

    I scoured YouTube for some of his performances and was entertained by a rich list of some of the best covers of some of the more memorable songs from the last 50 years. There were also lots of video of Emmanuel performing some of his own creations, most notably, Initiation. It was that last song that sealed the deal with me, making me a new Tommy Emmanuel fan for life.

    Further research showed me that Emmanuel was performing professionally with his family’s quartet by the age of five and performed all over Australia by the age of 10.  Tommy and his brother, Phil, were appropriately deemed child prodigies, further broadening their appeal to Australian audiences.  His fame and appeal has continued to grow, eventually branching out well beyond the shores of his homeland and to audiences around the world.

    Naturally, I wanted to speak with this acoustic thunder from down under and was fortunate to line up a phone interview during the Knoxville stop during his U.S. tour last October.  The engaging warmth and conversation that I saw in the concert videos were evident during our chat.

    I began our conversation by asking him to, for benefit of the uninitiated U.S. crowd who might not have ever heard of him, how would he introduce himself?

    “Well, I’m a 55 year old guy from Australia who plays guitar because I love to play. I’ve been on stage ever since I was five years old. I’ve never wanted to do anything else but play the guitar and entertain people. I see myself as a person who entertains people using whatever gifts I have and I work tirelessly on the instrument. I try to learn from every musician I come across. I guess I’m a person who loves to entertain people.”

    Tommy continues by segueing from his introduction to sharing how his love for music and entertaining was nurtured.  “My mother gave me my first guitar for my fourth birthday but I didn’t play in public until I was five. She showed me how to play rhythm for her. She was playing the lap steel guitar at that time. We both loved to try to make music together.

    “My brothers and sisters all took up instruments as well. My brother, Phil, my older brother, he has a similar gift to me except he approaches things in a different way. When we were kids, I was the rhythm player and he was the lead player. He would learn a song – he could figure it out pretty quickly – and he would say, ‘Here are the chords’ and then I would learn the chords and the structure of the song and then we’d play it together. 

    “Then, when I got a little older, I discovered that, because I’m an ear player – I play everything by ear – I don’t read music, I never had any formal training of any sort - I discovered that I could figure out a song pretty quickly and hear the pattern in the song and work out where the song went. I got interested in song writing and that’s when my world exploded and that’s when I discovered that I could write songs and that I had a gift in music somehow.

    “Of course, being on stage is whole different thing to being a song writer. It’s like two different roles. I loved being on stage. I loved performing. I loved getting a reaction from the audience. I loved making the audience laugh and surprising them. We’d be doing a song and I’d dance across the stage and people wouldn’t expect it. Stuff like that. I discovered that that was what I enjoyed the most was to make people laugh and to feel good and to take their mind away.

    “These days, what I do on stage is I use every element of whatever I have to distract people from whatever they’re thinking and take them into another space kind of thing- make them feel good. So, I try to dazzle them with whatever technique I’ve got. I try to disarm them with the fun that I have and then make them laugh at me laughing at myself.  So, it’s like I’m the Three Stooges in one person.” He says with a laugh.

    “It’s also so much fun and challenging to play the instrument. The instrument is so beautiful and so challenging. But I enjoy playing my songs and telling my stories and try to paint a picture in music without words for people.”

    When I made a comment based on the assumption that he only played acoustic guitar, Emmanuel politely corrected me.

    “I do play electric guitar. Certainly, I do!  All of my early albums – my really successful albums in Australia – were seventy percent electric and just a few acoustic songs. I do a bit of everything.”

    The video of Tommy’s performances revealed that he is as also a master in the use of the electronic effect known as delay.  I asked him what inspired him to use delays and if there was somebody who used them that who inspired him.

    “I was just messing around with a delay one day. A lot of people have done that. Les Paul did it a lot. Chet Atkins did it a lot. People don’t realize that the sound they were listening to is a guitar playing against itself.  It’s a brilliant sound.”

    Ah! The great Chet Atkins!  My pre-interview research revealed that Emmanuel discovered the incredible talent of Chet Atkins in 1962, becoming a lifelong fan of Mister Guitar, spending countless hours as a student of learning Atkins’ style of playing.  He established a long distance friendship with the guitar great via mail and, 18 years after first being turned on to him, finally got to meet his idol and established a close friendship until Chet’s passing in 2001.  I asked Tommy about his relationship with Atkins.

    “Yes, I wrote to Chet when I was eleven years old. He wrote back to me. We became kind of pen pals with me living in Australia, of course.” He then shares what his first thoughts are when he thinks of Atkins.  “Oh! There’s so much! He was like a daddy to me. He was a innovator. He was a great leader. He was a great organizer. He could put the right team together to do a certain project for a certain artist. He knew exactly who had what gift. He was very clever in that way. But the thing I learned the most about Chet was look for a good song and look for a melody that touches your heart and your soul and play it for people.


    “Before he died, we had a beautiful day together. There’s a song he used to sing for his dad called I Still Can’t Say Goodbye. He asked me to keep singing that song. He said, ‘When I’m gone, I want you to sing that song.’ I said, ‘I wouldn’t do that. That’s sacred to you.’ He said, ‘You don’t understand. People need to hear that. That’s what’s important and therein lies the lesson. Forget what you think. Do what you know is going to be good for other people.’ That summed him up perfectly.

    “The same thing for me. I’ve been playing Guitar Boogie and Classical Gas. I’ve been playing them all my life and you would think, ‘Why don’t you play something different?’  The moment that I don’t play Guitar Boogie, Classical Gas or whatever, people will come up and say, ‘I drove 500 miles to hear you tonight and you didn’t play my favorite song!’  You’re there for the people. Forget yourself! Get out there and do what you were born to do and do it for the people.”

    As he wraps up his thoughts about the lessons he learned from Chet Atkins, Emmanuel shares the thoughts of a man truly in awe of the blessings in his life and the lessons he has been fortunate to learn.

    “If you would have told me twenty years ago that I would be laying in a bed in Knoxville, talking to you, I would have told you that you were crazy. But so much has happened in the last twenty years of my life, it’s been extraordinary. I’ve taken my music to everywhere I wanted to go like Russia and China, Croatia, Hungary, Brazil, Africa. It’s just been an incredible journey. It’s only really just beginning. I’ve been playing for 50 years and I feel like I’m just getting going now.”

    Who else has inspired and influenced Tommy?

    “Oh, man, there were so many! Last night, I watched Carole King and James Taylor. They’re two of my favorites. I draw a lot of inspiration from those two. Carole King’s songwriting is just on a level that’s just so stellar – so beautiful. Same with James.

    “I listen to everything. The only thing I don’t like is rap music. I don’t criticize it or say that it’s bad. I just can’t stand it. I listen to all music from Beyoncé to Metallica. I listen to everything. I don’t like everything but I listen to things to try and learn and to wake up my senses to hear something different.”

    Having graced stages and delighted audiences all over the world, I asked Tommy if there was any place he hasn’t performed yet.

    “Well, next year I’m playing in Chile, Argentina, Venezuela and places like that – where I haven’t been. So there are a few other countries that I haven’t been yet. I’ll be in China next week and I was in Russia last month. They are countries I really wanted to take my music to because I knew something was up. Especially with Russia and China because there were Russian and Chinese people coming to my shows in Amsterdam, Berlin and places like that and they had come from their countries for the show. When I met people to sign autographs, they were like, ‘When are you going to come to Russia? When are you going to come to China? We come to your shows from China. Why don’t you come to China?’

    “I got a lot of e-mail from those countries so I found a promoter there and put the show on. Two thousand people came. It was unbelievable! A lot of that has to do with YouTube.”

    I’ve read lots of interviews, biographies and autobiographies where an artist gets bored with what made them famous and no longer derive satisfaction from their work.  With that in mind, I asked Tommy what is the biggest thrill or satisfaction he gets from his work.

    “We’re travelling on a bus for this tour and I have a great guitar player named Frank Vignola playing with me at the moment. Frank’s one of my favorite players. Yesterday, we learned a bunch of Charlie Christian songs. That was so cool to go back and listen to Charlie Christian again. That was just like going to school yesterday. We spent the whole day playing in the bus. It was great and I learned a lot of new songs.”

    As I stated at the beginning of this article, I was particularly blown away by Emmanuel’s composition, Initiation.  I asked him what inspired that song and how long did it take him to put that piece together. 

    “That’s the song I use the delay on. I spent most of my young years based in the outback in a place called Alice Springs. I played to mostly Aboriginal audiences and I heard a lot of Aboriginal music. What I tried to do with that song is tell a story of pain and suffering of the hardship of life for those people and to make it a haunting kind of thing. Some nights, I can really conjure up the sound that I heard as a kid. The sound of when an Aboriginal group is doing their corroboree or their getting together and making music, they’re telling stories and acting out dances. The sounds of all of that are in that song somehow.  It’s a very simple piece. It’s not brain surgery. I try to keep it as simple as possible because you don’t want to be putting the influences of other things in that. You want it to be as pure as it can.”

    I said, “You say it’s simple but you’re talking to somebody who would just love to play your mistakes!”

    He laughed and said, “Yeah, you leave my mistakes to me!”

    Tommy Emmanuel has played on some well known hits and performed with some pretty big names.  Thinking of that, I asked him a two part question. First, what kind of project would he like to do that he hasn’t done yet?  Second, who hasn’t he played with, on stage, on record or in private that he really wants to play with?

    “I’ve fulfilled a few goals – a few lifetime dreams in the last year. Larry Carlton was my guest a couple of weeks ago in Austin. I’d love to work with Larry more. He’s one of my big influences and one of my favorites. And the other guy that I got to really know and would love to work with is George Benson. They’re two of the guys that I would love to play with and love to work with.

    “I’ve yet to find another singer that I would love to work with because it’s all about the songs. For me, it’s the quality of your work and the quality that you put out to the people that is important. Sometimes you can do that with a complete unknown. Sometimes you can do that with someone really famous. So I’m still on the lookout for the right kind of partner to either write songs with.”

    Almost as an aside, Tommy dropped this bombshell on me.

    “I just played on a track for Michael Jackson which I love. I hope that they release it. I don’t know what is going to happen with Michael’s new stuff. I just played on a beautiful track on his – I hope it’s on his new album! They haven’t told me if it’s going to be released or not but they asked me to play on this track and I did. When I was in London they sent me the stuff on the internet and we downloaded it in the studio in London. I played a solo and a backing part for Michael who has been one of my heroes in my life, too. It’s an incredible vocal, I’ve got to tell you. I hope it comes out.”

    The Jackson album Tommy referred to did, in fact, come out in December.  Entitled, Michael, it does include Much Too Soon and is a phenomenal piece of work. Congratulations, Tommy!

    As he concludes his story about working on Much To Soon, Emmanuel says: “It’s been really good – it’s been a great journey. A couple of years ago I got a call from a guy named Peter Asher who used to manage James Taylor.  Peter’s a great producer and a good singer himself. He was managing and producing Diana Ross’s new project and I ended up playing on that as well. Things like that come along now and then and I really enjoy that. It’s so exciting and so challenging. I can’t tell you the feeling I had, especially with Michael’s track.  I was in London and the producers were in Los Angeles and they’re trusting me with his track. That’s a big responsibility and I have such a big respect and admiration for Michael and the quality of his work. Nobody raised the bar like him. It’s phenomenal.”

    When answering my question as to what can a new fan expect from one of his shows and who makes up his audience, Emmanuel says, “To be surprised and to be reminded to have fun in life and to fly your kite as high as you can. Live in the moment. Be in the moment. Be in the moment!” Regarding his audience demographic, “Baby’s to grandparents. Everybody! I get heavy metal guys. I get jazzers. I get folkies. I get blue grassers. I get blues guys. I get grannies. I get pimply teenagers. I get everybody and that’s great. That’s the human race!”

    For the pure musician Boomerocity readers out there who are learning of Tommy Emmanuel for the first time, I asked him to share what kinds of guitars he plays.

    “I have a quite a collection of guitars in my homes. I have a home here in America and one in England and I have guitars stored in Australia as well. I have some homemade guitars that are made by friends of mine that I don’t take on the road. My main instruments are made by the Maton Guitar Company in Australia. These guitars are not like other instruments. They have a beautiful sound but they have the best electronics that you’ll ever hear. It was Jean Larrivée from  Larrivée Guitars who said to me, ‘Building a great guitar is a no-brainer. Getting the pickup right is almost impossible and that’s what these people have done!’

    “So, if you want an acoustic guitar that you can mic up or, more importantly, you can plug in and get a good sound, there’s no guitar like a Maton guitar. As you can see by the finishes on my guitars, they can take a beating, too!” He concludes with a laugh.

    After my chat with Tommy, I was struck by the fact that it took me so dang long to discover this gifted artist.  So that YOU won’t be the last one on this fan train, I would encourage you to tell others who love great guitar work or gifted entertainers about Tommy Emmanuel.

    You can keep up with the latest news with Tommy Emmanuel by signing up for his mailing list at www.tommyemmanuel.com. If you don’t order any of the music flagged in the pages of this interview, then you can certainly order his great CD’s, DVD’s and other great times from his online store.  Oh, and, of course, you can be among the first to know when he’s going to appear at a town or city near you – wherever you are in the world.

  • Tommy Emmanuel - 2014

    Posted September, 2014

    tommyemmanuelfirstpicPhoto by Allan ClarkeIt’s always an honor and very flattering when an artist agrees to an interview with me for the second or more time. That is especially the case when I was given the opportunity to chat again with Australian born guitar virtuoso, Tommy Emmanuel. 

    For the uninformed, let me fill you in on just who Tommy Emmanuel is.  As just stated, he is a self-taught guitarist who first picked up the guitar at the age of four and began playing professionally at the age of six.  He had played the entire continent of Australia by the time he reached the age of ten. 

    Consequently, his considered one of that country’s most respected musicians – guitarist or otherwise.  He has been nominated for a GRAMMY twice.  His hero, Chet Atkins, bestowed the title of “Certified Guitar Player” onto Tommy. “Big deal,” you might say. Considering that the honor has been given by Mr. Atkins to four other people in the world, yes, it’s a big friggin’ deal.

    Since that time, Tommy moved to the United States by way of England, and is calling Nashville, Tennessee, home. The fifty-nine year old guitar maestro maintains a grueling tour schedule that is not for the weak or faint of heart. Perusing his itinerary posted on his website, the man is literally all over the world each and every year. He’s virtually a touring animal!

    Currently on tour, I learned that he was going to be performing nearby at the Tennessee Theater in Knoxville, Tennessee and, when offered a chance to speak with this great man for a second time, I naturally jumped at it. 

    Emmanuel called me from his hotel in Syracuse, New York, after a TV appearance and other media related events.  As we settled into our chat, I mentioned that I would be catching his show at the Tennessee Theater in the near future and asked how he liked performing in them. 

    “They have such a feeling to them, haven’t they – those older theaters? They’re such a good atmosphere. The Tennessee Theater is one of the best theaters in America to play. It’s a beautiful art deco kind of place; that big beautiful blue dome in the middle of the ceiling of the hall. And there’s just not a bad seat in the house. It’s a really nice place to play. They’ve done a really good job on the dressing rooms and stuff like that. It’s special to me because backstage my dressing room is the Chet Atkins Room. Chet’s always there.”

    Tommy allows his thoughts to step outside the legendary theater to reminisce about how special the city of Knoxville is to him.

    “Knoxville’s one of the places I got started in America. I first came there and played a little hall called Ossoli Circle which is really where ladies meet and play Bridge. We started there and then I moved to the Bijou and I played a couple of clubs in town. Eventually, I had my sights set on the Tennessee Theater. We eventually got there.  AC Entertainment – the promoters there – they’re the ones who really set me up there so I have a lot to be thankful for.”

    Not only is Tommy Emmanuel a touring maniac, he’s a prolific recording artist, too. In fact, he has two recordings that have just been released: A 2-CD set entitled, “The Guitar Mastery Of Tommy Emmanuel,” and a CD/DVD package, “Live And Solo From Pensacola, Florida”.  I asked Emmanuel about the “Mastery” offering.

    “It’s a real carefully chosen song list of songs – the best stuff that I’ve done. We went back over the last twelve or fifteen years of my life and chose the songs that we felt were kind of the landmarks along the way for me. If I could join the dots in my life using songs these are the ones that I would use.”

    When I mentioned that I understood that there were two bonus tracks (“Sunset” and “Only Elliot”, Tommy replied, “There tommyemmanuel.1aPhoto by Allan Clarkeare. That was because the record company in Japan wanted to put this album together and they said, ‘What we really want to be able to offer people are a couple of tracks that they’ve never heard before.’ So, I went into the studio and recorded those tracks. When I came back home from touring, I went in and recorded them, re-mastered them, sent them to Japan and they pieced it all together. So, there are two new performances of new songs on there as well as stuff from previous albums.”

    And what does he hope that his fans and others get from this 2-CD set?

    “I hope that they get a great experience from the quality of what we’ve chosen to do, the song order and also, of course, the song choice. It’s really about getting the best quality and integrity into your music. I think that it’s a good cross section not only my writing styles but of my playing styles, as well. It’s like a snapshot of my life, really. The music and the songs came from deep places.”

    On Facebook, I often share videos of songs that are then-currently looping on the jukebox in my mind and Emmanuel’s music is often in that loop – especially his performances of “Initiation,” “Morning Aire,”  and (my all-time favorite) “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” which brought tears to my eyes when I saw Tommy perform it in Dallas a couple of years ago. I shared that with him as a backdrop to when I asked him which song from “Mastery” he would point to as the calling card to the collection.

    “It would be ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’”.

    I’m glad that great minds think alike.

    “I mean, everybody knows the song. When you hear someone play it their way, you get an insight into who they are, how they think and what makes them tick. That’s an interesting way of being able to do it is to just play a song to somebody in your own way which speaks volumes about you. So, I would have to say ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ would be my calling card for this double album.”

    Some may not realize that the label that that disc is released on is Steve Vai’s label, Favored Nations. I asked Tommy how that has worked out for him working with a label that is headed by a fellow respected guitarist. Were there unique synergies being affiliated with such a company?

    “It’s been encouraging and inspiring to me because Steve, obviously, gets what I’m doing. I can’t play like him and he can’t play like me. We remain who we are. We’re also at an age – both of us are very similar in age – we’re family guys. We have the same kind of values in life. I think he’s always looking to do something with quality and integrity and I’m the same, you know? I think both of us are always looking for ways of expanding ourselves out into the world in ways that are of quality.

    tommyemmanuel.2Photo by Allan Clarke“Steve totally gets me which is a great thing to be able to say about your record label. He totally understands where I’m coming from and what I’m doing. He gets the whole thing of being true to the music and just trying to play the music with the best feeling. He totally gets all of that.”

    This begged the question in my mind of whether there was any chance of he and Vai would do anything together.

    “Well, I hope so! I definitely would love to do something with Steve. If I could just get him to play acoustic with me, that would be wonderful! Whenever I go to visit him at his house when I’m in L.A., I always get out my guitar and play it and he’ll play on it. We like to pick at each others guitars. Ha! Ha!”

    Bringing it back to the subject of collaboration, Emmanuel added, “You just never know until you try. I remember when we were at Carnegie Hall doing Les Paul’s 90th Birthday Bash. Joe Satriani and I were sharing the same dressing room so Joe gets Steve on the phone and we say to him, ‘Okay, we’re going to G3 but it’s going to be acoustic. It’s going to be Steve, Tommy and Joe.” It was hilarious and was a joke, of course. But Steve was, like, ‘Oh, no! We’re not doing that!’  I think it would be fun to give it a go, at least. If we didn’t do any shows, at least get together in a room and jamming on a song. I think that would be so cool!”

    Bringing the conversation around to his “Live and Solo in Pensacola, Florida,” I mentioned that it looked like the song list was all tunes that he hadn’t previously recorded live.

    “I just recorded the studio album – the new solo studio album that is being mixed at the moment – and that has a lot of those songs on it. I was wanting to get out and play those songs to an audience and film it. That’s how that all came about. It was a PBS driven project. So, in the middle of the show, I pick up my Larrivee guitar and just used a mic on it. That was something I wanted to do. I wanted to have a part of the show where I just played on the mic and played a different guitar, as well. It brought another dynamic to the show. The audience loved it and it was one of those TV shows with a live audience where there was no stopping, there was no fixing up. There was no two or three shows and pick the best. There was just one show straight through.

    “It all worked very well and everybody left feeling like, ‘Whoa! We did it! We kept that feeling – that moment.’”

    With the upcoming Knoxville show, I asked Tommy what could fans expect from him in that show as well as other stops on his tour.

    “Oh, I’m going to play a lot of the new songs on the show. I’ve also got Loren and Mark – Loren Barrigar and Mark tommyemmanuel.3Photo by Allan ClarkeMazengarb – they’re the first part of the show. Those guys are fantastic players. They’re really popular with guitar players everywhere now. So, I’ve got those guys opening. They’re really doing a wonderful job. Then we get together and play at the end of the show. It’s a wonderful crescendo at the end of the night.

    “I’m going to be playing some songs from the album I did with Chet Atkins (“The Day Finger Pickers Took Over The World”) and as many new songs (from the upcoming studio album) in the show as I can.”

    As we wrapped up our chat, I asked Mr. Emmanuel what was on his radar for the next twelve months. His answer surprised me.

    “Well, the most important thing in my life right now is I have another daughter coming. Hopefully, with everything going well, she’ll be born the first week of January. I will have three daughters, then. My eldest daughter was born in Sydney and she just got married two weeks ago. My second daughter, Angelina, was born in England. And, then, our little girl will be born in America so I’ll have an Australian, English and American! My wife and I are so happy – so excited to have her on the way. She’s in good shape. We’ve seen her on the screen a few times. She seems to have all her fingers and toes and is normal. We’re hoping that her health will be good and that things will run smoothly.”

    When I asked if the ultrasounds showed his new daughter playing some decent riffs in the womb, he replied, “Yeah, yeah! She’s gotta little ukulele in there! Heh Heh Heh! Actually, a friend of mine put up a photograph of an ultrasound photo with a little baby and he PhotoShopped a guitar. He said, ‘Yep! It’s Tommy’s child!’ Ha! Ha! Awesome stuff!”

    Keep up with the latest in Tommy Emmanuel’s life and career by checking out his website, TommyEmmanuel.com. If you get a chance to catch this amazing guitarist in concert, do so. You’ll be in for a phenomenal experience that you’ll never forget.

    Note: Be sure and read Boomerocity's first interview with Tommy Emmanuel here.

  • Tommy Emmanuel - Dallas, 2012

    Tommy Emmanuel In Concert

    Show Date: February 19, 2012

    Venue: The Majestic Theater

     1925 Elm Street

     Dallas, Texas

    Ladies and gentlemen, as I write this, I have just gotten home from seeing what I can unequivocally say was the absolutely most amazing concert I have ever seen – and I don’t say that lightly or with any molecule of exaggeration.

    I am talking about the acoustic thunder from down under, Tommy Emmanuel. Before this concert, I had seen countless video of Emmanuel perform and even own my own copy of his concert DVD, Center Stage. And, while all of that footage I watched certainly impressed me enough to want to see him in concert, I was not prepared to be blown away like I was. My wife, who isn’t easily impressed with musicians told me after the show, “I believe he’s the most amazing musician I’ve ever heard” and, folks, I’ve drug her to hear quite a few.

    Tommy Emmanuel is the consummate performer and entertainer. He engaged everyone in the 1,700 (there were attendees seated in the orchestra pit) seat Majestic Theater. His personal warmth, enthusiasm and charisma permeated every cubic millimeter of that gorgeous, ornate, historic theater. 

    Tommy wowed listeners and musicians alike. I know because I was surrounded by both. At the end of one song (I can’t remember which one), the young college aged man sitting next to my first wife held out both hands in exasperation, exclaiming, “Where DO you come from?!”

    Emmanuel did his amazing Beatles medley, which I could listen unendingly day in and day out. He also treated the crowd to a new composition he wrote and dedicated to the late George Harrison entitled Hope Street. You could hear a pin drop as Tommy played the most moving rendition of Somewhere Over The Rainbow that I have ever heard. I almost moved me to tears. 

    At one point during the show, Emmanuel pulls up a chair and plugs in another one of his three guitars he has on stage with him. He then proceeds to tell the story of the guitar. It is a 1930-something Martin – which in and of itself is worth a lot of money. However, that guitar was given to Tommy by the chief himself: Chet Atkins. Chet and Tommy became friends a while after Emmanuel had written him from his home in Australia. In time, they became good, fast friends (read more about it in the Boomerocity interview with Tommyhere). 

    As Tommy worked through some songs on that guitar, he shared stories about him and Chet. He then closed with a song of Chet’s that Atkins made him promise to continue playing since he could no longer play. It is the tear jerker Atkins classic: I Still Can’t Say Goodbye. I defy anyone with a heart to listen to that song and not have tears come to your eyes.

    Other personal favorites of the night were You Needed Me, Lewis and Clark, and Guitar Boogie. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant.

    At the risk of sounding like I’m bragging about the perks of this gig, I must share a story. My wife and I were privileged to be able to briefly meet Mr. Emmanuel at a pre-show meet and greet that was held in a couple of different rooms. He greeted each and every one in our particular room lovingly and warmly. There wasn’t a drop of insincerity in his demeanor.   Equally as sincere were Tommy’s manager, road crew and tour manager, the promoters, the Majestic staff. To a person they were all a top shelf class act. Emmanuel surrounds himself with great people.

    If my opinion means anything at all to any of you who read Boomerocity, believe me when I say that Tommy Emmanuel is a must see act LIVE. Sure, buy his albums and DVD’s but you must see him live. Take a musician friend with you, too, and see how they react.

  • Tommy Emmanuel - Knoxville, April 2018

    Tommy Emmanuel
    Opening Act: Amanda Shires
    Tennessee Theatre – Knoxville, TN
    April 27, 2018

    IMG 2250Photo by Randy PattersonAs Boomerocity readers already know, we are HUGE fans of Tommy Emmanuel. So, whenever he comes to town, of course, we’re right there. And I do mean, right there.

    Tommy’s show Friday night at the gorgeous Tennessee Theatre, was absolutely the best I’ve seen him (and this was the fourth time I’ve seen him in concert). The seats were absolutely perfect (third row – non-orchestra pit)

    The opening act was the talented Amanda Shires. Here talent and quirky humor had the entire audience engaged and laughing – just her and her ukulele. You’ll definitely want to check out her work if you’re not already familiar with it. Amanda Shires. Don’t forget her.

    After a brief intermission, Tommy came out to an enthusiastic, sell-out crowd. As is always the case, Emmanuel hit the stage with unbridled energy and attacked his guitar (and the audience) with equally unrestrained talent.

    Two highlights of the evening were Emmanuel’s amazing Beatles Medley. I’ve watched him perform that in the past as well as on video and the performances are always a musical treat.

    The second highlight was when Ms. Shires joined Tommy on stage to perform Borderline from his new album, Accomplice One.

    Wow. Just wow.

    As I keep telling you people: If you’ve never caught Tommy Emmanuel in concert, you’re missing out. You really, truly are.

  • Tommy Emmanuel - Knoxville, TN 2014



    Tommy Emmanuel
    With Loren and Mark
    September 21, 2014
    The Tennessee Theater
    Knoxville, Tennessee

    Photo by James Patterson


    I apologize for the lateness in posting this concert review. You see, what happened was that Tommy Emmanuel hit the stage and for over two frenetically entertaining hours, the “Certified Guitar Player” (an honor bestowed on Emmanuel and four other guitarists before his death) wore out his audience . . . and left us all with a contented smile on our faces.

    Before Tommy’s performance, the opening act, Loren and Mark took the stage at precisely 7:30pm and wowed the near capacity crowd with their acoustic guitar duet mastery.  Along with originals (written by friends) like “China Blue” (THE Boomerocity favorite by these two gentlemen), these acoustic guitar whiz kids played some amazing treatments of songs like Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright,” Elvis’s “Mystery Train” and Chet Atkin’s treatment of “Mr. Bojangles”.

    After a very brief intermission, Mr. Emmanuel took to the stage and went non-flippin-stop for over two hours (I think I told you that already, huh?). Among the long list of great songs and medleys was a bluesy instrumental version of “Amazing Grace,” the musical panoramic tune, “Lewis and Clark,” his amazing Beatles medley and (one of my personal favorites), his treatment of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”

    I was hoping that Tommy would play “Initiation” but he didn’t. He did better than that. He played a new composition of his entitled, “Blood Brother” and “The Trails” – a moving number about the plight of the Native American Indians (again, composed by Emmanuel).

    Emmanuel’s playing was often fast (clocking cruising speeds of 90 mph with gusts of up to 120 mph) but flawless. When the tempo slowed, it did so with raw, heartfelt emotion.

    For the last couple of pre-encore numbers, Tommy brought out Loren and Mark and included an amazing cover of “Good Time Charlie’s Got


    Photo by James Patterson

    The Blues”. For his solo encore, Emmanuel performed an incredible version of “It’s A Wonderful World” that, no doubt, had Louis Armstrong smiling down on him.

    During the show, Tommy mentioned how he had hoped that his work and the work of Loren & Mark would inspire kids around the world to take up guitar and take it to a whole new level. I’m sure that these three gentlemen accomplished exactly that during their show. I am also convinced that Craig’s List has a bunch of used guitars for sale, put up as such by many aspiring guitarists who watched these three maestros and decided to throw in their musical towels and take up needlepoint.

    If you ever get the chance to see Tommy Emmanuel perform, I guarantee you that you will NOT be disappointed.

    Read the latest Boomerocity interview with Tommy Emmanuel here and keep up with him here and with Loren and Mark here.

  • Tommy Emmanuel and Joe Robinson Knoxville 2016

    Tommy Emmanuel W/Joe Robinson

    Bijou Theatre – Knoxville, TN

    May 20, 2016

    tommyemmanuelknoxville2016001Last night was the third time I’ve had the privilege of catching one of Tommy Emmanuel’s performances live and for the third time, he blew me away. Ever the masterful musician (a Certified Guitar Player, actually. Read about it here), Tommy is an incredible entertainer, to boot.

    Don’t take my word for it. Ask anyone who was part of the near-capacity crowd at the beautiful and historic (some say it’s even haunted) Bijou Theatre in downtown Knoxville.

    Emmanuel dug deep into his vast catalog of songs to dazzle the crowd. He even laid one on us that hasn’t been recorded yet. He didn’t share the name of it but you can bet I’ll get his next CD so that I can hear it. It was one of his best and most beautiful compositions yet.

    Opening for Tommy was Joe Robinson. Until last night, I hadn’t heard of the young Aussie. However, I can assure you that I will never forget him. Robinson is who you would get if you cloned Tommy Emmanuel and Phil Keaggy together. I've never seen anyone masterfully use looping and layering to the extent that Joe did last night. Keep an eye on this kid. Boomerocity will and we’re a new fan for life.

    If you’ve never had the chance to see Tommy Emmanuel perform in person, you’re missing out on a real treat. I will never pass up a chance to see him perform. Now, I also won’t pass up a chance to see Joe Robinson, either.


    Note: You can read the three Boomerocity interviews with Tommy here, here, a-a-a-a-and here.

  • Tommy Emmanuel Discusses It's Never Too Late

    Posted October 2015

    TommyEmmanuelPhoto6CroppedIf you’ve been a Boomerocity reader any time at all, you already know what huge Tommy Emmanuel fans we are here. You can find our positive concert, CD and DVD reviews on Boomerocity as well as two great interviews with the legendary Australian born guitarist.

    Ooppss! Strike that. This makes the third great interview with the man.

    In our interview with Tommy last year, his wife was expecting a baby at any time. That healthy bundle of joy did, in fact, arrive – a beautiful baby girl they named Rachel - and our chat started off talking about her.

    “That’s right! She’s eight months old. Can you believe it? She’s eight months, already! Incredible! Where has the time gone? Unbelievable.

    “I have a twenty-seven year old and a sixteen year old, as well. All girls. Just the way I like it. We learn so much from them, that’s the thing.”

    Wanting to not exclude his wife, he adds:

    “My wife, Clara, is such an inspiration to me at all times. She’s such a good mother. She’s a hard worker and so dedicated and so helpful in significant ways, you know? She constantly shares the load with me – even when I’m not saying anything about it. She just always shares everything with me so that I can go on and do the best I can. She knows how important that is. So that’s a good partnership.”

    Sharing even more about his life, Emmanuel said:

    “I was divorced in 2002 and I kind of made an {mprestriction ids="*"}agreement with myself that I would not get married again. Then, I met Clara and three years after we met I just knew there was no point in me prolonging it any longer. I don’t want to be with anybody else. I can’t imagine anybody else in my life. So, I asked her to marry me and she said, ‘Oh. Okay.’ 

    “We got married privately and then called all of our friends and family up to tell them what we’d done. My other two daughters – it took them awhile to get used to the idea. Then, Rachel came along and it took them awhile to get used to that, as well. It’s been an interesting ride the last few years, you know, just personally. I think it’s helped me focus better on my playing, my writing and all that sort of stuff. And I’ve got new management, new business management. Everything has made a big turn and I’m really looking forward to this next couple of years; with a new album out and some great shows coming up.”

    A Boomerocity reader said that he saw that that Emmanuel established a new record company, CGP Sounds and wanted to know if it’s for Nashville based and/or American artists or was he looking to open up opportunities for Australian based country bands who may be hoping to knock on doors in the U.S.

    “Definitely, I’m looking for real talent around the world. CGP Sounds, at the moment, we have released two albums, so far. One is called, ‘Just Passing Through”. That’s’ some duets with another guitar player and a violin player. It’s in the Django Reinhardt style – like the swing/gypsy jazz style – which I recorded ages ago. We decided to put that out. Then, my new album, ‘It’s Never Too Late’ – via Thirty Tigers – it’s on my label, CGP Sounds. So, that’s the first two products.

    “I’m not planning on rushing into too much too soon. I’m just going to kinda ease into it and then make some decisions on who I’ll sign and what I want to do with them as we get more organized down the track. 

    “My managers are in on the label, as well. They’re the ones really driving everything. We all have to be unanimously in agreement on who we want to record and put out, promote and all of that sort of stuff.”

    Knowing that Tommy had been on the Steve Vai owned label,  Favored Nations, I asked if CGP Sounds is modeled in the same fashion.

    “Steve’s label is Favored Nations and Favored Nations is underwritten by Warner Bros. It’s a big company and he’s got a little bit of it. It has a niche market, you know?

    TommyEmmanuelPhoto6We wanted to have a much better situation. I’ve got Jensen Communications as my promotion team and Thirty Tigers and Red are the label and the distributor. Red is Sony Company. They’re all over the world. Thirty Tigers is going to be driving this album for me and Red will make sure that the distribution is done right. But it’s the first time that I’ve had a product that’s had this much and kind of people behind it and people actually doing their job. It’s been fantastic! 

    “Already, this is the first week in and we got the Americana chart yesterday and I’m number two as the most added artist on the Americana format. So, it’s really, really exciting for me. We’re hoping for a Grammy nomination in several categories, including Best Instrumental Composition. So, keep your fingers crossed, brother!

    “It just feels that we’ve got a great team, now. I feel like we can all really move forward and really go for it!”

    We at Boomerocity LOVE LOVE LOVE the new album. I asked Tommy to tell me a little bit about what this particular album means to and for you and what you hope fans will get out of it.

    “Well, first thing, I recorded it in bits and pieces because I had a really hectic schedule last year. When I was home in Nashville, I had to get back in the studio and record some of the songs. Then, I wrote more songs when I was away. 

    “When we knew that Rachel was coming, I wrote, ‘It’s Never Too Late’. I thought it was exactly what I needed for my album. That song and that saying – that’s why it ended up being there. It’s never too late to live happily ever after. That’s what the saying is. 

    “I have a sign in my house when you walk in the front door, the first thing you see is a sign saying, ‘It’s never too late to live happily ever after’. It’s a very positive message to put out there to people and to remind them to get on and find what makes you happy and run at it with all your energy.

    “Every song on the album means a lot to me. A lot of people have commented that they felt that these songs are some of the best that I’ve come up with. That’s nice to hear people saying stuff like that. My songs are like children to me and they’re always precious to me. They’re like little jewels and I try to keep polishing them. 

    “The other good experience with this album was I decided that I would record some of the songs and mix it with a guy named Mark DeSisto. He’s in Los Angeles. He used to work for me back in the nineties. He specializes in mixing and mastering but he’s a great recording engineer, as well. I thought it would be good for me to have a change of pace so I came here to L.A. for a week and I recorded, I think, four or five songs with him. Then we spent a couple of days mixing and mastering the album. I was really pleased with the work. 

    “The actual artwork and the photos were put together by my management team. They just did a great job. The cover of the TommyEmmanuel Cecchetti 239balbum has little clues to all the song titles in the artwork. If you look at the cover, you’ll see that I’m standing there, looking at a clock. I’m inside the clock. The clock actually goes to thirteen, so you can never be too late. 

    “My shadow that comes off my figure – my shadow is actually wearing a cowboy hat so that’s El Vaquero, which is Spanish for ‘the cowboy’. It could also be for The Duke. There’s a song on there called The Duke which is John Wayne. I’ve been a John Wayne fan all my life. I just imagined that, if I went back in a time machine back in the forties and somebody asked me to write a theme for a John Wayne movie, that was my operandi. It was my modus operandi that gave myself that challenge. That’s what I wrote. 

    “Blood Brother was a song – I had a very powerful dream that was just like a movie. I woke up from the dream with that song in my head. I wrote it when I was in Spain. It tells a story, really. It’s a double-edged sword. It’s about brothers who watch each other - who watch out for each other – in the military. They’re fighting a war and they’ve got each other’s back. So, there’s that part of it and, then, the other part of the story is I read a story about a guy who was helped by a very poor Mexican family and he went to try and pay them for their help. They gave him food and they helped him get back on the road again, finally. He tried to pay them and they wouldn’t take anything. The old guy said, ‘Today you, tomorrow me. Today, it’s your turn for an act of kindness. Tomorrow, it might be me who needs it.’ There’s that kind of message in the song, as well.

    “It’s Never Too Late, I wrote for Rachel because I turn sixty this year and I have an eight month old daughter. I just never thought that this would ever happen to me. It’s, actually, the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I can’t believe how she’s changed my life. Talk about a reason to get going and to get on with things. You’ve got a baby to bring up and to enjoy. It just reminds you that family is what it’s all about.”

    TommyEmmanuel Cecchetti 241bWhat song from the disc would Emmanuel suggest as a “calling card,” if you will, to entice people to pick up the album?

    “It’s Never Too Late – the title song. Definitely.”

    Two other tunes from the album that Boomerocity absolutely loves are, “Hellos and Goodbyes”, and “Old Photographs”. Tommy shared the stories behind those songs.

    “Hellos and Goodbyes, I did the rhythm guitar and then just played the song over the top. I co-wrote that song with a friend of mine back in the nineties. I arrived here in L.A. and I had a dream and in the dream this voice said, ‘Life is just hellos and goodbyes’.  When I woke up, the song that I had been writing, I somehow knew that that was the right title for that song. That is what that song is about. 

    “So, the guy that I co-wrote it with, I rang him, firstly, to tell him about the title and, secondly, to say that it’s on my album; that he could break out the champagne now. Ha! Ha! I said to him, ‘The song is called Hellos and Goodbyes’ and there was silence on the phone. I said, ‘What’s up?’ and he said, ‘I just came from the hospital this morning. My father passed away last night in one part of the hospital and my sister had a baby, this morning, in the same hospital.’  He had a hello and a goodbye. It was powerful. It gave me chills. 

    “Old Photographs I wrote after I watched the movie, Lincoln. It just transported me, that film. Not the story. Just the movie. It transported me because it’s so authentic. It reminded me of when I used to sit with my grandmother and I’d look at photographs of all my family and of my uncles who never came back from the war and all that kind of thing; and how precious that time was with my grandmother. I wanted to write a piece that sounded like it was from, I don’t know, the thirties or forties. Like some old guy sitting at the piano, playing  for his grand kid. That’s kind of like I wanted to do with that song.

    “I heard that everybody who gets the record – I heard that people get a really good feeling from the music and that it brings good feelings to them; good memories. They make of the songs whatever they will. That’s the good thing about a song that has no lyrics. You can, in your own mind; you can imagine what it’s about, yourself. The writer wants you to listen to what he’s writing about through the title. Like Blood Brother. Old Photographs. It’s Never Too Late. Those kinds of titles. 

    “Some of my earlier work were songs like Determination, The Journey, Don’t Hold Me Back – they are titles that I come up with years ago that speak a lot about what I’m writing about. It’s telling stories with words.”

    When I commented that this is evident of an innate musical genius, Tommy’s genuine humility was unequivocal in his response.

    “Well, thanks. I wouldn’t call myself a genius. No way! But I definitely – I channel stuff. When I feel inspired and I know I’ve got an idea that I’m excited about, I don’t quit on it and I use every resource I can possibly can to make sure that I get the right feeling across and the story told in the right way. 

    “When I played in Madrid and Barcelona and Valencia in Spain a few years ago when I wrote Blood Brother, a guy I know who is a local flamenco player, Antonio Rey, he knew no English whatsoever. After the first show, he came to my dressing room and he had his guitar in his and he said, ‘Tommy! Tommy!’ and he played a little bit of Blood Brother and he said, ‘It’s flamenco! Your music is flamenco!’ He felt that that song was flamenco song and it totally spoke to him. Yeah! You never know, do you?”

    In preparing for my interview with Tommy (and in hopes of seeing if he was going to be performing within driving distance so that I could mooch some tickets from him), I checked out his tour schedule. The guy’s calendar is jam-packed! I asked him if his family was going to be joining him at any time during the tour.

    “Yeah. Well, I won’t see my daughters in England until Christmas. But my wife and my new baby will join me. I’ll see them next week in Las Vegas. They’ll then fly on to

    San Francisco. My wife will be with her sister and her mother will come in from Australia so all of that side of the family will be together in California. Then they’re going to fly ahead and be in Korea. I’ll fly out of San Francisco straight into China and I’ll do China, Taiwan, then Singapore, Hong Kong and then I’ll do Korea. When I do Korea, we’ll all be together there. Then, my wife and my daughter are going to fly with me to the Japan dates. Then, we’ll go home from there.

    “The Christmas tour will be with John Knowles, Pat Bergeson, and Pat’s wife, Annie. She’s going to sing, as well. I’m going to do a Christmas tour where the first hour is me solo – all the stuff from the album. Then, the second hour after intermission will be all Christmas music.”

    Realizing that his time comes at a premium, I asked if there are any new albums and/or DVD’s in the works.

    TommyEmmanuel Cecchetti 254 2b“There’s a lot of new performances that’s been uploaded in the last couple of weeks. There’s a brand new video for the song, It’s Never Too Late. It’s just been put up about an hour ago. So, yeah, there’s a lot of new stuff to look at. Go to my YouTube channel. There’s a lot of stuff to look at there. 

    “We’ve got to do a follow up, instructional DVD for Milestones. I did a course for beginners called, Milestones, which really slowly led you through to becoming a finger style player. I broke everything down into small bits and made it accessible. So, we’re going to do a follow up on that one. That probably won’t be until early next year.

    “I’ve got a duets album in the works at the moment. We’re talking to a lot of people. I’m really hoping to get some great artists on my album – that duets project.”

    As with past albums from Tommy, Boomerocity eagerly awaits this project. Check out his tour schedule – as well as any news – at www.tommyemmanuel.com. You will definitely want to catch one of his shows. They’ll dazzle and amaze you. Guaranteed.{/mprestriction}

  • Tommy Emmanuel Talks About "Accomplice One"

    Posted April 2018


    Tommy Emmanuel Photo 1aTommy Emmanuel and Boomerocity have a special relationship that goes back seven years when a friend and reader first turned us on to the Australian guitar virtuoso. Boomerocity became instant fans of the man’s work and performances and have been telling everyone who will listen that they should check this guy out.

    It had been a couple of years since we last chatted with Tommy and with his upcoming April 27th show at the historic Tennessee Theatre, I felt now was a good time to catch up on news.

    I caught up with Tommy to talk about that upcoming show as well as the others on the tour as well as his new CD, Accomplice One. We chatted by phone while he was vacationing in California.

    “I’m in sunny California right now. No smog. Clear as a bell. Cold breeze but warm sun. I’m spending some time with my baby daughter.

    “She was born January 6th, 2015. She’s so smart! Into just everything! Loves music. Sings along with everything. I sit and play for her. She calls the tunes. ‘Daddy, play Angelina. Daddy, play Halfway Home. Daddy, play–‘ She knows all the songs. Her favorite song is the one I wrote for her called ‘Rachel’s Lullaby’. That’s what she likes. ‘Play Rachel’s Lullaby, Daddy!’ And I play it!

    “I’ve got a 30-year-old, as well. She married and lives England. And Angelina, my middle daughter, she’s nineteen. She’s in the UK. She’s an English citizen. My daughter, Amanda, was born in Sidney but because she married an English guy, I think she’s got an English passport, now.”

    Regarding the Knoxville show, he shared:

    “We’re coming back to the Tennessee Theater. One of my favorites. We kinda mix it up. The last time, I did two nights at the Bijou, which was nice, but the Tennessee was my ideal place. That’s what I was aiming at, you know? It’s a special place, there’s no doubt about it. It’s made extra special by the fact that my dressing has Chet Atkins’ name on the door. It’s Chet Atkins’ dressing room. It’s always good to call in the master’s voice.

    “There’s beautiful theaters like that all-around America. The Fox Theaters, everywhere, were always the elite theater. The best place to play. But, of course, me playing in Knoxville is like coming home to me because it’s really where I started in America with the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society.

    “We started in a little place called Ossoli Circle which was, basically, a lady’s bridge club. We got a little stage there and some seats. That’s where I started there.

    “I used to go out there to Luttrell (Tennessee) to see where Chet was born and where he was from and visit some of the folksEverythingKnoxvilleLogoEdited that lived next door and all that. It was a bit of a pilgrimage for me when I was young. And, then, to play in Knoxville was a great feeling because I felt like my life was coming full circle, almost, you know? I played the guitar because I loved the music that came out of that area and now I’m back there playing it.

    “The same thing when I go to Kentucky. I play some Merle Travis tunes. It’s a great feeling because it’s like the music came all the way to Australia and I brought it back.”

    I asked Tommy where he liked playing in Kentucky.

    “Oh! Louisville, Lexington, Frankfurt, E-Town (Elizabethtown). I play a lot of places in Kentucky. Of course, every now and again I get a chance to go to Middleburg and Central City and places like that and pay homage to the Everly’s and to Travis.”

    Boomerocity LOVES the new album, Accomplice One – especially his cover of Purple Haze. I asked Emmanuel about the LP.

    “First of all, it’s called “Accomplice One”, which might give you a hint that I did a lot more recording than is just on that one record. With each of the artists, with the exception of Mark Knopfler, just about every one of the other artists and I recorded more than one song. I figured that we might have an Accomplice Two down the road with some of the same people but mix it up with some different people, too. I’ve already got people like Allison Krause organized to be on the next album. So, that’s fun!

    “Basically, I wanted to do an album of, mostly, Americana/Bluegrass sounding music because that’s the music of my roots and my raising. And I also wanted the album to be absolute live in the studio kind of thing. I didn’t want people to be mailing in their part sort of thing. I wanted us all to be playing together each time I got an artist in the studio. We sat and worked out what we were going to do. Then we set up mics and we played is as if we were on the stage. That’s why the music sounds so fresh, I think, is because there was no laboring over stuff. There was capturing the performance and that’s what I love about recording . . . and another reason why I called the people that I called – because they’re on the same level. You sit down with Jerry Douglas and start running a tune and, all of a sudden, he’s got the arrangement remembered; he’s embellishing; he’s soloing. He’s just a great, all-around musician. That’s the kind of people I want to work with because it’s so exciting.

    “Jerry came in on another track, which was a ballad that I had written. He nailed it and got it really beautiful and took the melody and all that sort of stuff.

    “And, then, we had about an hour left before our studio time was up and I said, ‘Do you want to have a go at Purple Haze?’ and he said, ‘Hell, yeah!’

    “I played a bit of it for him and he joined in and he said, ‘Let’s not rehearse it. Let’s just play it.’ So, we did and that’s the track. We only played it once.”

    When I asked Tommy what was it about that song that made him think of it, he said:

    “Well, I just thought it was the most unexpected thing: acoustic guitar and dobro playing Purple Haze. You would just never imagine that. Jerry said, ‘This will really tick off all the bluegrass purist against me and I’m okay about that.’ It was just an experience and an experiment, and it worked really well.

    “Now, as far as tracks like I did with Jason Isbell, Deep River Blues: he was the right choice for that because he’s from Tommy Emmanuel Photo 1Muscle Shoals. He’s got that sound when he sings. It’s so relaxing. It’s such a relaxed sounding way of singing. I just love his voice, too. He’s the right choice for that.

    “And his wife, Amanda Shires, will be at the Tennessee Theatre with me. Her and I did a cover of Madonna’s ‘Borderline’. Again, I chose that because she can carry that off. She can sing in that way – almost like a young Dolly Parton. She plays the fiddle great and all that and I just thought it was something unusual to do. It might grab the attention of radio and people who listen to radio. That was what I was trying to achieve there.

    “The cut with Ricky Skaggs: I taught him a song – he’d never heard it before and in five minutes he owned it. Ricky’s such a good singer. And, of course, the track with Mark Knopfler: that was Mark’s song and he taught it to me in five minutes. We did the same thing. We just sat there in front of the microphones and played live. That’s the recording. I was at his studio a total of one hour and I had the finished master in my hand. It’s been really great.

    “The Django Reinhardt track, Djangology, that I did with Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo: that was done with an audience, live in the studio and the audience were our students. We were teaching the first-ever guitar camp in Havana, Cuba, last year. The lesson for the day that day was everybody came into the studio and we seated eighty-five students in the orchestral room. Then, we proceeded to arrange Djangology for three guitars. Each one of us worked out a part that would harmonize with the other and we showed them how we did that. Then, we put it all together. Musically, it sounded really nice.

    “We set up mics and said, ‘Okay, everybody, quiet as we can. We’re going to record it, now.’ So, we recorded it with eighty-five kids sitting in front of us. It’s just a great way of doing stuff.

    “This album has so many quirky things going on with it. I think that’s why people like it. It doesn’t sound contrived or overproduced, you know? Everything’s just real instruments; real people; real microphones; and that’s it.”

    Does Tommy feel that he’s moving more into the American direction?

    “Well, it’s my favorite kind of music and I think it’s what I play best. I’ve had a go at jazz albums. I’ve had a go at rock albums and all that sort of stuff. I think this is the kind of music that’s in my blood. I can find a lot good songs in that genre that I enjoy playing and singing. I think it’s a great chance to collaborate with some real talent from this country, you know?

    Tommy Emmanuel Photo 2“David Grisman, Brian Sutton, and I recorded six songs together that morning. I think they were all one take because guys at that level are so ‘on’ when they play that you just gotta capture it. You don’t need to be stopping and starting again. They can play it right every time.”

    Tommy’s very good at reaching out and bringing in talent that people may not have heard of. He recently toured with another great guitarist that Joe Bonamassa turned me on to a few years ago: J.D. Simo. I asked Emmanuel how that tour went and there will be future tours together.

    “I’m bringing J.D. to England with me next year because he’s well respected and loved in Europe and England. We’re going to tour together next year over there. The American tour was mostly in California and it was really wonderful. He just played on his own. Then he and I did ‘Dock on the Bay’ and a couple of other instrumental tunes. He just tore it up!

    “J.D.’s a great talent. For that kind of fast, bluegrass tune, ‘Wheelin’ and Dealin’’, that’s on the album where he’s playing electric (guitar), I could’ve had Brent Mason or James Burton or Albert Lee – I could’ve had any of those guys play on that track and they would’ve done an amazing job. But J.D.’s more rock and blues so he’s kind of country/chicken pickin’ style is different. It’s definitely not predictable so I wanted him to have a chance at that track and he sure brought it home, that’s for sure!

    “There are some videos on YouTube, if you want to see them. I think somebody filmed us at Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. There’s some videos from that.”

    I asked Tommy to tell me about the tour – especially the one that stops here in Knoxville – which includes Amanda Shires – and what fans can expect.

    “Obviously, I’m going to be playing a lot of new stuff from ‘Accomplice’ and Amanda and I will do ‘Borderline’ and there’ll probably be something else. We’ll have to work that out. She’s going to showcase a lot of her new songs because she’s got a great, new album coming out. I’m going to play stuff from right through my whole career, really. I’m going to take everybody back to the sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties – like that, you know? I’ll have that show all together.

    “I’m about to go to Europe next week and the first show is in Germany. I’ll have the whole show mapped out by the time I get back.”

    When I asked Emmanuel what was on his radar for the next year or so, it was obvious that he’s as busy as ever.

    “I’ve got March in Europe and Scandinavia. Then, April is America. May is England and Scotland. I’m doing a camp in Tommy Emmanuel Photo 3Scotland, up in the Highlands. June, I’m back recording some stuff. July is some dates here at the Chet Atkins convention and my guitar camp in Memphis. August/September will be in Australia and South Africa. October is Italy, I think. Jerry Douglas is doing that tour with me. November will be France and Clive Carroll – the guy who plays the Irish tunes with me on the album – Clive’s doing that tour. Then, December, I’m back here in America for Christmas.

    “The last three years, I did Christmas tours. I’m not doing Christmas tours this year. But, I’ll do some solo shows and I’ll slip some Christmas music in there, of course!”

    Boomerocity has said it before and we’ll say it again: If you’ve never seen Tommy Emmanuel in concert, you are truly missing out on a real musical treat. Keep up with the latest on him – including his tour schedule – at www.tommyemmanuel.com.