So many people have written so eloquently about Tommy Emmanuel, the Australian fingerstyle virtuoso, that I thought I'd just let them tell you about him. (The other writers used up all the good adjectives anyway.) This is just a tiny selection of the volumes that have been written about this legend-in-the-making guitarist:
Chet Atkins wrote in his book, Me and My Guitars, "Tommy is about the only guitarist I've heard who can come close to what Lenny (Breau) did with harmonics, and he's got a style all his own. I think he's probably the greatest finger-picker in the world today. He's inventive, fearless, and has a flawless sense of rhythm. He's a great showman, too. You can't watch Tommy perform and not feel happy. I just love him. We made an album together in 1996 called The Day Finger Pickers Took Over the World which I'm very proud of. It's got some beautiful tunes on it, and our playing blended well. Tommy is going to give the world a lot of great music in the coming years."
"Tommy Emmanuel is a cross between Elvis and Paganini,” says his friend and frequent musical cohort, Stephen Bennet. Of the twenty great fingerstyle guitarists I have seen in concert, there is no rival for virtuosity and performance. He sells every note but has the chops to back it up. Tommy is constantly on tour so if you ever have a chance, go see him and you might walk away from his shows thinking about starting a small bonfire with your guitar collection. My wife says “after his show I felt completely drained, he covered every human emotion."
In a review of Tommy's most recent release, Endless Road, Acoustic Guitar Magazine's own Jim Ohlschmidt describes his range of styles as everything from "…a white-hot burst of thumb picking speed and skill, jaw-dropping by anyone's standards…" to something that "…lilts and slowly builds in gentle anticipation like a sunrise." Jim also said that, "Emmanuel graces each phrase of the music with expressive nuance and dynamic emphasis that make all ten of his original pieces practically sing."
I have to say that since meeting Tommy many years ago at the CAAS in Nashville , every good thing people say about him is true. We became friends and have admired each other's work for a long time. He has played in my booth and performed with my guitars, always telling me how much he loved playing them. It was such a pleasure for me to finally build a guitar for Tommy and finish it in July 2004. Watch for Tommy playing his new Sand Guitar on future recordings and appearances.
Visit Tommy's web site at www.tommyemmanuel.com