In just a few short weeks, one of the world’s most in demand and well-known musicians will return to Australia from Nashville, his home for the past 15 years.
Tommy Emmanuel, who’s Youtube clips have garnered more than 82 million views, will perform in Nowra this August, in what the man himself says will be a “beautiful show”.
It’s been a tough year for Emmanuel, having lost both his brother Phil and sister Virginia in the space of a couple of months, but for the 63-year-old, the music doesn’t stop.
Following Phil’s recent and sudden passing, Emmanuel now intends to incorporate a very special tribute into this concert to honour one of this country’s greatest guitarists; who has just recently been posthumously awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to music.
“I’ve got some stories I’m going to tell and I’ve also written him a song called Sail On,” he said.
By far Emmanuel’s most memorable career moment was in 2000, when he performed with Phil at the Olympics closing ceremony.
“It’s one of the wow moments,” Emmanuel said. “That’s about as big and as good as it gets.”
As well as performing some new songs from his album Accomplice One, Emmanuel will be sharing the stage with another guitar talent, Richard Smith.
“He’s a phenomenal guitar player and one of the best I’ve seen anywhere,” Emmanuel said.
It’s not surprising that Emmanuel hasn’t slowed down over the years, considering music is something ingrained in him for a very early age.
“I’m one of six who all loved music,” he said. “My mother was one of these women who had all these kids around the house, singing and dancing around while cooking and washing, she was like Mary Poppins.
“She was the one who inspired us all.”
His inspiration also draws from his “idol” Chet Atkins or “Mister Guitar” as he was known as, responsible for creating the country music style that came to be known as the ‘Nashville sound’.
“I was writing in fan letters when we were living in Parkes and he wrote back to me and invited me to come and see him if I ever got to Nashville,” Emmanuel said.
“Well I finally made it here [Nashville] in 1980, so I rang his office and he said ‘why don’t you come down now’, so I jumped in the car and off I went.”
From there, a collaboration began, based on a foundation of friendship.
“He was such a friendly guy and so humble. He asked if I wanted to play some so we sat there and played for quite a while,” Emmanuel said.
“Years later when we started working together he would have me stay at his house. Every morning he’d come down in his pyjamas and sit there and tell me stories, it was so surreal you couldn't believe it now.”
Emmanuel’s latest project Accomplice One, aptly given a number reference as he assures Accomplice Two is on its way, will be the centerpiece of the Nowra show.
“I started recording it in Nashville with my favourite artists. It all came together over a period of two years and all the recordings are live in the studio. It’s the real deal and that’s why I think so many people like it,” he said.
The record features duets with renowned guitarists such as Mark Knopfler, Jerry Douglas, Dave Grisman and Jorma Kaukonen.
While he now lives in the US, Emmanuel said he was excited to get back home.
Tommy Emmanuel will perform at the SHoalhaven Entertainm,ent Centre on Friday, August 3. For tickets or more infomration visit http://shoalhavenentertainment.com.au/live/tommy_emmanuel1.