Accomplice One Tommy Emmanuel
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- 1Deep River Blues (feat. Jason Isbell)03:27
- 2Song And Dance Man (feat. Ricky Skaggs)03:21
- 3Saturday Night Shuffle (feat. Jorma Kaukonen & Pat Bergeson)02:34
- 4Wheelin' & Dealin (feat. J.D. Simo & Charlie Cushman)02:52
- 5C-Jam Blues (feat. David Grisman & Bryan Sutton)04:12
- 6(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay (feat. J.D. Simo)04:50
- 7Borderline (feat. Amanda Shires)05:18
- 8You Don't Want To Get You One Of Those (feat. Mark Knopfler)02:50
- 9Keepin' It Reel (feat. Clive Carroll)05:00
- 10Looking Forward To The Past (feat. Rodney Crowell)04:25
- 11Purple Haze (feat. Jerry Douglas)04:04
- 12Rachel's Lullaby (feat. Jake Shimabukuro)03:13
- 13Djangology (feat. Frank Vignola & Vinny Raniolo)03:26
- 14Watson Blues (feat. David Grisman & Bryan Sutton)05:30
- 15Tittle Tattle (feat. Jack Pearson)05:13
- 16The Duke's Message (feat. Suzy Bogguss)03:25
Info for Accomplice One
Tommy Emmanuel has achieved enough musical milestones to satisfy several lifetimes. Or at least they would if he was the kind of artist who was ever satisfied. At the age of six, he was touring regional Australia with his family band. By 30, he was a rock n’ roll lead guitarist burning up stadiums in Europe. At 44, he became one of five people ever named a Certified Guitar Player by his idol, music icon Chet Atkins. Today, he plays hundreds of sold-out shows every year from Nashville to Sydney to London. All the while, Tommy has hungered for what’s next. When you’re widely acknowledged as the international master of the solo acoustic guitar, what’s next is an album of collaborations with some of the finest singers, songwriters and, yes, guitarists alive today.
“For me, music has always been about collaboration–the push and pull you get from another human being’s energy,” explains Tommy. “Even when I play solo, it feels like I’m playing to the emotions I’m getting from the crowd. To feel the love or the joy or the hope coming through these other pickers and singers was electric–I played in ways I never would on my own.”
Accomplice One is a testament to Tommy’s musical diversity, the range of expression that stretches from authentic country-blues to face-melting rock shredding, by way of tender and devastating pure song playing. The songs are a mix of new takes on indelible classics and brand new originals from Tommy and his collaborators.
The artists who stepped forward to join Tommy in the studio are an impressive list of some of today’s most respected performers, from across the musical spectrum–a lineup including Jason Isbell, Mark Knopfler, Rodney Crowell, Jerry Douglas, Amanda Shires, Ricky Skaggs, J.D. Simo, David Grisman, Bryan Sutton, Suzy Bogguss and many more.
This is an album for all types of Tommy Emmanuel fan–from longtime guitar aficionados who’ve followed his career for decades, to lovers of great songs and melodies who flock to Tommy’s shows for the emotional authenticity driving every performance.
Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Jason Isbell conjures up the sweaty atmosphere of his Muscle Shoals roots on opener “Deep River Blues,” a classic fingerpicked blues which has been a longtime staple of Tommy’s live shows. Country and bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs lends his mandolin and unmistakable voice to “Song and Dance Man,” a chronicle of a life lived for the next show. Tommy’s subtlety and tastefulness blends with Amanda Shires’ gorgeous vocal and fiddle playing to transform Madonna’s “Borderline” and Rodney Crowell’s “Looking Forward to the Past” could’ve topped the country charts in another era, with Tommy’s propulsive rhythm supporting Crowell’s sly lyrics while his tasty lead playing weave in and out.
For those hankering for virtuosic hot picking, the rave-up “Wheelin’ and Dealin’” sees him trading licks with J.D. Simo and Charlie Cushman, while a jaw-dropping rendition of “Purple Haze” with Dobro master Jerry Douglas captures all the fire and energy of the Hendrix original as the two modern masters push each other to new heights with each raunchy slide and bend.
On “You Don’t Want to Get You One of Those,” a sly vocal and acoustic duet with Dire Straits’ legend Mark Knopfler, there was a third, invisible presence in the studio– the late Chet Atkins.
“Mark and I both learned so much from Chet–he was a hero and a mentor to each of us, and we’ve tried to bring his spirit forward into the future in our own playing,” says Tommy. “This song that Mark wrote captured Chet’s sense of humor so well and I had the time of my life in the studio with him conjuring the master as we laid it down.”
While this was the first time he and Knopfler had collaborated, the album also featured some of Tommy’s longtime fellow road warriors, who have covered the miles in buses and planes around the world on tour over many years. “Djangology” is a gypsy jazz treat cut live in Havana, Cuba with Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo and “Rachel’s Lullaby” reunites Tommy with Hawaiian ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro. The song, written for Tommy’s youngest daughter, shows him continuing to find inspiration from an evergreen source–his love of his family.
Since he and his brother Phil taught themselves to play as toddlers, the guitar has been Tommy’s real first language–and he’s more articulate on his signature Melbourne-made Maton acoustics than most people are with words. His unerring sense of groove marked him as Australia’s youngest rhythm guitarist as The Emmanuel Quartet crisscrossed the country. By the time he made it to the big city in his late teens, Tommy was a rock star, slinging a Fender Telecaster alongside the biggest stars of the day. It was a good life, but deep down Tommy knew there was more to his musical destiny.
A shy country kid with little confidence, it took an encouraging meeting turned jam session with his guitar hero Chet Atkins to build his self-belief. By the late 80s he was ready to go it alone, to make instrumental guitar records made for an audience broader than just guitar fans–a move with zero precedence in Australian music. Despite the odds, Tommy released a string of hit albums, racking up awards wins and nominations, and becoming a huge celebrity in his home country, culminating in an incendiary performance with his brother Phil at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
Influenced by the Merle Travis/Chet Atkins fingerstyle of guitar picking, Tommy developed a style of solo guitar playing that encompasses the range of a whole band– covering drums, bass, rhythm and lead guitar and a vocal melody simultaneously. No loop pedals, no overdubs, just one man and ten fingers. While some artists take ten-piece bands on the road and still fill out the sound with backing tracks, Tommy builds a complete sonic world entirely on his own.
For many players, the technical mastery of the technique would overwhelm the emotion of the music, but not for Tommy. His idols are not just the great players, but also the great pop songwriters and singers–Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, The Beatles and their ilk. While thousands of fans have spent years trying to unpack and imitate Tommy’s technique, for him it’s just the delivery system. His approach is always song and emotion first, his music the embodiment of his soulful spirit, sense of hope and his love for entertaining.
Which is not to say he dismisses the CGP, the Guitar Player awards, the Grammy nominations, the numerous magazine polls naming him the greatest acoustic guitarist alive. He’s grateful for it all, and the incredible journey that’s led him to the most invigorating period of his career–six decades into it. For Tommy though, the greatest reward is always the same–to make the next great record, and to see the beaming audience at the next great show.
“When I was a kid, I wanted to be in show business. Now I just want to be in the happiness business–I make music, you get happy. That’s a good job.”
Tommy isn’t the kind of man who looks to nostalgia–it’s more that he treats his history in the same way he treats the history of music overall: There’s magic threaded in through all the eras that’s worth celebrating and revisiting. Now in his sixties –although on stage he can seem 25–life and music are about improvisation, variety and happiness.
“Making Accomplice One has been this great journey through so many of the worlds I’ve inhabited through the years,” concludes Tommy. “Playing with old friends, new friends, heroes, people I’ve been like an older brother to… and musically to jump around from bluegrass to jazz to blues to just pure songs, it’s like going to the world’s greatest buffet and picking out all my favorite meals. People try to categorize what I do, to put me in a genre or put a label on me. I always go back to that old Duke Ellington line, about there being two types of music, good and bad.” Well I try and play the good kind, and on this record I got to play it with the best people.”
Tommy Emmanuel, guitar
Two-time Grammy nominee Tommy Emmanuel has a professional career that spans over four decades and continues to intersect with some of the finest musicians throughout the world. A household name in his native Australia, Tommy has garnered hundreds of thousands of loyal fans worldwide. Tommy's unique style - he calls it simply "finger style" - is akin to playing guitar the way a pianist plays piano, using all ten fingers.
Guitar legend Chet Atkins was one of the first to inspire Emmanuel to pick up the guitar as a child. Decades later, Atkins himself became one of Emmanuel's biggest fans. In 1999, Chet honored Tommy Emmanuel with the title of "Certified Guitar Player" for his lifetime contribution to the instrument, a rare honor shared by only three other people in the world (Jerry Reed, Steve Warner and John Knowles). Atkins eventually recorded with Tommy in 1996 on "The Day the Finger Pickers Took Over the World", for which Emmanuel received his first Grammy award nomination. This was also Atkins last recording.
After a recent recuperative rest, resulting from an exhausting touring schedule, Tommy is now completely rejuvenated and embarking on a full tour schedule in 2008. A new double live CD and DVD, “Center Stage” filmed in High Definition and recorded at the Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico, California will be commercially released in Spring ‘08. The DVD portion will also air on Public Television affiliates all over the United States. Every element of modern technology was used in the production of both the DVD and CD. Tommy’s record producer, Kim Person, recorded and mixed the audio tracks, while long-time Sierra Nevada video producer/director Peter Barlow tied the entire package together in state-of-the-art quality. It makes for a stunning package, both aurally and visually.
The double disc Live CD “Center Stage” contains many fan show-stoppers, including Emmanuel’s Beatles Medley, Mombasa, and Initiation – the aboriginal tribute song that has evolved over the years and never sounds the same on any recording – or during any show. Tommy also introduces four never-before recorded tracks, “Ruby’s Eyes”, “Lenny Bro’”, “The Jolly Swagman” and “Papa George” (inspired by George Harrison). Also, included are several arrangements of popular traditional tunes like “House of the Rising”, “Nine Pound Hammer”, “Amazing Grace” – and for his Japanese fans, “Sukiyaki” This new CD is a great mix of the rare, the new, the traditional and the favorites.
Emmanuel's music and life are legendary in Australia. He began playing guitar at age 4, by learning to play by ear without any formal instruction. Emmanuel and his older brother Phil were child prodigies, starting their professional career in the 1960s. By the age of six, Tommy was already working as a professional musician. Shortly after his father's death in 1966, the Emmanuel family was approached by Australian country music star Buddy Williams, who took the family on the road until they were forced by the Australian child welfare department to stop traveling. The Emmanuel children were then sent to a regular school. During these years, Tommy was playing in "The Trailblazers" (with siblings Chris on drums and Virginia on slide guitar) on weekends. He also taught guitar and made numerous television appearances in musical competitions. Emmanuel's first brush with fame came when The Trailblazers won two televised talent contests and produced an EP. He and his siblings worked hard to create the family's sole income for several years. In his early teens, Tommy left home and moved to Sydney to pursue a professional career as a guitarist. Playing in clubs all over the city, Emmanuel soon found himself in high demand as a session player for some of the era's most popular performers. During the mid 70s through the early '80s, he joined one of the decade's biggest, Dragon, recorded thousands of commercial "jingles" and played on recordings for Air Supply, Men at Work and dozens of other popular artists. In 1987, Dragon toured with Tina Turner on her "Break Every Rule" tour.
In addition to his storied career, which includes 16 music and instructional recordings, Tommy is also an accomplished record producer and musical arranger. He is also well regarded for mentoring students by offering guitar workshops and master classes on tour. Other accolades include his 2007 Grammy nomination for “Gameshow Rag’ from “The Mystery” CD, induction into the Thumb pickers Hall of Fame in Muhlenberg, Kentucky (the only non-American so honored), and Acoustic Guitar Magazine readers’ poll for placing in the top 3 favorite artists. Emmanuel was voted Rolling Stone (Australia) Magazine's "Most Popular Guitarist" for two consecutive years. He has earned four Platinum and Gold albums, two consecutive "Golden Guitar" awards (2006, 2007) at the CMAA Awards in Australia. Another stellar career highlight was Tommy’s performance (with his brother Phil) at the Sydney 2000 Olympics Closing Ceremonies, viewed by over 2 billion people around the world. Emmanuel has set sales records that have yet to be broken and performed with hundreds of musical legends including Chet Atkins, Les Paul, Keith Urban, Eric Clapton, Sir George Martin, Tina Turner, Joe Walsh, Stevie Wonder, Nokie Edwards (of the Ventures), Hank Marvin, the Lexington (Kentucky) Philharmonic, the Dortmund (Germany) Symphony, and the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra. In addition, Tommy hosts several annual "TommyFest" concerts, where other stellar internationally recognized musicians are invited to share in a four day all-out celebration of music.
As a solo performer, Tommy’s dazzling performance, flawless guitar skills and voluminous repertoire never fail to amaze and engage his legions. From the wilds of Australia's outback to bustling major cities throughout the world, Emmanuel's flair and unforgettable showmanship have created an enviable fan base that continues to grow even larger every year.
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