Tommy Emmanuel Biography

31 May 1955, Muswellbrook, New South Wales, Australia. Emmanuel began playing guitar while still a small child, inspired in part through hearing a Chet Atkins record on radio. He played in the family band from the age of six, touring Australia. Gradually developing a formidable technique, he played in many styles, including jazz and rock ‘n’ roll, but focused on country music. Following the death of his father, from 12 years old he helped the family’s income by giving guitar lessons. He played in a late version of rock band Dragon and toured with a Tina Turner show. Among musical side trips Emmanuel has made was a spell playing drums in the band Goldrush in which his brother, Phil Emmanuel, also played and he and his brother have recorded together. Although his career choices have usually found Emmanuel playing electric guitar, he has expressed a particular fondness for the acoustic instrument on which he started out. He demonstrated this by returning frequently to the acoustic guitar on his recording sessions, such as Can’t Get Enough (retitled Midnight Drive in America), a very successful 1996 date on which he was joined by keyboard player and composer Randy Goodrum. His recordings have been very successful in North America, with three going gold and four platinum.

The musicians with whom Emmanuel has played include violinist Jerry Goodman, saxophonist Dave Koz, and guitar masters such as Larry Carlton, Robben Ford and Slava Grigoryan. During the making of 1994’s The Journey, he and his producer, Rick Neigher, went to Nashville, Tennessee, to record with Atkins. Songs in Emmanuel’s repertoire include ‘Amy’, ‘The Journey’, ‘Hellos And Goodbyes’, ‘If Your Heart Tells You To’, ‘Initiation’ and ‘Run A Good Race’. In addition to his work as a performer, Emmanuel has also made educational recordings.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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