Two-time GRAMMY nominee Tommy Emmanuel is one of Australia’s most respected musicians. With a professional career spanning five decades, Tommy has garnered hundreds of thousands of loyal fans worldwide.
His unusual talent and life are common lore in Australia: born into a musical family, Tommy got his first guitar at age 4 and was taught by his mother. He quickly learned by ear, with no formal instruction, and has never read music. By age 6 he was working as a professional musician in the family band (variously named The Emmanuel Quartet, The Midget Surfaries and The Trailblazers). By the age of 10, young Tommy had already played his way across Australia.
Tommy has played with Air Supply, Men at Work and dozens of other popular bands and artists. He was also a member of one of Australia’s biggest rock bands, Dragon.
It is for his successful solo career, however, that Tommy is best known. Tommy is heavily influenced by his hero Chet Atkins whose influences are evident throughout Tommy’s music: in his personal philosophy, technical precision, virtuosic improvisations and unusually broad repertoire (encompassing not only country and bluegrass, but pop, jazz, blues, gospel, even classical, flamenco, and aboriginal styles). Tommy speaks of his mentor with the love and gratitude of a son, and his dream of recording with Chet Atkins came true in 1996 when the pair made an album titled “The Day The Finger Pickers Took Over The World” for which Tommy received his first GRAMMY award nomination.
Chet Atkins honored Tommy with the title of “Certified Guitar Player” for his contribution to guitar music, a very rare distinction shared by only four other people in the world. His album The Mystery earned him another GRAMMY nomination, and in 2008 Guitar Player Magazine and Acoustic Guitar Magazine named him Best Acoustic Guitarist and Gold Medalist in the in the Readers’ Choice and Players’ Choice Awards. Guitar Player’s 2010 Readers Choice awards named him Best Acoustic Guitarist for the second time.