Tommy Emmanuel is considered by music artists from around the globe, to be one of the greatest guitarists of all time. His unique connection with the music is showcased across every piece he plays, with flair, power and a tremendous amount of talent.
The Australian fingerstyle, also known as William Thomas Emmanuel, is nothing short of a musical genius. His childhood passion has seen him build a successful carer spanning over six decades. In that time, he’s released an impressive thirty-seven albums and twenty-one singles.
During Tommy’s rollercoaster of a career, he covered an array of artists such as Earth, Wind & Fire (with the song “After the Love Has Gone”), Billy Joel (“And So It Goes”) and even The Beatles (Day Tripper / Lady Madonna).
But one song that stood out more than most is Tommy’s rendition of “Close To You”. Originally written by Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, the much-loved song was a firm favourite with The Carpenters fans in 1970 (although it was originally sung by American singer Richard Chamberlain 7 years earlier with little success).
Tommy’s beautiful interpretation of “(They Long to Be) Close to You” is part of Burt Bacharach’s 16-track album, “This Guitar's In Love With You”. Tommy recorded the song after Burt requested he arrange it to fit the album, which included artists such as blues and roots guitarist Nick Charles and Grammy-winning guitarist Mark Hanson.
Tommy was also nominated for Grammy Awards, for Best Country Instrumental Performance in 1994 and 1996. In the same year, he won The Australian Entertainment Mo Awards in the category of Australian Performer of the Year. Tommy also picked up several Country Music Awards of Australia, Australian Recording Industry Association Music Awards and one APRA Award for Jazz Composition of the Year in 1992.
The acoustic phenomenon’s journey is one that’s been followed by many, including his 772K Youtube subscribers. The online community are full of admiration and praise, with one commenting, “When I watch other great guitarists play, I don't feel the same way as when I watch Tommy's play. There is something else about his playing. I love it.”
Following his lifelong dreams led Tommy to jam with his childhood hero, the late Chet Atkins, who sadly passed away in 2001. Chet believed Tommy was the greatest guitarist he ever saw (an opinion shared by Sir Eric Clapton after they toured together in 1990), and awarded Tommy the honour of Certified Guitar Player in 1999, making him just one of five people in the world to receive the prestigious title.
But the famous faces don’t stop there. Tommy has played with the likes of Tina Turner, Australian rock band Men at Work, the late Les Paul and Stevie Wonder. And with tour dates planned well into 2023, this guitar hero continues to share his fingerpicking skills for us all to embrace and applaud. If you want to see more from this super gifted guitarist, please subscribe to his YouTube channel or follow him on Facebook.