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Plucked Strings Review Tommy Emmanuel

Thursday 18th April / presented by Natalie Ong

Half of Team Plucked Strings made a spur of the moment decision to see Tommy Emmanuel live at Perth Concert Hall on April 17 and were very glad they did. With dobro extraordinaire Jerry Douglas as the opening act, Tommy performed with characteristic generosity, warmth and energy for 2 hours straight, covering a breadth of genres with songs from his new album, Accomplish 1, and considerable back catalogue as well as popular covers (Mason Williams and the Beatles).

Well into his 60s, the man's virtuosic fingerstyle and percussive technique, and passion for his craft is nothing short of breath-taking. Perth-based Hank Marvin made a surprise appearance midway, and the audience was treated to the duo's acoustic versions of Shadows classics including the iconic Apache, and a rousing tribute to Django Reinhardt (Hank is a Django fan, with Hank Marvin Gypsy Jazz outfit). It was something really special, seeing these two very gracious guitar icons on stage together, playing with great camaraderie and humour.

There was a tender moment when Tommy paid tribute to his brother Phil, who passed away last year, with the gentle, harmonics-based Sail On. A born raconteur, he also credited his Perth fans for helping him buy his first house with the proceeds of a 6-night stint in 1990. Jerry Douglas joined Tommy on the stage for a penultimate bluegrass set, with a Jimi Hendrix twist. He is a generous host, letting his guests take the lead while he provides the rhythm. This ranks amongst the best all round live solo acoustic guitar performances we have seen to date, joyous and exhilarating, showcasing considerable mastery and showmanship, quite a wonderful effort by this quintessentially Australian guitar hero.

Tommy Emmanuel's 2019 Australian tour continues across the Nullarbor to Melbourne and other major capital city dates for the rest of April.

All live musical performances are included in our podcasts with the express permission of artists, who reserve all other rights in their music. All music used in our podcasts is licensed under an APRA Community Broadcasting license agreement.

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