Tommy Emmanuel - Biography

Tommy Emmanuel

Tommy Emmanuel CGP (born May 31, 1955) is an Australian virtuoso guitarist, best known for his fine art of "fingerpicking", which is akin to the way a pianist plays the piano, using all ten fingers. He is considered by some as the greatest fingerpicker in the world today. Emmanuel is a committed Christian since beating substance abuse two decades ago.

Throughout his career he played with many famous legends like Chet Atkins, Eric Clapton, Sir George Martin and John Denver.

Tommy was born in the New South Wales town of Muswellbrook. He began to play guitar at the age of 4 years and by the age of 6 was a working professional musician, as much of his childhood touring Australia with his family band, playing rhythm guitar.

In 1966 when his father died, he started to give guitar lessons at the age of 12. He first came to be noticed nationally when he won a string of talent contests in his teen years, and by the late 1970s, he was playing with his brother Phil in the group Goldrush. During the early 1980s, he joined the reformed lineup of leading '70s rock group Dragon, touring widely with them, including a 1987 tour with Tina Turner, before leaving to embark on a solo career.

While Tommy doesn't read music and has never had formal music training, his natural musicianship and prodigious playing ability has won him thousands of fans from all over the world. As well as being a guitar master, he is also a professional percussionist, and has been known to play percussion parts on the body of his guitar.

1994 saw Tommy as a member of the John Farnham Band. Australian music veteran John Farnham invited him to play guitar next to Stuart Fraser from Noiseworks for the Concert For Rwanda.

In July 1999, at the 15th Annual Chet Atkins Appreciation Society Convention, Chet presented Tommy with the prestigious Certified Guitar Player award, an honor bestowed on only two other guitarists, - "In Recognition Of His Contributions To The Art Of Fingerpicking". Sadly, this was Chet's final recording before his death in 2001.

One of his career highlights was his life-performance at Sydney when he played on the closing ceremony of the Summer Olympics in 2000. 1 Billion people watched this event which was shown worldwide.

Tommy's latest album, "The Mystery," was released August 22, 2006.

Tommy Emmanuel Official Website

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