Tommy, Can You Hear Me?
My friend Greg VanBuskirk, he of the Sofft stain remover fame is a man of many talents, beyond having a PhD in chemistry. He also has been know to take apart motorcycles and put them together again, just because he...well, honestly, I haven't figured that out yet. He also loves playing the guitar, and after my recent Prairie Home Companion 40th anniversary videos, he told me about a guitar player he came across on the show years ago.
The fellow is an Australian named Tommy Emmanuel, and Greg said he played a piece on the show that was so remarkable other guitarists should stop playing the number. (Even Garrison Keillor said after the performance that it was probably discouraging for young players to hear that. Though Emmanuel said it was meant to be encouraging. After all he'd started playing the guitar when he was just seven after hearing the great Chet Atkins play.) The show was available online in a PHC archive, and I listened to it, and...well, yes, it was remarkable.
Greg said that he's subsequently seen Tommy Emmanuel in concert three times when he's come to the Bay Area, in Northern California. And he sent me a video of another performance -- one which is otherworldly. It's from a concert in Seoul, South Korea. Stick with it through the long percussion-style opening, which is seriously impressive on its own.
It's rare that you think of a guitarist as a showman, but that's what Tommy Emmanuel is. And a spectacular musician, as well.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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