By Alma Reed
Tommy Emmanuel played the Franklin Theater Saturday night and you probably weren’t there. You missed a great show, so pay attention and I’ll fill you in on all the juicy deets!
Who better to remind one of their misspent youth than opening act Parker Hastings. Parker Hastings is a clean cut 18 year old guitar wizard and Tommy Emmanuel protege from somewhere in Kentucky. People this young are not supposed to be this talented. It’s unnatural, freakish. Could any one of us with innate aptitude, solid work ethic and superlative mentoring achieve such tremendous abilities? Nope. Some people are just good and that’s that.
Tommy Emmanuel is who the preternaturally gifted aspire to be when they’ve already mastered their craft; a bonafide living legend. To say he’s a guitarist/singer/songwriter is an oversimplification. To designate him as a one-man band, however apropos, doesn’t do justice. Entertainment powerhouse is more like it. If you’re not familiar with his work then I implore you to check him out on Youtube. Do it now and come back after you change your underpants!
For the first half of the show, Tommy was joined onstage by collaborator and fellow Certified Guitar Player John Knowles. They played songs from their album ‘Heart Songs’ which was released earlier this year and is comprised of arrangements of some of their all time favourite love songs. Later, Mr. Emmanuel went solo performing originals and covers as only he can, employing complex fingerstyle and percussive techniques on guitar. Covers included an arrangement of Hurt by Nine Inch Nails and his infamous rendition of Mason Williams’ ‘Classical Gas’.
He also performed a medley of Beatles songs. Beforehand he told a story of his friendship with George Harrison, their time spent together in Australia and projects they worked on. He even sprinkled in an anecdote about how his ex-girlfriend left him for Sir George. How cool is that? That’s like if I told you my ex dumped me for Justin Timberlake. Social proofing and self deprecating in one fell swoop. Bravo, fine sir.