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September 28, 2007

Grammy nominee and guitar legend Tommy Emmanuel to perform at ULM Oct. 15

Two-time Grammy nominee Tommy Emmanuel will bring his unique guitar style and remarkable musical talent to the University of Louisiana at Monroe Monday, Oct. 15 in Brown Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are free to ULM faculty, staff and students with ID; otherwise, they are $15 each, general admission.

Emmanuel has a professional career spanning over four decades as he continues to intersect with some of the finest musicians throughout the world. A household name in his native Australia, he has garnered hundreds of thousands of loyal fans worldwide. Emmanuel's standout style - he calls it simply "finger style" - is akin to playing guitar the way a pianist plays piano, using all 10 fingers.

“Tommy travels the world performing with his guitar—England, Germany, Finland, Australia, Denmark, the USA, and more,” said Richard Hood, executive assistant to ULM President James Cofer and an accomplished guitarist in his own right. “We’re very glad that he’s coming to ULM. Two years ago when he was here, there was an instant standing ovation at the end. I predict there will be again.”

Mike Beutner, associate professor of curriculum and instruction, saw Emmanuel’s performance at ULM.

“I have heard Santana perform, as well as Pink Floyd, and while they’re incredible, Tommy Emmanuel is by far the best performance I’ve ever seen.

In his storied career, including 16 recordings, Emmanuel has set sales records that have yet to be broken and performed with hundreds of musical legends, including Les Paul, Chet Atkins, Keith Urban, Eric Clapton, Sir George Martin, Tina Turner, Joe Walsh, Stevie Wonder, Nokie Edwards (of the Ventures), Hank Marvin, the Lexington (Kentucky) Philharmonic, the Dortmund (Germany) Symphony, and the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra.

Emmanuel is well respected by his peers. When Carnegie Hall celebrated Les Paul’s 90th birthday in New York City, the greatest guitarists from around the world performed, including Tommy Emmanuel. At the event’s conclusion, only one guitarist had received a standing ovation, an honor reserved for Emmanuel.

Les Paul himself listed Emmanuel as one of the guitar players he admires the most in a “The Wall Street Journal” article, which states that “Mr. Emmanuel’s finger-picking skills on both acoustic and electric guitars are best-known in his native Australia. He has regularly collaborated with familiar virtuosos, including Chet Atkins.”

Guitar legend Chet Atkins was one of the first to inspire Emmanuel to pick up the instrument before becoming one of his biggest fans decades later. The two eventually recorded together in 1996 on "The Day the Finger Pickers Took Over the World," for which Emmanuel received his first Grammy award nomination. This was Atkins’ last recording before his death in 2001. In 1999, Atkins honored Emmanuel with the rare title of "Certified Guitar Player" for his lifetime contribution to the art of finger style guitar playing, a rare honor shared by only three other people in the world (Jerry Reed, Steve Warner and John Knowles).

Recordings and accolades:

Emmanuel’s latest recording "The Mystery" (Favored Nations Acoustic) achieved major recognition and garnered his second Grammy nomination, for the song "Gameshow Rag/Cannonball Rag" in the “Best Country Instrumental” field. Additional standouts on the CD include "Lewis and Clark," "The Mystery" and "Walls," a vocal duet with his fiancée Lizzie Watkins.

In addition, he has recorded two live-performance DVDs, two guitar instructional DVDs and is well regarded for mentoring many guitar students, offering them workshops and master classes. Emmanuel is also an accomplished singer, record producer and musical arranger. He recently produced "One More Kiss," the new CD by popular Australian female acoustic duo, Bluehouse. He also plays guitar and drums on all thirteen tracks.

Recent accolades include induction into the Thumb Pickers Hall of Fame in Muhlenberg, Ky. - the only non-American so honored. An Acoustic Guitar Magazine readers' poll named him in the top three favorite artists, and his album "Only" in the top four favorite albums of all time.

Emmanuel was voted Rolling Stone (Australia) Magazine's "Most Popular Guitarist" for two consecutive years, and earned four Platinum and Gold albums. Emmanuel also received two consecutive "Golden Guitar" awards (2006, 2007) at the CMAA Awards in Australia. He also appeared with his brother Phil at the Sydney 2000 Olympics Closing Ceremonies. 2.25 billion people around the world experienced that broadcast.

In recent years, he has performed for new audiences in Poland, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Belgium, Korea, Singapore, and Japan, along with additional touring throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Emmanuel hosts several "TommyFest" concerts, where stellar international musicians are invited to share the stage in a four-day celebration of music.

More about Emmanuel’s start and early career:

Emmanuel's music and life are legendary in Australia. He began playing guitar at age four, learning to play by ear without any formal instruction. Emmanuel and his older brother Phil were child prodigies, starting their professional career in the 1960s. By the age of six, Tommy Emmanuel was already working as a professional musician. Shortly after his father's death in 1966, the Emmanuel family was approached by Australian country music star Buddy Williams, who took the family on the road until they were forced by the Australian child welfare department to stop traveling. The Emmanuel children were then sent to a regular school.

During these years, Emmanuel was playing in "The Trailblazers" (with siblings Chris on drums and Virginia on slide guitar) on weekends. He also taught guitar and made numerous television appearances in musical competitions. Emmanuel's first brush with fame and accolades came when The Trailblazers won two televised talent contests and produced an EP. He and his siblings created the family's sole income for several years.

Flush with success, Emmanuel, now in his early teens, left home and moved to Sydney to pursue a professional career as a guitarist. He soon found himself in high demand as a session player for some of the era's most popular performers. During the mid ‘70s through the early '80s, he joined one of the decade's biggest, Dragon, recorded thousands of commercial "jingles" and played on recordings for Air Supply, Men at Work and dozens of other popular artists. In 1987, Dragon toured with Tina Turner on her "Break Every Rule" tour.

For tickets to the Tommy Emmanuel performance at ULM, call 342-1414.

For more information about Tommy Emmanuel visit:

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