Tommy Emmanuel, four-time winner of Australia's Best Guitarist award, has helped bring the art of rock guitar down under to a higher awareness over his two-decade-long career by bringing a sense of jazz improvisation into a mix that also includes blues, country, rock, classical, and Spanish music. After years as a popular sideman and ace songwriter, the two-time ARIA (Aussie Grammys equivalent) award winner launched his solo career in 1988 with Up from Down Under. Several releases have followed, most notably 1993's critically acclaimed The Journey, which hit high on Gavin and Radio & Records NAC airplay charts. He has shown a mastery and affinity for both electric and acoustic axes and has been singled out by the likes of notable musicians such as Chet Atkins -- with whom he recorded The Day Finger Pickers Took Over the World in 1997 -- and Todd Rundgren, who considers him an innovator on the instrument. Only appeared in 2001, followed by 2002's Endless Road (it was finally released in the U.S. three years later), 2005's Live One, and 2006's Happy Hour (with Jim Nichols) and Mystery.
Although Emmanuel took a brief hiatus from the music industry at the end of 2007 for health reasons, that October he recorded all three nights of a residency at the Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico, California. These recordings would make up the acclaimed double-CD live set that was released as Center Stage in April 2008. Equally well-received was 2010s Little by Little, a comeback of sorts in the form of a double-studio album which featured a tasteful rendition of Carole King's "Tapestry." 2011s All I Want for Christmas nodded in places to John Fahey's classic festive recordings, while 2013s The Colonel & The Governor saw him team up with the equally talented English guitarist Martin Taylor. ~ Jonathan Widran & James Wilkinson, Rovi