Photos by: Kerri Photography
Acoustic guitar giant Tommy Emmanuel was in town for a show last Thursday night at Hoyt Sherman Place, and he brought young up and coming guitar player Joe Robinson to kick off the show.
Most of the crowd didn’t seem to know who Robinson was, but it wasn’t long before he had gained their full attention. Robinson is a 21 year old guitar freak, and by the 2nd song, the audience knew they were in for a treat. He started off with a few solo acoustic tunes, and then brought out a drummer and bass player to kick it up a bit.
Joe Robinson is one of those rare talents who seems to be good at everything he tries. Whether he was playing fingerstyle acoustic guitar, bebop jazz on the electric, or wailing blues rock, he seemed like he was right at home. Much to my surprise, he even sang on a few tunes. I prefer him as a guitar player, as the vocals seemed to sound a bit “Disney popish”, but of course, he was a pretty respectable vocalist too. All in all, I was highly impressed with Joe Robinson, and I think its safe to say the rest of the audience was as well.
The reason everyone was there, however, was to see Tommy Emmanuel. A guitar god in his own right, Emmanuel is basically a living legend on the acoustic guitar. Having never seen him live, I was impressed by how entertaining and energetic the show was. Its hard to imagine that one guy on stage with an acoustic guitar could keep such a high energy show, but he pulled it off. Not only was he entertaining, but funny as well. He told a few stories about when he used to play shows with another legend, Chet Atkins, and cracked a number of jokes throughout the evening.
Emmanuel is best know as a fingerstyle guitar player, often playing a bass line, and melody simultaneously. There were several times throughout the evening where the attentive crowd erupted in an ovation mid song, amazed by his guitar skills.
Emmanuel’s set was filled with everything from bluegrass, folk, blues and I even heard a bit of Scottish bagpipe music. The highlights for me were the classic 9 LB. Hammer, and a medley of Beatles tunes, including Day Tripper, Lady Madonna, When I’m 64, and Here Comes the Sun.
All in all, I thought the show was excellent. The crowd was attentive, and appreciative (and I think I was the youngest person in attendance). There seemed to be a lot of former (any maybe current) hippies. Hoyt Sherman Place was the perfect venue for the show. Great tunes, great venue, great night.