A (Quick) Visit with Tommy Emmanuel
by Julie S. Dobbins
Tommy Emmanuel has traveled all over world playing 300 concerts a year. His performances, which are full of humor as well as music, are something to be experienced. His list of awards and other accomplishments are too numerous to list here.
Craig and Tommy met in Nashville in 1996. Craig just happened to be in Gruhn Guitars when he noticed a skinny, floppy-haired guy with an Aussie accent. Craig, being the cool guy that he is, said, “Hey! You’re Tommy Emmanuel!” To which Tommy responded, “Hey! You’re Craig Dobbins!” They quickly grabbed the nearest guitars and jammed for about an hour. Their friendship has lasted ever since.
Tommy was kind enough to answer a few questions for me. Since he was on the road (when isn't he?), his answers are brief but say a lot.
Are you still a vegetarian? (Is it difficult to maintain a particular diet while on the road?)
No, I was a vegetarian for ten years and one night, I had a meal in a pub in England and decided to try roast lamb. I was so charged with energy after the meal, I decided to go back to eating meat of all kinds and whatever else I wanted. I still have the occasional veggie meal but play best on steak or pasta. On the road, I don't have large meals - I don't need them. I eat as much as I need and try to keep a balanced diet.
What would you be doing if you weren't a musician?
Pushing up daisies.
With so much traveling, how do you keep your faith alive?
Whether I travel or not, my faith remains the same.
Where do you think you would be if you hadn't met Jesus?
Probably in a confused and lost place. I have a consistent trust that I'm doing what He wants me to do.
Which was more exciting - receiving a CGP or receiving the Member of the Order of Australia?
They were both extremely moving and inspiring awards. Letters after your name come with a responsibility and I hope I will always serve that responsibility to the best of my ability.
Is there anything you still hope to accomplish - either personally or professionally?
The goals are endless and the road is endless. It's out of my hands.
What instruments do you play besides the guitar?
Bass and drums.
Do you have one instrument that expresses your heart the best?
I've always felt that I am the instrument being used in a good way. I noticed that it's not too difficult to brighten someone's day, sometimes just with a smile or a word of encouragement.
What has been your most unusual experience as a musician?
Being voted in the Male Artist of the Year category in the Australian music awards. It was a pleasant shock for an instrumentalist.
What do you think of that Craig Dobbins guy?
Craig is very tall. He has a big heart, he loves people, he loves to play and hand on good knowledge. He has always had my deepest respect. I was his brush player once and the crowd went mild.
Has George Martin made any martinis for you lately?
Not since we toured together. He is retired now, so I have to be content with second rate martinis.
You have a lot of interesting stories to tell. Have you ever thought of writing a book?
I've always thought of writing a book, there's just not enough weeks in the year for me and God won't give me any more.
Copyright © 2011 by Julie S. Dobbins.
Visit Tommy Emmanuel 's website.