Tommy Emmanuel c.g.p. - Live At Her Majesty's Theatre - Ballarat Australia DVD
-and- Tommy Emmanuel c.g.p. - The Mystery

By Janelle Landauer

Tommy Emmanuel is an extraordinary guitar player.  The legendary Chet Atkins even gave Emmanuel the title "cgp - certified guitar player" and became one of Emmanuel's biggest fans.  Emmanuel's new album, "The Mystery" was released on August 22, 2006 and his DVD, "Live At Her Majesty's Theatre in Ballarat Australia" was released on July 11, 2006.

Tommy Emmanuel's live DVD starts off with a look backstage.  The great thing about this DVD is the fact that you get a look into the life and music of Emmanuel - all behind the scenes.  Emmanuel describes how several of the songs came about and gives fans the rare opportunity to see all of this, backstage and candid.  "Tall Fiddler" starts the DVD and it is incredible.  Personally, it is one of the favorites from Emmanuel thus far.  "Tall Fiddler" is fast to begin with, but he speeds it up throughout the song and it is truly unbelievable.

I love the story behind the songs that Emmanuel describes on so many.  On "Antonella's Birthday" you'd have to hear the story on the DVD to get the full effect... but basically stated:  it was raining for several days and on the day he wrote this song, the sun was finally out shining so he sat there and wrote it.  A friend of his, "Antonella" was celebrating her birthday which describes how the song title came about.

"Somewhere Over The Rainbow" is a timeless classic which Emmanuel pulls of amazingly.  It was nice seeing this classic turned into Emmanuel's personal work of art.  "Do I Ever Cross Your Mind" features Emmanuel's fiancée Elizabeth (Lizzie) Watkins.  Though Watkins (and most of the times Emmanuel) are more folk influenced, their music and style together still has a flare of "country."  Watkins wrote "Together Alone" dealing with her relationship with Emmanuel so it was another great addition to Emmanuel's DVD.  Elizabeth Watkins is also featured on their duet, "Walls."  The songwriters for this song - Mary Ann Kennedy, Pam Rose and Randy Sharp - are all well known in the country scene.  Kennedy and Rose are known for songs that include "I'll Still Be Loving You" and "Safe In The Arms of Love."

"Lewis & Clark" is one of Emmanuel's best guitar solos on both projects. The song has a great melody and the story behind "Lewis & Clark" was another highlight from the DVD.  "That's The Spirit," "Footprints" and "Keep It Simple" are also among the top tracks from "The Mystery."  Emmanuel is so talented with his writing and style of music.  To be quite honest, I had never heard of Emmanuel prior to hearing his new releases even though in Australia he has sold multiple gold and platinum records.

"That's All" is a classic Merle Travis Song and as Emmanuel describes it as: "a message song."  The message saying:  "You better change your way of living before the good Lord says 'that's all.'"  ("Some people go to school to learn how to teach, some people go to school to learn how to preach but if you can't preach without going to school, you ain't nothin' but a educated fool and that's all.")

"The Man With The Green Thumb" is dedicated to Chet Atkins.  There is also a split second change in the song where Emmanuel added in a piece of a Merle Travis song.  The album closes with "I Still Can't Say Goodbye," written by Jimmy Moore and previously recorded by Chet Atkins in the 80's.  Atkins had wanted Emmanuel to continue singing the song because of the meaning of the song and Emmanuel has done just that.

Whether you are a fan of old country, folk, instrumental music or even bluesy rock & roll, Emmanuel's music has flares of several different genres.  A good thing about his music is you don't have to classify him into one specific genre.  He fits in several genres and his music is universal in many ways.

The Tommy Emmanuel: Live At Her Majesty's Theatre - Ballarat Australia DVD and "The Mystery" album is available at
Tommy Emmanuel: c.g.p.
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Added: August 28, 2006