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December 4, 2006 | Author: Greg Phillips
Australian Musician readers voted Tommy Emmanuel as our Most Respected Musician in the 2066 Readers Poll. Greg Phillips caught up with the man and delivered the news.
Tommy+Emmanuel+Normal+Screen+Wallpaper+3GP: Last year you won the category for Best Ever Acoustic Song. This year our readers have voted you as the Most Respected Australian Musician. What do those sort of accolades mean to you?
TE: I can’t believe it. I’m speechless, that’s amazing. I’m so moved I can’t tell you. (He places the phone down for a second to tell his wife the news)
You won this category ahead of Paul Kelly, and Angus Young. Slim Dusty polled well too. You played with Slim a bit didn’t you?
Slim, absolutely! I first knew Slim when I was a little boy and we always looked up to him as a great man in this country. He was a great Australian, a great example and his music, his recordings and choice of songs were always better than everyone else in the genre in those days, and he stuck to that all his life. You gotta admire that.
And Paul Kelly, I love his song writing and his singing. He has been a great leader in the roots of Australian songwriting. Paul Kelly has shown so many others the way. He has also been a great co-writer with people. In fact some of my favourite songs that Troy Cassar Daley plays were co-written with Paul.
Eric Clapton won Most Respected International Musician, are you into his music and style of playing?
I love not just his playing but his singing and songwriting and him as a man. He’s a great person and has lived an amazing life. He’s done it all in the spotlight, warts and all and you’ve got to admire a man who has come through it all with incredible dignity and the quality of person that he is. I toured with him in 1990. He was really nice to me. After I did the John Denver tour in 1988, my album just exploded on the charts. Then Dare to be Different was a number one album, the first number one record as an instrumental in Australia. Then I did Eric’s Journeyman tour. At the end of the first song, I got a standing ovation. You should have seen the look on peoples faces in Eric’s crew. The wonderful thing was they said they are going to tell Eric to come and see you because he never really comes to see the support acts, he just turns up and does the show. So I came out to play the next night and there he was standing behind the PA at the side and the we went backstage and got a photo together. I got a chance to tell him how brilliant I thought he was, not only his playing but singing and he said nobody ever takes any notice of his singing.
Let’s go through some of the categories and see if anything immediately comes to mind…Album that changed your life?
American Pie. I was 17 when that album came out and it was the most fantastic album by Don McLean. The songwriting, the melodies and his guitar playing as well, even though he’s just a strummer and plays a little finger part. His songwriting was so powerful. It was also at a time of my first relationship with a girl, my first car, and just a sense of the great unknown in front of me.
Best album title?
Bryan Adams ‘Waking Up The Neighbours.’ I thought it was an awesome title.
Happiest song ever?
“I Love to Have a Beer with Duncan’
Saddest song ever?
Mike and the Mechanics’ ‘The Living Years’. That song always made my cry. If I heard two bars of it now, I’d tear up.
Fave guitar chord?
The opening chord of ‘Hard Day’s Night’. G suspended 4th with a 7th in it.
What’s coming up for Tommy Emmanuel?
After this tour it’s back to Asia and Europe,
I wont be home in Nashville until December 20. I wont be recording my own album this Christmas. I’ll be producing some other artists and having a break.
Congratulations on the win Tom.
Thanks for the good news. I really appreciate that. You’ve made my day.