Ipswich: Guitar heroes Tommy Emmanuel and Martin Taylor at Corn Exchange

Tommy Emmanuel and Martin Taylor

Tommy Emmanuel and Martin Taylor - Credit: Archant

HE’S the guitar Wizard of Oz and he can’t wait to get tear it up back in his old stomping ground Suffolk.

“I used to live near Framlingham so I’ll be hoping a lot of my old friends will come to the show in Ipswich,” says Tommy Emmanuel.

The world-renowned Australian finger style acoustic guitarist, who has played with the likes of Air Supply, Men at Work and Dragon, has teamed up with his long-term friend Britain’s Martin Taylor for new album and tour The Colonel and The Governor.

Who’s who?

“Martin once introduced me on stage as the abominable showman. I’ve always called him The Governor because I’ve always felt (he’s) the greatest up there. I’m actually an official Kentucky colonel; I was made one by the state governor.”

You may also want to watch:

Does Martin abuse his title, bossing him around on stage?

“He’s got an MBE he can do what he likes,” laughs Tommy, whose unique finger style sees him play guitar the way a pianist plays piano, using all ten fingers.

Most Read

The idea for the acoustic duet album came from a simple idea; find songs they love and come up with arrangements that could allow both of them to, as Tommy says, “fly their own our kites” and have some fun.

“Martin likes to have as much fun as I do on stage - that’s important to me. I have learned so much from him, as he comes from a jazz background and I come from a country and rock background.

“I think we both have a strong love of melody and arrangement that allows our playing to interweave effortlessly and sometimes it feels like time stands still when we are playing together.

“We’re probably not doing anything new; what we’re doing is having people hear this music in a different light.”

It’s been a long time coming for the duo. Regularly crossing paths at guitar festivals around the world Tommy decided they had to record something together.

“Every time we see each other we catch up like family. I knew he was coming here to Nashville for the Chet Atkins convention so we booked a studio and I had him come and stay at my house. We ripped through the songs in a couple of days.

“During periods of heavy touring, we would send each other emails with song suggestions and MP3s of some of Martin’s rare recordings of some of the older guys like Eddie Lang, Django Reinhardt, Carl Kress and Charlie Christian. We also wanted to have some original songs on the album and Martin’s songs suited so well.”

It was a fun and challenging to record to make.

“It’s honest, in your face playing. Martin swings like a member of the Basie Big Band and phrases like a pioneer of jazz.”

Ipswich Corn Exchange audiences can expect a mix of duets and solo material on Wednesday, March 20. Can we expect to see some one-upmanship too?

“Oh I would say Martin and I we’re not competitive in the sense we try to out play each other because we’re so different,” laughs Tommy. “But we like to edge each other all the time; it’s fun, you know?”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter