Raised playing guitar in a nomadic Australian family, Tommy Emmanuel’s life has been inextricably tied to creating music. A rock star in the ’80s, he forged his own path to become the world’s foremost fingerstylist – and a national hero in his home country. We caught up to discuss his fascinating story, and new album. We also examine the forthcoming book Seeing Stevie Ray, by photographer Tracy Anne Hart, who for 40 years has trained a lens on guitarists to illustrate the collaborative nature of music and photography. Dave Hunter offers his usual superlative study, this time on the ’62 Premier 120R, a B-list amp that offers more than you’d think! Michael Wright does the same with the familiar shape that is the ’82 Ibanez Rocket Roll II. Wolf Marshall’s “Fretprints” discusses three players – Steve Lynch, Vito Bratta, and Reb Beach – who created some of the ’80s best licks, while “Pop ’N Hiss” explains why Billy Cobham’s Spectrum is sheer brilliance thanks in part to the very underrated Tommy Bolin.
We pay homage to John Prine and Bucky Pizzarelli, then talk new music with Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Steve Khan, and Jim Lauderdale.
Our “Approved Gear” offers a look at the best new stuff for helping you pursue those musical inspirations, including the Punch Pedals Greg Marra Uppercut, Tru-Fi Colordriver, Walrus Audio Mako D1, Fender American Ultra Jazzmaster, Marchione Master Burst, Rajani VOD-50, Boss ME-80, and the Epiphone Joe Bonamassa 1960 Les Paul Standard.
Speaking of inspiration, how about some new jams? Our “Hit List” music-review staff is ready with a great list of suggested listening, like the latest from Rory Gallagher, Tommy Emmanuel, Cindy Cashdollar, Joe Satriani, David Grissom, Willie Nelson, Eric Johnson, and many others.