Accomplished Accomplices

Read our review of Tommy Emmanuel’s New Collaborative Gem

Photo: Artist Website



By Rob Dickens


The Artist

Tommy Emmanuel


The Album

Accomplice One


The Cover


The Release Date

January 19, 2018


The Label



The Introduction

Aussie ex-pat Tommy Emmanuel and his brother Phil taught themselves to play at a very early age.  A meeting turned jam session with his guitar hero Chet Atkins bolstered his confidence.  By the mid-1980’s, he went it alone, making instrumental guitar records, a move that was bold and against trends of the time (and since).  His CV now stretches over twenty albums, two Grammy nominations, two ARIA awards (Australia), Guitar Player awards, numerous magazine polls naming him the greatest acoustic guitarist alive, he’s played with Atkins, Eric Clapton, Doc Watson and John Denver.  Pretty impressive.  He is also unofficial ambassador of Melbourne-made Maton guitars, with his Signature TE instrument.


The Background

Accomplice One is an album of collaborations with some of Emmanuel’s favorite artists.  The result is a more roots-music feel.


The Recording

It took two years to record the album.  The artists who stepped forward to join were Jason Isbell, Mark Knopfler, Rodney Crowell, Jerry Douglas, Amanda Shires, Ricky Skaggs, David Grisman, Bryan Sutton, Suzy Bogguss, Jorma Kaukonen, Jake Shimabukuro, J.D. Simo, Charlie Cushman, Clive Carroll, Pat Bergeson, Frank Vignola, Vinny Raniolo, and Jack Pearson.


The Quote

“Making Accomplice One has been this great journey through so many of the worlds I’ve inhabited through the years,” concludes Emmanuel. “Playing with old friends, new friends, heroes, people I’ve been like an older brother to… and musically to jump around from bluegrass to jazz to blues to just pure songs, it’s like going to the world’s greatest buffet and picking out all my favorite meals. People try to categorize what I do, to put me in a genre or put a label on me. I always go back to that old Duke Ellington line, about there being two types of music, good and bad.” Well I try and play the good kind, and on this record I got to play it with the best people.”


The Clip

Here’s the video for the raw, playful “You Don’t Want To Get You One of Those”, an acoustic duet with Knopfler which was recorded like a live performance, playing and singing in the same room.




The Track List

1. “Deep River Blues” with Jason Isbell

2. “Song and Dance Man” with Ricky Skaggs

3. “Saturday Night Shuffle” with Jorma Kaukonen and Pat Bergeson

4. “Wheelin’ and Dealin'” with J.D. Simo & Charlie Cushman

5. “C-Jam Blues” with David Grisman & Bryan Sutton

6. “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” with J.D. Simo

7. “Borderline” with Amanda Shires

8. “You Don’t Want To Get You One Of Those” with Mark Knopfler

9. “Keepin’ It Reel” with Clive Carroll

10. “Looking Forward To The Past” with Rodney Crowell

11. “Purple Haze” with Jerry Douglas

12. “Rachel’s Lullaby” with Jake Shimabukuro

13. “Djangology” with Frank Vignola & Vinny Raaniolo

14. “Watson Blues” with David Grisman & Bryan Sutton

15. “Tittle Tattle” with Jack Pearson

16. “The Duke’s Message” with Suzy Bogguss


The Verdict

What a treat.

Tommy Emmanuel is known as a guitarist with amazing fluidity, creativity and delicacy.  Accomplice One puts all the technical virtuosity into wonderful context, with the songs/instrumentals and the act of colluding itself providing a musically balanced context.  The guests are pivotal – not only due to the weight of their reputations, but the enormous inspiration they bring.  There are times when you can hear Emmanuel and his buddies passing joyous exchanges and it is infectious for the listener as well.  I do question the inclusion of the reggae-infused take on “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”, but that is nit picking when compared with the other fifteen masterful contributions.  Highlights are the reverential “Deep River Blues” (with Isbell and made famous by Doc Watson), Skaggs’s take on “Song and Dance Man” (written by Australian Mike McCelland), the two electrifying tracks with Grisman and Sutton (“C Jam Blues” and “Watson Blues”),  the biting “Looking Forward To The Past” (Crowell) and the incendiary duel of “Purple Haze” with dobro maestro Douglas.

In Accomplice One, Tommy Emmanuel’s CV just got even a little better – incredible fun.


via Sony Music Australia


Read our review of Tommy Emmanuel’s New Collaborative Gem





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Author: Rob Dickens

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  1. Hi.
    I’ve seen him in person only once. This was about three years ago at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. I knew almost nothing about him till that night. He blew me away. What an incredible guitarist.

    Take care —

    Neil S.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks for that Neil. You’ve seen him once more than me! I hope to rectify that at some point. Regards Rob

      Post a Reply

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