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Album Review: Tommy Emmanuel – It’s Never Too Late

2 min read

Tommy Emmanuel is not only one of Australia’s most respected musicians; his legendary guitar skills are admired the world over. The remarkable guitarist has been entertaining and mesmerising audiences for over five decades – a prolific career that has produced over 20 albums and two Grammy nominations, and has seen the artist honoured with the very rare title of “Certified Guitar Player”, by the eminent Chet Atkins. A virtuosic performer of his complex fingerstyle technique, Emmanuel has become a household name in Australia, recording an arsenal of solos, duets, ensemble works, covers, and originals on both his electric and acoustic guitars. On It’s Never Too Late, his first completely solo album since 2000, Emmanuel returns to the intricate acoustic mastery that has shaped his career.

Tommy Emmanuel - It's never too lateHis supreme layering ability resonates from the outset in the spirited joviality of Only Elliott, and continues to sing on the starry-eyed It’s Never Too Late, a title inspired by the recent birth of his daughter; and at 60 years old its sentiment could not ring truer. The relentless frenzy and innocent bliss of The Bug perfectly personifies its subject in less than 2 minutes, before Emmanuel effortlessly traverses continents and styles. He blends country and western and Spanish traditions with natural conviction on EL Vaquero, becomes intoxicated with the blues on the lumbering One Mint Julep, floats on dreamy folk in The Duke and One Day, as well as delving into more contemporary pop-oriented tracks.

An undeniable visionary with his instrument, Emmanuel not only explores different styles, but evokes a spectrum of distinctive emotions with visceral rawness. From comforting optimism on Hope Street, the rollicking wonder and joy of Travelling Clothes and T.E. Ranch, to an ethereal stillness that swathes Miyazaki’s Dream, and the wounded, but resolute, Blood Brothers. 

When Emmanuel performs completely solo his outstanding, raw expertise is highlighted even more; the man is able to sing, strum, and drum not only with a single instrument, but in a single moment. It’s Never Too Late is not only a solid and brilliant example for any aspiring instrumentalist; studied guitarists and everyday music fans alike will admire and enjoy it.