On Saturday, June 26th, guitar master Tommy Emmanuel and bluegrass power-duo Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley will perform together live at the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum at 8 p.m.
Acoustic guitar icon Tommy Emmanuel may hail from Australia, but he’s certainly no stranger to Kentucky. Not only has he been made a Kentucky Colonel and honorary citizen of Larue County, Emmanuel even hosted his own music festival in Elizabethtown, Kentucky which ran for nearly twelve years. “Kentucky has been a big part of my life,” says Emmanuel.
Emmanuel has teamed up with Rob Ickes and Trey Hinsley to create their EP, Accomplice Series Volume 1 with Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley which was released on May 7. Combine a 15-time IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Award) winner and a Tennessee-born guitar prodigy and you have the powerful bluegrass duo Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley. Emmanuel says as soon as his manager showed him footage of their talents, he knew they had to work together. “We realized we had exactly the same passion for the same kind of music – everything from Bill Monroe to Paul McCartney,” says Emmanuel. The three musicians have been touring together for five years now.
There’s no doubt this show will be full of white-hot finger picking and plenty of high energy. “You better bring some fire hoses,” says Emmanuel when asked what audience members should expect from the upcoming show. The three musicians will perform songs from their EP as well as some new tunes they’ve been working on. At the show you’ll get to see solo performances from Emmanuel, duets between all three artists, and of course, all three artists on stage together. “We’re going to give those Kentucky folks the best we can,” says Emmanuel.
If you’ve ever visited Emmanuel’s website, you might’ve noticed the acronym “CGP”. CGP stands for “Certified Guitar Player” – an honor given to Emmanuel by true guitar royalty Chet Atkins. Chet personally bestowed the award to only four guitarists: the late Jerry Reed, John Knowles, Steven Wariner, and Tommy Emmanuel. The award recognized Emmanuel’s contributions to the art of finger picking. “People like him and I, we didn’t go to college… but we did dedicate our lives to trying to bring people together through the love and magic of music,” says the artist.
Emmanuel says he considers it an honor to receive this award from Atkins not only because he is a guitar legend, but also because he is a personal hero. Emmanuel was only 11 when his father passed, and he says Chet Atkins records were how he got through such difficult times. “He kind of saved me at that time,” says Emmanuel. “Just to know him was the most wonderful thing.” He even received a response from Chet Atkins after sending him a fan letter as a kid, foreshadowing his later success.
It’s taken some time, but Emmanuel says he’s getting back into the groove of performing. The guitarist says he’s looking forward to coming to Owensboro after such a long break from live performances due to Covid-19. “By the time I come to Kentucky, I’ll be firing on all cylinders,” says Emmanuel. Watch the full interview below and listen to a sneak peek of the June 26 show as he performs his song “It’s Never Too Late”. More tickets have been added with increased capacity – don’t miss your chance to see this show! Click here to purchase your tickets now.