An Invitation From Tommy Emmanuel
Hello again friends! I’d like to personally invite you to join me at my upcoming Tommy Emmanuel Guitar Camp USA: Nashville Skyline Volume II, taking place September 22-26, 2022 at the Grand Hyatt® Nashville in my adopted hometown of Nashville, TN.
This will be our second Guitar Camp USA to be held in Nashville. We held our first one there last year and what happened surprised us all. We’ve done camps in the most incredible locations, from Scotland to Hawaii to Australia, but something amazing happened in Music City. We just felt connected to something much deeper. We were right there – we could go to RCA Studios where my good friend John Knowles and I could tell stories Chet Atkins told us about those days, about how they recorded and how different records came about. We visited the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum and did a show at The Loveless Café, it was just magical. Nashville has such a beautiful and amazing history for all kinds of music. Just being there for some people is so exciting. It’s a great place to be and I think it’s one of the best places in America to hold a camp.
My Guitar Camps offer four full days of lessons, workshops, and live performances, with everything that happens about you gaining the experience and knowledge to become a better player, no matter what your goals are. As always, we welcome players at all levels, from people with professional dreams to people who just love making music. I’ve taught people who are totally hopeless and will never be able to play the instrument especially well but you know what? They still love it and they’re at the camp because they have the passion to get better. We’ve had young guys and girls who are still in the process of getting really good, they’re enthusiastic and they can’t wait to play for people. Everybody comes with their own kind of enthusiasm and it’s truly incredible to witness.
We’re going to look at making music from a wide range of perspectives. People get so into technique, sometimes I have to remind them that it’s not really about you playing the guitar – it’s about what happens to the people who are listening to you while you’re playing. That’s your reason for playing, not impressing people with your wonderful technique. In my world, technique should be invisible. The thing that people should see is the beauty of what you’re doing. It should touch them in a way that they almost can’t explain. That’s the spiritual connection we create through music.
None of which is to say there won’t be plenty of classes on technique. To teach, you have to break things down into tiny, miniscule pieces and then slowly piece it together. Some people think you just pick up the guitar, you work it out, and then all of a sudden, there’s music. But it’s not like that at all. It’s like brain surgery – you’ve got to join this bit with that bit and then practice those two, and then add the next step and practice those three. Until eventually they start to sound like music. You’re never going to master it but hopefully you’re going to keep trying. Sort of like life itself.
Tommy Emmanuel Guitar Camp USA is an opportunity for you to get close to people who have a lot of real world experience, a lot of knowledge, and love to share that with others. You’re surrounded by fellow musicians who have achieved all levels of success, both professionally and creatively. This is what they do, this is what they pour themselves a hundred percent into, and what they’ve learned, they want to hand on to you. To be with so many people in one place, who are all enthusiastic about making music, there’s a power in that that is unexplainable. It tells a lot about the human race.
With that in mind, I’ll be joined by an incredibly talented and equally diverse group of guest instructors, including my longtime collaborator and fellow CGP John Knowles, guitar and harp guitarist Stephen Bennett, Muriel Anderson (the first woman to win the National Fingerpicking Guitar Championship), session guitar hero John Jorgenson, the duo of singer-songwriter/guitarist Trey Hensely and dobro master Rob Ickes, and Parker Hastings, a talented young player from Central Kentucky who came to one of my concerts at the age of eight and has since gone on to become an award-winning thumbpicker in his own right.
We’ll also be joined by a couple of very special guests, legendary bluegrass master of all stringed musical instruments Sam Bush- and the legendary Counrty “California come Nashville” singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale. Sam has been a dedicated musician since he was a kid so he knows what a good song is, he knows what to play and what not to play. You can throw anything you like at Sam Bush and he’ll hit it right back to you. Sam is a very outspoken about certain things so people are going to hear stories and they might not always be sugar coated, I like that about Sam, he’s a real deal. Jim Lauderdale I’ve known for a long time, he’s a great songwriter and a walking encyclopedia when it comes to country music, he has a great way of explaining things. I love Jim’s writing, I love his performance. I love the mojo he brings to it.
None of these people would be there if I wasn’t a fan and if I didn’t think they were going to bring something wonderful to the experience. I’m also going to put some feelers out for other players, to see if they are in town and wouldn’t mind coming down to talk to the camp.Last year, Yasmin Williams dropped in. That’s another great thing about being in Nashville – you never know who’s going to stop by!
To be with so many people in one place, who are all enthusiastic about making music, there’s a power in that that is unexplainable.
Learning and then handing it on is a very important part of the process of music and how it moves around the world. Passing it on is what it’s all about. People find their destiny in something they never even dreamed about. I remember Chet Atkins saying how wonderful it is to get dedicated to an instrument early in your life. It enriches your life for the rest of your days. It’s such a simple way of putting it, but it’s true. Sometimes I think, what would I be doing if I hadn’t run with all my energy into wanting to be a dedicated guitar player? I didn’t really care so much about anything else. And I’m still sticking at it is because it seems to be why I’m here. I seem to have found the reason why I’m here on Earth. And since I was lucky enough to find that out for myself, I have an obligation and a responsibility to share with others. I love watching the campers digging what they’re seeing and hearing. You can see that it’s changed them, they’re thinking about music in a different way. Because they’ve seen someone do something right in front of them, they found out where it came from, how they worked it out, and why they do it. I can see them being inspired, thinking, I want that too.
I very much hope you’ll join me for my next Guitar Camp USA. See you in Music City!
Tommy Emmanuel CGP