TOMMY EMMANUEL, CGP
Tommy Emmanuel has achieved enough musical milestones to satisfy several lifetimes. At the age of six, he was touring regional Australia with his family band. By 30, he was a rock n’ roll lead guitarist burning up stadiums in Europe. At 44, he became one of five people ever named a CPG (Certified Guitar Player) by his idol, music icon Chet Atkins. Today, he plays hundreds of sold-out shows every year from Nashville to Sydney to London. He’s piled up numerous accolades, including two Grammy Award nominations, two ARIA Awards from the Australian Recording Industry Association (the Aussie equivalent of the Recording Academy); repeated honors in the Guitar Player magazine reader’s poll including a cover story for their August 2017 issue; a cover feature for Vintage Guitar’s July 2020 issue; and was Music Radar’s reader’s poll #1 winner of the Ten Best Acoustic Guitarists in The World (December 2019). A noted fingerstyle guitarist, Emmanuel frequently threads three different parts simultaneously into his material, operating as a one-man band who handles the melody, the supporting chords and the bass all at once. His talents, which translate in any language, carry him to the far corners of the globe, but Emmanuel never plays the same show twice, and he improvises big chunks of every date. That leaves him open to those technical imperfections, though they also provide some of the humanity to an other-worldly talent.
ROB ICKES & TREY HENSLEY
Take a 15-time IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Resophonic Guitar Player of the Year and a Tennessee-born guitar prodigy called “Nashville’s hottest young player” by Acoustic Guitar magazine, and you have Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley, a powerhouse acoustic duo that has electrified the acoustic music scene around the world. Known for their white-hot picking and world class musicianship, as well as their soulful stone country vocals, the GRAMMY® nominated duo cleverly and uniquely melds bluegrass, country, blues, rock, jamgrass, and string band music of all kinds to create a signature blend of music that defies restrictions of genre. NPR has called Ickes and Hensley “two musical phenoms”; Vintage Guitar raved they’re an “acoustic firestorm” who “are changing the rules”; Acoustic Guitar describes their sound as “steel-string bluegrass with all the intensity of rock ‘n’ roll” and No Depression observed they’re “two of the finest musicians playing today.” Ickes and Hensley have shared the stage or collaborated with Tommy Emmanuel, Taj Mahal, Vince Gill, David Grisman, Jorma Kaukonen, Marty Stuart, and Steve Wariner—all admirers of the duo. Ickes, former founding member of bluegrass “supergroup” Blue Highway and highly sought-after Dobro master, has graced the recordings and concerts of artists such as Earl Scruggs, Merle Haggard, Alison Krauss, Tony Rice and more. Hensley, who earned his first IBMA Guitar Player of the Year nomination in 2020, made his Grand Ole Opry debut at the age of 11 (thanks to an invite from Marty Stuart with Earl Scruggs) and has appeared on stage with the likes of Johnny Cash, Peter Frampton and Old Crow Medicine Show. All three of the albums released by Ickes and Hensley have received widespread acclaim, including their debut Before The Sun Goes Down, which garnered a GRAMMY® nomination, and the combo’s most recent release World Full of Blues, which features collaborations with Vince Gill and Taj Mahal.