Album Reviews

Tommy Emmanuel & David Grisman

Pickin’

Artist:     Tommy Emmanuel & David Grisman

Album:     Pickin’

Label:     Acoustic Disc

Release Date:     11.03.2017

90

This is a truly extraordinary release featuring two now iconic acoustic instrumentalists. Twelve tracks that zing with astonishing virtuosity and the kind of picking most can only dream of. Dawg, as usual, again shows just how he can turn his hands to just about any musical genre he casts an eye and ear over.

Tracks include the perennial jazz standard, “Sweet Georgia Brown,” an exercise in sevenths if ever there was one, and others that have a deft jazz touch and a mastery that appears and sounds totally effortless, which is no doubt the last thing it is in reality. Shades of hauntingly, achingly beautiful Americana and bluegrass also echo while the guys explosive laughter jumps out from time to time, egging each other onto the next bit of bewilderingly talented picking. Just try “Dawgs Rag,” a track with more than a hint of “Rising Sun” about it, to catch the general flavour and fun being had by this pair.

In many ways the real surprise, however, comes from a guy who always produces simply stunning shows and recordings, Australia’s Tommy Emmanuel. Here’s a guy who can produce virtually jaw-dropping fretwork with such comfortable ease that it can seem too easy to take his playing for granted at times these days. Here, paired with Grisman, he turns up the style surprise by venturing into jazz in an evidently more significant way than usual, high-lighting just why, as Chet Atkins recognised long ago, he really is probably the most accomplished acoustic picker out there.

This an album that holds bags of unexpected treasures from two of the modern musical worlds’ greats. One to savor, for sure.

—Iain Patience

 

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