By David Simers
It’s exciting to review two preeminent musicians in their first-ever collaboration, Pickin‘, to be released on November 3, 2017, on Acoustic Disc. Tommy Emmanuel shows why he has been named one of only five Certified Guitar Players (CGP) by the late master himself, Chet Atkins, with his mixture of Jazz, Blues, Bluegrass, Folk and Rock. David “Dawg” Grisman continues to be the premiere player of Dawg Music with his unique combination of Bluegrass, Jazz and Folk on the mandolin.
The pair have never played together before, but with almost 100 albums between them, they understand how to put together a record that their fans will listen to over and over. Music lovers and musicians of all genres will enjoy the music created by these two and will be amazed at the combined talent of the duo and how they make intricate music look easy.
The 12-song album immediately sets an energetic tone with “Zorro’s Last Stand.” Dawg’s skillful mandolin picking creates sounds that ignite images of a bluegrass swashbuckler in action.
Emmanuel and Grisman complement each other well in “Cinderella’s Fella.” The beginning has an old movie soundtrack vibe before switching to a full sound that highlights Tommy’s distinct fingerpicking style.
The next song, “CGP & Dawg,” written specifically for this pairing, is a jam that shows why Chet Atkins bestowed the honor of CGP upon Emmanuel. With a thumb to play one line and fingers to play bass, chords and melodies, his dexterity is astounding. Tommy and Dawg take turns trying to out-pick each other in this unforgettable arrangement.
“Farm & Fun Time” elicits thoughts of a rural family going into town on the weekend as the light-hearted music soothes any residual cares from a hard work-week. Tommy’s snare-brush technique creates an additional texture. The laughter between the two musicians is contagious and shows how well they mesh.