My wife and I just returned from Tommyfest in Elizabethtown, KY and the Frank Vignola "100 Years of Django" show in New Albany, IN and thought I would give you a report.
When we arrived for Tommy Emmanuel's concert on Friday evening, I met a lady named Gina who was sitting at the merchandise table. As it turned out, she is Tommy's manager and we talked just a little about TrueFire and Tommy's upcoming work there. I tried to stay out of her way because she was busy.
We went into the auditorium as soon as the doors opened and took our seats on the front row near the center. We were no more than ten feet from the performers. Jackie Bristow opened the show for Tommy. She is a lovely young woman with a great voice who plays very well using a lot of open tunings. She was delightful and here is a link to her web page: http://www.jackiebristow.com/
The fellow who sat to my left was named Todd L. from Austin, TX. He flew to KY to just to catch Tommyfest. Awesome! Tommy seemed to know the ladies who sat to our right as he commented that one of them could enter Guinness's Book of Records for the most Tommy Emmanuel concerts attended in a lifetime.
Tommy's playing and virtuosity were amazing. I cannot find words to describe the experience, but it was something like just "being in the moment" as he later called it.
The next morning, I went to the guitar workshop Tommy held and got a good seat on stage with about 50-80 other guitar wielding fans. During the 3 hour workshop with Tommy, he did a lot of question and answer things. He talked about practicing things like getting every note to resonate clearly, practicing new finger patterns until the mechanics are easy and you only hear the music, playing SONGS because scales and finger patterns will eventually bore you, playing with a metronome, and seeking new inspiration all the time by listening to good music.
During the last 15 minutes of the workshop, Gina came into the auditorium and sat in the front row (Tommy and participants were all on stage). Also during this time one fellow asked Tommy what he was planning to release next and what projects he hoped to do in the near future. He mentioned some things, but said nothing of the work with TrueFire. I asked Tommy if he could tell us something about a project I heard mentioned called "Tommy TV." He said, "Oh yes! Hey, of course you would know about that: you have on one of their shirts." (And yes, I did so I just smiled. Gotta love that shirt!) Tommy then told the group about some of the super cool things TrueFire has to offer. He introduced Gina as his manager and she chimed in as well about TrueFire. I thought that was super cool. The session closed and I purchased Tommy's newest double cd release called "Little By Little."
Frank Vignola's "100 Years of Django" ShowWe left Elizabethtown, KY in a little snow squall (miraculously the only snow we saw during the whole trip) and arrived in New Albany, IN, for the Frank Vignola show.
Frank, Julien Labro, Vinny Raniolo, and Andrew Kratzat together played the tightest sets I have ever heard in my life. It was as if they all were hard wired into the minds of one another. Timing, execution, precision, excellence, and everything that goes into the formula for virtuosity was there exponentially. Absolutely amazing performances and one of the most entertaining shows you will ever see!
During the middle of the show, Frank saw me in the front row wearing my TrueFire shirt as I started to take a photo (they did not allow flash photography at Tommyfest, but it was cool here). He looked down and said, "Hey, you want to take a picture?" I said, "Sure, if you don't mind." He said, "How about you come up here on stage wearing your TrueFire shirt and let your wife take a picture of us with you in the band." I said, "Sure!" As I made my way up to the stage, Frank told the audience what a great source of instructional materials could be found at TrueFire. He really bragged on it.
I may be the most blessed guy on the planet. I certainly had an amazing weekend!
Here are some pics. (BTW to avoid confusion, I am the fat guy with no tie next to Frank).