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Watch the Dixie McGuire online guitar lesson by Tommy Emmanuel from Certified Gems, Vol. 2

"Dixie McGuire" is a song that I wrote back in the mid-70's, named after Dixie, a little girl that was the daughter of a very good friend of mine, Duncan McGuire. She looked just like Shirley Temple, with curly hair. Whenever I went to work in the studio with her dad, Dixie was there too and we'd always play games together.

I wrote the tune and recorded it on a very early album of mine called From Out of Nowhere in 1979, played on a nylon stringed guitar. It's one of those songs that I wasn't sure if it was any good, so I played it for a friend of mine who was a songwriter. I asked him if it was any good, and he said, "Oh, it's good alright." And then he said something profound: "A good song will find a good home." I've always remembered that, and he was right. When Chet Atkins called me to record our album The Day Finger Pickers Took Over the World together, one of the first things I did was playing Dixie McGuire to him over the phone. He liked it and immediately wanted to do it, so, my song found a good home.

Speaking of that, I'm going to play the song in its entirety now, but I want to tell you, when I recorded it with Chet, he wanted to do a key change where we could take some solos. So, the song is in D, but where we do the solos, we go up a step to E, and then it drops back into D for the bridge. Here I'm just going to play it as the "composer" intended, and then I'll show you the key change as a separate thing that you can use or leave out. So, here it is, "Dixie McGuire."